CENTER LAUNCHES UNDERGRADUATE FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
The Center for Ethics has launched a fellowship program for Harvard College students. The Edmond J. Safra Undergraduate Fellowship program was created and will be directed by Professor Eric Beerbohm.
With the ongoing, generous support of Mrs. Lily Safra, the Edmond J. Safra Undergraduate Fellowships will provide opportunities to Harvard College students interested in pursuing research and writing in cross-disciplinary fields in ethics and public policy. Concurrently with the new fellowships, the Center has inaugurated an annual Lester Kissel Lecture in Ethics, as well as revived the Lester Kissel Grants in Practical Ethics, which will allow the students the option of extending their research into the summer. Click here to read the press release about the new initiatives.
We have selected fourteen talented undergraduates – three seniors, ten juniors, and one sophomore – to join the Center this spring as the first class of Edmond J. Safra Undergraduate Fellows in Ethics. Professor Beerbohm will lead a workshop series, assisted by graduate student James Brandt, with a curriculum designed specifically for undergraduates.
Read an article about the new fellowships in the Harvard Crimson.
The new Edmond J. Safra Undergraduate Fellows are as follows:
Sheyda Aboii is a junior government concentrator from Pflugerville, Texas. Following her undergraduate career, Sheyda hopes to attend medical school. As a freshman, she encountered many examples of applied political and sociological theory in her courses, allowing her to develop an interest in the cross-cutting field of ethics. She is contemplating writing an applied ethics senior thesis. Outside of class, Sheyda has pursued an interest in communications, serving as the editor-in-chief of the Harvard Triple Helix and as a member of the news department at WHRB Radio. She also serves as a hospice volunteer for the greater Boston area.
Nisha Deolalikar is a junior concentrating in Social Studies with a secondary field in Global Health and Health Policy. Her academic interests lie at the intersection of bioethics and global justice. She enjoys travel, and has worked and conducted research in Norway, Nepal, and India during her college summers. On campus, Nisha works as a student intern at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and is the Co-President of Harvard Dharma. In 2011, she co-founded MOBILIZE! Digital Libraries, a start-up that utilizes innovative digital technology to help improve primary education in rural India. Her hobbies include chess and photography.
Medha Gargeya is a junior Government concentrator with a secondary in Women, Gender, and Sexuality and citation in Sanskrit. Her primary research interests involve exploring freedom of religion, science and the courts, genomics and public policy, as well as gender and mental health in law. As she is exploring these myriad fields, she hopes ultimately to think about how the justice system can best serve different populations. On campus, she is involved in the Institute of Politics, Harvard Model Congress, Lowell House Opera Company, the Harvard Political Review, and Harvard Dharma.
Isabelle Glimcher is a senior concentrating in Social Studies, with a focus in Global Governance in the 21st Century. Originally from New York City, Isabelle became interested in ethics and philosophy at college with her first exposure to metaphysics. She went on to pursue modern political philosophy with special focus on the relationship between the state and the individual, and the complex intersection of international law, state sovereignty, and international human rights. She is writing her senior honors thesis, exploring the normative right to reject state citizenship, understood more colloquially as elective statelessness. Isabelle plans to continue pursuing these questions in a JD/PhD program.
Jirka Jelinek is a senior from Eliot House, concentrating in Government with a secondary in Ethnic Studies and a language citation in French. Originally, he hails from Prague, Czech Republic. At Harvard, he has co-directed a PBHA volunteering program, co-founded the Czech and Slovak Society, and been heavily involved with the model UN and the Woodbridge International Society and its pre-orientation program FIP. His passion for travelling and service led him to teach in Ghana, intern for the former Prime Minister of Haiti in Port-au-Prince, and study abroad in South Africa. His research interests include conflict resolution, diplomacy, peace-building, humanitarian aid, and 'race.'
Adam Kern is a senior philosophy concentrator in Adams House. He grew up in the great state of Indiana, to which he credits his interest in philosophy and his belief that it can, and should, be a vital force in people's lives. He has created and taught several philosophy seminars at the Suffolk County House of Correction, and has founded two projects which use digital tools to improve the accessibility of the arts and humanities. He has published a paper in value theory, and is currently writing a thesis on the reasons for inquiring and what we have reason to inquire about. He is particularly interested in articulating why we should think about ethics.
Jared Lopez, originally from Southern California, is a junior philosophy concentrator living in Eliot House. His general academic interests lie in ethics, existentialism, and metaphysics. In particular, he is interested in using an interdisciplinary approach to tackle the problems of philosophy. In addition to philosophizing, Jared enjoys following the NBA, thinking about business strategy, and reading.
David Miller is a junior concentrating in Social Studies. His focus is on human rights issues surrounding terrorism and the American 'War on Terror,' with a particular interest in state-sanctioned torture. Beyond this tight focus, his academic interests include the modern Middle East, asymmetric warfare, American literature, and educational policy. At Harvard, he is primarily involved in the Mission Hill After-School Program and PBHA's Chinatown Adventure Program, as well as serving as Captain of the Harvard Club Tennis Team. In his free time he enjoys sports of all sorts, traveling, family time on the beach, and Bruce Springsteen.
Lily Ostrer is a junior concentrating in Social Studies. She is interested in the intersection of science, policy-making, and social inequality. Her research interests include the role of science in policy-making, how a society can best promote the health of its citizens, and shared global responsibility to promote social well-being. She is involved in health advocacy work through the Harvard Global Health & AIDS Coalition, volunteers at the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, and teaches health classes in Boston public high schools with Peer Health Exchange. She hopes to pursue a career related to health and social justice.
Ketan Ramakrishnan is a senior concentrating in philosophy. He is interested in moral and political philosophy, the history of early analytic philosophy, epistemology, and jurisprudence. Outside of class, he sings with the Harvard Krokodiloes and the University Choir. He also works with high school Latin students in his home state of Wisconsin and elsewhere, and is involved with Harvard High Impact Philanthropy. Ketan's interests and hobbies include pond hockey, music of all kinds, and Packer football.
Chloe Reichel is a sophomore concentrating in Social Studies. Her research interests include the study of ethics in early education, and bioethics, specifically physician-assisted suicide and end-of-life care. As a member of the Harvard Educational Studies Program, she taught ethics to middle and high school students from a curriculum that she created. She hopes to further develop this curriculum to examine the feasibility and impact of incorporating the study of ethics in urban, public elementary education. She is involved with the Harvard Undergraduate Bioethics Society, the Radcliffe Union of Students, and the Harvard Review of Philosophy on campus.
William Ryan is a junior living in Quincy House. He is concentrating in philosophy, and is especially interested in developing democracies, environmental ethics, and how ethics applies to institutions.
Celestine Warren is a junior studying History of Science, with a secondary field in Government. She is interested in the intersection of science and public policy, specifically risk-analysis and medical decision making. In addition to fulfilling pre-med requirements, she has focused her coursework on studying political philosophy and ethics. She anticipates writing a thesis on the topic of medical communication and bioethics.
Oliver Wenner, originally from Sweden, is a junior studying philosophy. His primary philosophical interests are metaphysics, epistemology and meta-ethics. In particular, he is interested in the intersection of law and philosophy and how to use metaphysical and epistemological tools to examine legal and ethical notions found in public discourse. He has conducted philosophical research in Israel and Palestine on the morality of military conscription and is involved in several organizations, such as the Harvard Review of Philosophy and the Suffolk Prison tutoring program, where he teaches ethics seminars to inmates.
NEW BOOK BY FORMER FELLOWS JAMES FLEMING AND LINDA MCCLAIN
Former fellows James Fleming and Linda McClain, published a new book, Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues
About the book:
"Many have argued in recent years that the U.S. constitutional system exalts individual rights over responsibilities, virtues, and the common good. Answering the charges against liberal theories of rights, James Fleming and Linda McClain develop and defend a civic liberalism that takes responsibilities and virtues—as well as rights—seriously. They provide an account of ordered liberty that protects basic liberties stringently, but not absolutely, and permits government to encourage responsibility and inculcate civic virtues without sacrificing personal autonomy to collective determination."
"The battle over same-sex marriage is one of many current controversies the authors use to defend their understanding of the relationship among rights, responsibilities, and virtues. Against accusations that same-sex marriage severs the rights of marriage from responsible sexuality, procreation, and parenthood, they argue that same-sex couples seek the same rights, responsibilities, and goods of civil marriage that opposite-sex couples pursue. Securing their right to marry respects individual autonomy while also promoting moral goods and virtues. Other issues to which they apply their idea of civic liberalism include reproductive freedom, the proper roles and regulation of civil society and the family, the education of children, and clashes between First Amendment freedoms (of association and religion) and antidiscrimination law. Articulating common ground between liberalism and its critics, Fleming and McClain develop an account of responsibilities and virtues that appreciates the value of diversity in our morally pluralistic constitutional democracy."
NEW BOOK BY SARAH CONLY
Sarah Conly, Professor of Philosophy at Bowdoin College, published a new book, Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism (Cambridge University Press). Professor Conly was a Faculty Fellow in Ethics during the 2006-07 academic year. Congratulations, Sarah!
About the book:
"Since Mill's seminal work On Liberty, philosophers and political theorists have accepted that we should respect the decisions of individual agents when those decisions affect no one other than themselves. Indeed, to respect autonomy is often understood to be the chief way to bear witness to the intrinsic value of persons. In this book, Sarah Conly rejects the idea of autonomy as inviolable. Drawing on sources from behavioural economics and social psychology, she argues that we are so often irrational in making our decisions that our autonomous choices often undercut the achievement of our own goals. Thus in many cases it would advance our goals more effectively if government were to prevent us from acting in accordance with our decisions. Her argument challenges widely held views of moral agency, democratic values and the public/private distinction, and will interest readers in ethics, political philosophy, political theory and philosophy of law."
NEW BOOK BY FRANCES KAMM
Long-time Center affiliate Frances Kamm published a new book, The Moral Target: Aiming at Right Conduct in War and Other Conflicts.
"The Moral Target: Aiming at Right Conduct in War and Other Conflicts comprises essays that discuss aspects of war and other conflicts in the light of both nonconsequentialist ethical theory and the views of such theorists as Barbara Herman, Jeff McMahan, Avishai Margalit, and Michael Walzer. The first essay deals with the relation between states of affairs whose termination justifies war and states of affairs that once achieved should put an end to war. The next few essays deal with conduct in war. They first consider the implications of general moral principles (including the Doctrine of Double Effect and Principle of Permissible Harm) for the permissibility of harm to combatants and noncombatants, and then whether factors unique to war should alter what is permissible. In particular, if the context of war should affect the relative violability of different combatants and different noncombatants, if terror killing combatants and/or noncombatants should ever be permissible, and if there is liability to harm in virtue of belonging to a group. The fifth essay examines how recent discussions by nonconsequentialists about redirection of threats (as in the famous Trolley Problem) may illuminate the moral status of collaboration that took place with Nazis during the Holocaust. What justice requires after conflict and how our ability to provide it affects the permissibility of starting war, is the next topic. Truth and reconciliation commissions and retribution post-conflict are discussed, and whether harm to civilians stemming from such procedures (and how the harm arises) bear on the permissibility of instituting the procedures. The three concluding essays deal with moral aspects of conflicts outside of standard war, including those involving the threat of terrorism, resistance to communal injustice (for example, in the case of the Taliban women), and the use of nuclear weapons for deterrence." Read more
DAVID WILKINS ELECTED TO AAAS
David Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Director of the Program on the Legal Profession, and Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Wilkins was a Faculty Fellow in Ethics in 1989-90, and became a Faculty Associate of the Ethics Center at the end of that year. Most recently, he has served on the Center's Faculty Committee since 2009.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, based in Cambridge, MA, is one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities and culture, and education.
Congratulations, David! More information
FORMER FELLOW APPOINTED TO NATIONAL ETHICS COUNCIL
According to its website, the National Ethics Council enforces the AIA's Code of Ethics, and also proposes revisions to the Code and to the Rules of Procedure.
The Council also engages in efforts to educate members about their obligations under the Code of Ethics, as well as AIA component executives and the general public about ethical issues that arise in the fields of architecture and design. Additionally, the Council conducts educational programs on ethics at the AIA's Convention, and at various other seminars and programs hosted by AIA components.
Read more here.
FORMER FELLOW, EZEKIEL EMANUEL, APPOINTED UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AT UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Former Senior Scholar and current University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann announced the appointment of Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, a globally renowned bioethicist, as the thirteenth Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor, effective September 1, 2011.
Dr. Emanuel's title will be the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor and the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives. His appointment will be shared between the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy in the Perelman School of Medicine, which he will Chair, and the Department of Health Care Management in the Wharton School. Read more
NEW BOOK BY FRANCES KAMM
June 30, 2011: Oxford University Press published a book by Professor Frances Kamm entitled Ethics for Enemies: Terror, Torture, and War. The book is based on three Uehiro Lectures given by Professor Kamm at Oxford University in 2008. The lectures were sponsored by the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.
"Ethics for Enemies comprises three original philosophical essays on torture, terrorism, and war. F. M. Kamm deploys ethical theory in her challenging new treatments of these most controversial practical issues. First she considers the nature of torture and the various occasions on which it could occur, in order to determine why it might be wrong to torture a wrongdoer held captive, even if this were necessary to save his victims. In the second essay she considers what makes terrorism wrong--whether it is the intention to harm civilians, rather than harm to them being 'collateral damage,' or something else--and whether terrorism is always wrong. The third essay discusses whether having a right reason, in the sense of a right intention, is necessary in order for a war to be just. Kamm then examines ways in which the harms of war can be proportional to the achievement of the just cause and other goods that war can bring about, so as to make the declaration of war permissible." Read more.
FRANCES KAMM ELECTED TO AAAS
Long-time Center affiliate Frances M. Kamm was elected to the 2011 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Kamm was one of 212 of the world's most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts to have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011. Read more.
CENTER RECEIVES $12.3 MILLION DOLLAR GIFT FROM MRS. LILY SAFRA
Harvard University has received a gift of $12.3 million (10 million euros) from Mrs. Lily Safra. Given in memory of her late husband, Edmond J. Safra, founder of the Republic National Bank of New York and prominent philanthropist, the gift will support the activities of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, permanently endow the graduate fellowship program, and fund the recently launched Research Lab. This personal gift from Mrs. Safra follows a donation of $10 million from the Edmond J. Safra Foundation to endow the center in 2004.
"We are grateful for this timely gift to the Edmond J. Safra Center," said Harvard President Drew Faust. "At a moment in history when many people are examining the global financial system and the role of public institutions, we will all benefit from serious research into the increasing complexity of public life and the ethical issues faced by corporate leaders."
"This gift will allow the center to build upon its remarkable success and continue to shape dialogue on critical ethical issues across the University and beyond," added Harvard Provost Steven E. Hyman.
Mrs. Safra said, "I have always considered it a wonderful privilege to be able to count myself among the Edmond J. Safra Center's friends and supporters, and I am delighted to offer this additional support for the center's vitally important work. If we truly value justice and basic human dignity, ethical questions need to be part of every field of study and every policy discussion. I know my husband would share my great pride in the Edmond J. Safra Center's tremendous contributions toward this goal-and its promise for the future."
In addition to a $10 million gift from the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation in 2004, other previous gifts facilitated by Mrs. Safra helped endow the Edmond J. Safra Graduate Fellowships in Ethics and a Faculty Fellowship in Ethics. A portion of the new funding will fully endow the Edmond J. Safra Graduate Fellowship program and ensure that the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics' role in training younger scholars and developing future leaders in ethics will continue. Since its founding over 20 years ago, the center's fellowship programs have hosted more than 250 talented scholars, some of whom have gone on to establish ethics centers at other universities in the United States and abroad. A sampling of this year's fellowship topics includes projects on financial ties between the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatric treatment boards, determining which psychological factors predict whether whistleblowers will be praised or rejected, and understanding the interaction of policy and daily attitudes toward risk in the financial industry.
Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics director and Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, who succeeded founding director Dennis F. Thompson as the center's director in 2009, launched a new Research Lab as a major initiative designed to address fundamental problems of ethics in a way that provides benefit to institutions of government and society around the world. The lab's first project focuses on the problem of institutional corruption.
"We are enormously fortunate to have this extraordinary gift from Lily Safra," said Lessig. "The support of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation has already secured a permanent place for the Center for Ethics at Harvard. This gift will allow us to extend our work to important and timely questions of institutional corruption."
Mrs. Safra, a longtime member of the center's advisory council, has participated regularly in the center's seminar and public programs. She is known for her philanthropy, patronage of the arts, and longtime support for educational, scientific, medical, and humanitarian organizations around the world.
Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
Founded in 1986 by former President Derek Bok, and led for over 20 years by Professor Dennis F. Thompson, the center encourages teaching and research about ethical issues in public and professional life. It is the core of a well-established movement at Harvard to give ethics a prominent place in the curriculum and on the agenda of research. By promoting a perspective informed by both theory and practice, the center helps to meet the growing need for teachers, scholars, and leaders who address questions of moral choice in the professions and public life more generally.
Mrs. Lily Safra
Mrs. Lily Safra shared her commitment to caring for the less fortunate with her husband, Edmond J. Safra, one of the twentieth century's most accomplished bankers and founder of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation. Since 2000, she has chaired this foundation, which supports hundreds of projects related to education, science and medicine, religion, culture, and humanitarian relief in over 50 countries.
In addition to funding neuroscience professorships and research positions at dozens of universities and institutes around the world, Mrs. Safra has initiated and supported many educational projects, including endowing the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. A long and distinguished relationship with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem led to the naming of the Edmond J. Safra Campus, where the $130 million Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences is located. In an impoverished area of northern Brazil, she founded the Alfredo J. Monteverde School, which teaches science and technology to 1,000 children. Recently, she helped to establish the Institut Pedagogique Edmond J. Safra at the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris. Mrs. Safra is honorary chairman of the International Sephardic Education Foundation (ISEF), which she established with her husband in 1977. ISEF is the largest nonprofit organization promoting higher education for gifted Israelis from disadvantaged backgrounds. In recognition of her work, Mrs. Safra has been awarded honorary doctorates from a number of universities, and she was made commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et Letters and chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur.
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