Brandeis Campus Programs

The International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life is located at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

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The Center works to honor and build on the legacy of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis, for whom the university is named, by providing opportunities for members of the extended Brandeis community to contribute to meaningful changes in the world.

The Center's on-campus mission is to reinforce deep and sustained consideration of issues of ethics, coexistence, Sorensen Fellows 2011 PAX89 book coverand justice as a central and dynamic feature of Brandeis University, encouraging a climate of balanced consideration, creative response, and ethical reflection on those issues.

A hallmark of the work of the Center is the involvement of scholars and students from many parts of Brandeis University. The Center sponsors the Sorensen Fellowship, which support Brandeis sophomores and juniors to implement a project of their own design as an intern in the organization of their choice, anywhere in the world.

Also a hallmark of the Center is its collaboration the Student Union to present Brandeis University’s annual weeklong "festival of social justice": 'DEIS Impact! Each year, students, professors, clubs, and academic departments plan dozens of events throughout the week that focus on Brandeis' relationship with social justice. Events include as talks, artmaking workshops, performances, exhibits, and discussions. Read more about 'DEIS Impact! in previous years here.

Also sponsored by the Center is Advocacy for Policy Change initiative. It features the Legal Studies Program  course "Advocacy for Policy Change" (LGLS 161), in which undergraduate students combine the investigation of the ethical dilemmas that arise in the process of lawmaking with hands-on advocacy work with entities seeking to reform Massachusetts laws or to propose new ones. A publication is also produced annually, which may be read here.

The Center is also home to the Ethics Center Leadership Council, a "social justice street team" composed of three undergraduates who work together and independently to build engagement with and awareness of the Center's resources; reach out to students, faculty and staff at Brandeis and to people at other schools and organizations; and promote and enhance interactive conversations about topics concerning social justice on campus  through various means.

In fall 2014 the Ethics Center helped to launch a new minor at Brandeis University focused on the intersection of peacebuilding and the arts: Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation (“CAST”)

Center staff also teach courses in the undergraduate Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies minor, as well as multiple other fields.

'DEIS Impacters and the DushkusThe Center initiates and co-sponsors on-campus events related to our mission. These events feature prominent speakers and activists discussing issues of ethics and social justice and shaping responses to conflict throughout the world.

Previous campus events have included

The Center hosts two University-wide awards on behalf of the Office of the President: the Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize and the Richman Distinguished Fellowship in Public Life.

Tapping the expertise of its staff, students, and campus visitors, the Center produces a variety of publications on topics such as coexistence/peacebuilding, ethics, human rights, social activism, international justice, politics, and religion.

In collaboration with Brandeis faculty members, the Center’s Distinguished Practitioner Residency program (now retired) brought respected practitioners in any field to campus for several days to examine the ethical challenges and dilemmas of that field. Distinguished Practitioners were in residence at Brandeis from three to five days, to offer public events, visit classes, and engage students interested in pursuing a career in their field. Distinguished Practitioners included:

  • Dr. Mohamed Bakarr, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya. Sponsored by David Engerman of the International and Global Studies Department, and Dan Perlman of the Biology Department;
  • Dr. Rosa Elena Bello, Founder and Director of Community Medical Services in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Sponsored by Kelley Ready of the Heller School and Margaret Morganroth Gullette of the Women’s Studies Research Center;
  • Dr. William Haglund, United Nations Senior Forensic Advisor for the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and Senior Consultant to Physicians for Human Rights. Sponsored by Elizabeth Ferry of the Anthropology Department;Yoon with Olson - 2010
  • Michel Noureddine Kassa, Country Team Leader for the Initiative for a Cohesive Leadership in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sponsored by Alain Lempereur of the Heller School;
  • Dr. Brian Williams, epidemiologist for the World Health Organization in Geneva. Sponsored by Irving Epstein of the Chemistry Department; and
  • Hoseob Yoon, a Korean artist specializing in incorporating environmental themes into his work in education and design. Sponsored by Eric Olson of the Heller School.

In addition, the Center mentors students from the Middle East at Brandeis through the Sylvia and Joseph Slifka Israeli Coexistence Scholarship, the Judd and Jennifer Malkin Israeli Scholarship, and the Seeds of Peace alumni scholarship.