Fellowship Renamed to Honor Sorensen

The following article appeared in the Summer/Fall 2009 issue of "Ethics Central," the biannual newsletter of the Ethics Center.

The center's flagship student program, which sends Brandeis University undergraduates all over the globe to work for social justice, will henceforth be called the Sorensen Fellowship. The program honors Theodore C. "Ted" Sorensen for his lifelong commitment to public service and for his ten years as founding chairman of the center's international advisory board.

Ted Sorensen was policy adviser, legal counsel and speechwriter to President John F. Kennedy. In those roles, Sorensen helped to resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis, advance civil rights legislation and influence the United States' decision to travel to the moon. He was instrumental in Kennedy's call to service, helping to inspire a generation to work on improving conditions in the United States and other countries.

He has practiced international law for more than 36 years as a senior partner, and now of counsel, in the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, in New York City. A widely published author on the presidency and foreign affairs, he last year wrote his memoir, "Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History." In January, Sorensen appeared at Brandeis, where he reflected on his service for Kennedy and spoke about recent inaugural addresses.

Formerly called the Ethics Center Student Fellowship, the Sorensen Fellowship integrates academic and experiential learning for selected Brandeis University sophomores and juniors. After being chosen in a competitive application process, students take a course in the spring as academic preparation for an internship. During the summer, fellows experience an internship of their own design in an organization anywhere in the world, for which they receive a $4,000 stipend ($3,500 for a domestic internship). After they return, students take a course in the fall and write an essay focused on their internship experience, which is published in a compilation by the center.

Sorensen, who has served as chairman of the Ethics Center board since its founding, recently announced he would step down from that role. During his tenure, he brought to the board leading figures from the fields of diplomacy, international law and public policy.

"Ted has given the center invaluable wisdom for the past 10 years," said Director Daniel Terris. "The Sorensen Fellowship is a fitting tribute to a man who is an inspiration to young people for his public service and international engagement. With the renaming of one of our flagship programs, we honor his service to the board and indeed his service to the world."

The fellowship was launched with its first group of students in 1998. Since then, the Ethics Center has sent 68 students on internships worldwide.