Further Exploration

Look back at 20 years of the Ethics Center

Explore the Center's Newsletter Archivecover 

Search the Center's News & Events Archive

Read 20 years of Sorensen Fellowship essayscover

Watch a short video with highlights of the first 10 years of the Ethics Center (1998-2008).

Read a special report produced on our 10th anniversary (1998 - 2008) [PDF], which chronicles our history and shares impressions of people whose lives and work have been influenced by their association with the Center.

Learn about the Center's International Advisory Board members past and present.

Read the reflection of International Advisory Board member Norbert Weissberg on the history of the Ethics Center and the late Abraham Feinberg, through whose generosity the Center was established.

Ethics Center 20th Anniversary


In 2018, the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life celebrated its 20th year. The celebration took place on Monday, March 12.

For full size video of Part 1, click here. For full size video of Part 2, click here.

2:00 – 5:15 p.m. 20th anniversary symposium: “Democracies in Peril: The Role of the University.”
International Lounge, Usdan building, Brandeis University

For full size video of the celebration and reception, click here.

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Celebration and reception
Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex Atrium, Brandeis University

For full size video of the performances, click here.

7:00 – 8:30 p.m. “A Powerful Fire: Performances to Energize Our Next 20 Years.”
Mandel Center for the Humanities Atrium, Brandeis University

All events were free and open to the public.

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Click for list of “Democracies in Peril” panelists

David Chard President of Wheelock College

Jacob Edelman '18 Brandeis University Student Union President; Member of the 'DEIS Impact Steering Committee; politics and history double major at Brandeis

Gordie Fellman Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies Program at Brandeis University; Member of the Ethics Center's Faculty Advisory Committee

Richard Goldstone H '04 Retired Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; former Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; Member and former Chair of the Ethics Center's International Advisory Board

Jay Kaufman '68, MA '73 Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives; founding director of Beacon Leadership Collaborative; Member of the Ethics Center's International Advisory Board

Marya Levenson '64 Harry S. Levitan Director of the Education Program and Professor of the Practice, Brandeis University

Lisa Lynch Provost and Chief Academic Officer of Brandeis University, and the Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy

Maria Madison Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis

Kanan Makiya Crown Center for Middle East Studies Senior Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University

Ángela María Pérez Mejía Chief Cultural Manager of Banco de la República, Bogotá, Colombia; Member of the Ethics Center's International Advisory Board

Elaine Reuben '63 Former activist academic; engaged philanthropist; Member of the Ethics Center's International Advisory Board

Rajesh Sampath Associate Professor of the Philosophy of Justice, Rights, and Social Change and Associate Director of the Master's Program in Sustainable International Development at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis

John Shattuck Professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Chair of the Ethics Center's International Advisory Board

Leah Susman '18 National Campaign Chair of J Street U; 2017 Sorensen Fellow; Education studies major and Latin American and Latino studies minor at Brandeis

Dan Terris Director of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University

Norbert Weissberg Chairman, Package Research Laboratory LLC and Stapling Machines Compant LLC; Member of the Ethics Center's International Advisory Board

Elaine Wong Senior Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences for Undergraduate Education at Brandeis University

Click for list of "A Powerful Fire" performers

Babu Ayindo, Ph.D.
Babu is an artist-in-residence at Brandeis, hosted by the CAST program. He is a traditional Kenyan storyteller, artist, teacher, facilitator, researcher, and writer, and a recognized expert in decolonizing approaches to arts-based peacebuilding. He brings over two decades of experience in the design, implementation and evaluation of peacebuilding processes and programs in different parts of the world. In addition, has taught short courses in arts-based approaches to peace work at peacebuilding institutes in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and North America. During his time at Brandeis, he has visited several classes, presented a lecture on decolonizing approaches to peace building, and led a faculty development workshop for members of the CAST advisory committee. Babu is a member of the Steering Committee of IMPACT - Imagining Together Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation. 

Elizabeth Bradfield
Liz is a professor of creative writing at Brandeis University as well as a widely published author and environmentalist. Her poetry and essays have been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Terrain.org, The Believer, Orion, and numerous other journals and anthologies. She is also the author of several collections of poetry: "Interpretive Work" (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press, 2008), which won the Audre Lorde Prize and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award; "Approaching Ice" (Persea Books, 2010), a book of poems about Arctic and Antarctic exploration that was a finalist for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets; and "Once Removed" (Persea Books, 2015). She serves on the CAST advisory committee.

Marcelo Brociner (’18)
Marcelo is an Anthropology and International and Global Studies double major who is  minoring in Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation (CAST). He is both a hip-hop and visual artist. Marcelo has been awarded many honors, including both the Sorensen Fellowship and the  Segal Fellowship. During his tenure at Brandeis, Marcelo has enriched the cultural life of the university in many ways, inspiring a graffiti wall in the library, serving as Vice President of Basement Records (a recording studio for students), and designing and establishing a  resource room for CAST and Creative Writing students. He has produced over 70 tracks of his music. Marcelo remains committed to his Somerville roots.

Germaine Ingram
Germaine is a jazz tap/percussive dancer, choreographer, songwriter, vocal and dance improviser and cultural strategist. She has created choreography for national tap companies, performed as a solo artist, and collaborated and performed with noted jazz composers and instrumentalists, as well as dance artists rooted in diverse genres. Through choreography, music composition, performance, writing, production, oral history projects, and designing and leading artist learning environments, she explores themes related to history, collective memory, and social justice. Her recent projects include an hour-length performance piece for the city of Atlanta, Georgia’s 150-year commemoration of the Battle of Atlanta, a turning point in the Civil War; and an evening-length production of original music and dance for the VivaDanca International Festival in Salvador, Brazil. Germaine is a member of the International Advisory Board of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life and serves on the steering committee of IMPACT - Imagining Together Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation.

Jane Sapp and friends
Jane Wilburn Sapp is a musician and cultural worker with deep roots in the gospel music traditions of the American south and the music of the civil rights movement. A musician of enormous power and talent, Jane has worked in schools and community centers for decades. Most recently, she is working with the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts on a book of stories and songs written with young people in communities across the country, a resource for music educators, chorus leaders and activists. It will be published in the spring of 2019 by Brandeis University Press, accompanied by a podcast episodes that capture her approach to cultural work. She is joined tonight by Michael Carter and OJ Martori, musicians who have been working with Jane since their elementary school years.
Click for questions that were addressed during the “Democracies in Peril” discussion
What part should universities play in the public arena? Are democratic institutions under threat in the U.S. and/or around the world? If so, do universities have a part to play in responding to these threats? How should higher education institutions balance their commitment to democratic values with their traditional role as guardians of a full range of ideas and opinions?

To what extent is increasing inequality a threat to democratic values? To what extent is higher education itself exacerbating this problem? What part should  universities play with regard to this trend?

How should universities think about threats to democratic values specifically in relation to their students? To what extent should higher education make a conscious attempt to  instill values of democratic citizenship as part of its mission? What responsibilities do students themselves have to mobilizing resources inside and outside the university to support democracy?

How should universities address threats to higher education itself? Are external pressures threatening freedom of expression on university campuses? What are the types of pressures, and do they require different responses from higher education? To what extent should universities address the charge that higher education imposes its own forms of ideological conformity?

If rising nationalism reduces the flow of students across borders to study, will this threaten key aspects of contemporary higher education? To what extent have universities contributed to the growing global flow of knowledge and skills by accepting international students? To what extent does higher education’s reliance on full-paying students from overseas reinforce problems of global inequality?  How should universities address or respond to the refugee crisis?

To what extent are threats to democracy linked with deteriorating respect for scholarship and intellectual work more generally? What should be the response of universities and their students to anti-intellectual movements in the larger society?