See here for speakers from past academic years.
From last quarter (Winter 11-12):
Charles R. Miller
“Preserving Decision Space Under Pressure: a Reflection from ‘the Surge’ into Iraq”
The U.S. military completed the drawdown in Iraq in December 2011. That drawdown was made possible by a variety of factors, to include the so-called “Surge” in 2007 and 2008. The Surge itself was hugely controversial at the time it was announced and remained so through the Presidential election cycle. This talk will provide insight on the political pressure senior leaders in Baghdad were under and how they thought about assessing the success of the Surge as they reported back to Washington, to include the heated September 2007 testimony to Congress by General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. The example of how General Petraeus, who Colonel Miller worked directly for at the time, set the parameters for thinking about the problem and preserved his decision space will be the focus of the discussion.
My Life as a Public Intellectual: Some Reflections
Having a chance to comment regularly on current events is not the ordinary ambition of 18th-century historians, but having worked on the origins of the American Constitution for the past quarter century, I have encountered numerous opportunities to discuss current events from a historian’s perspective. This talk will discuss the ethical issues that arise when one combines political argument about the present with a historian’s obligation to be responsible to the evidence of the past.
The Media and Mental Illness.
Mental illness is an important topic of public debate. But journalists reporting on the issue face a special set of circumstances when interviewing those affected by psychological or neurological disorders. How do reporters obtain full and willing consent to publish sometimes intimate or potentially embarrassing details about a person with a mental disorder? The issues becomes more intense when involving soldiers and others whose careers may be harmed by a public airing of their conditions. This talk will use specific stories to illustrate how the media and the public can balance reporting on subjects with mental disease and brain injury with public interest in the topic.
The Ethical Dilemmas of Philanthropy
Ms. Meredith will explore the ethical dilemmas facing philanthropy. Philanthropy in the USA boasts $300 billiion annually in unconstrained private resources as gifts from individual philanthropists, foundations and corporations to impact social change. Is that reasonable and should philanthropy have such influence on society as a whole? What are the issues on the blurring of the lines as nonprofit organizations want a revenue stream and for-profit businesses want a mission? What are the ethcial dilemma’s facing nonprofits daily as they accept private gifts or government funds then they must manage to outcomes, or not? How do nonprofits report on their successes or failures as they meet compliance issues for reporting to the government and their donors? The IRS has a 99.4% acceptance rate for nonprofit organization applications so should anyone really be able to create a nonprofit that can accept charitable gifts? What are the implied conflicts of interest? These are just a few of the many issues that we will discuss. The articles posted in advance include “Ethics and Nonprofits” from the Stanford Social Innovation Review by Deborah Rhode and Amanda K. Packel and “Anything Goes” by Rob Reich, Faculty Co-Director of Stanford PACS. Copies of the current issues of SSIR will be provided to attendees.
“Who you are is so loud I cannot hear what you are saying”
Scholars engaged in African field research know that their presence can be deafening. Indeed, the cacophony we create constantly threatens to overwhelm the melodies we seek to explore and understand. Who we are can and does impede communication with those whose experiences and understandings are the primary focus of our research attention. At the same time, researchers are part of the settings they study. The clarity and accuracy of our analyses, the refinement and elaboration of our insights, and the sensibility and sensitivity of our research tools—our objectivity—are all to a significant extent a function of our critical consciousness of our own roles. Efforts to grapple with these issues in a Tanzanian research setting lead to a broader discussion of researchers’ ethical responsibilities and challenges.
The Difference Between Life and Death: Ethical Decisions in Combat
Military leaders at the tactical level routinely face ethical dilemmas on the battlefield. More than often,they are required to make tough decisions under time constraint in hostile, ambiguous situations.Training and education alone do not prepare these leaders for the complex environment in which they operate. Instead, a positive unit command climate coupled with engaged leadership serves as the bedrock of ethical decision-making in combat. This talk will highlight examples of ethical decisions that COL Luong and his subordinate leaders made during his brigade’s combat deployment to eastern Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011. He will discuss how his brigade prepared to operate in this complex environment and how the unit maintained an ethical climate in combat.
Dean Scotty McLennan
Personal Moral Risk Factors.
A Socratic dialogue with attendees about dealing with personal moral risk. The centerpiece will be a case by Bowen McCoy entitled “The Parable of the Sadhu,” which describes ethical issues he faced on a trek in the Himalayas. The discussion should help in developing a framework for moral decision-making and a list of personal risk factors.
Ethical Barriers to the End of AIDS
Social Justice and access to care were key to the UNGASS and Millenium Development Goals; equity in access to prevention, high quality treatment and care for HIV. Public Health goals broadly speaking are the greatest good for the greatest number. The Hippocratic Oath dedicates the Physician to the good of the individual. Prevention, care and treatment of HIV infection are possible, and effective, portending the eventual end of AIDS, worldwide and the possibility of an “AIDS free generation”. The effort to combat a disease of poverty and inequality by focusing resources from wealthy nations on the application of advancing public health and medical treatments is without precedent, a global commitment of large, but insufficient resources. Public Health and Medical moral imperatives immediately lead to competing priorities, processes and policies which may be implemented through capacity building with transparency, accountabiliy and country ownership. The barriers to implementing effective solutions are money, policy and conflict of interest ie. self-interest. The welcome news that effective treatment of infected individuals is an most effective way to prevent mother-to-child, heterosexual and MSM transmission makes the effective identification and treatment of HIV + individuals the highest priority in prevention. The impact of treatment on disease make treatment the highest medical priority. Test and treat approaches to the end of AIDS raises important ethical questions about donor nation obligations, individual rights and equity in access to care. We will consider historical, social, political and economic arguments around a global approach to the end of AIDS.
Courage versus Culture
Watch the news and its impossible to miss the many morality plays as they unfold — whether in politics, sports, business, or even in academia. Large and small organizations all have cultures that endorse or prohibit, cultures that celebrate or condemn, cultures that expose or ignore. In the midst of those cultures, however, it’s individuals that make decisions, and their ethics and their courage to act upon those beliefs will determine how those decisions get made. This will be a conversation about real cases involving these issues and how we can learn from them.