Whatever Happened to Ethics?

Albert Einstein once wrote, “Without ethical culture, there is no salvation for humanity.” When one considers many of the problems the world is facing today from hunger and the financial crisis in the US and abroad to global warming, there is an ethical component to our failure in dealing with these issues. This year’s Sidore Lecture series will focus on the ethical and moral expressions to the problems of the day and discuss potential solutions.

Fall 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – Ethics and the New Education: Testing, Pills, and the Future of Schooling

In his talk, Stein explores trends in educationally oriented psychopharmacology and large-scale standardized testing, and how educating children requires a more holistic and human approach.

Award-winning scholar and researcher Zak Stein focuses on issues related to human development and the philosophy of education. He has been published in several journals and is the editor for Mind, Brain, and Education. He has presented at dozens professional conferences and held teaching appointments at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and John F. Kennedy University. Stein currently teaches through Lectica, Inc., and at Harvard.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013 – The Obama Administration’s Use of Drones

In her talk, Benjamin discusses how and why the Obama administration came to rely on drone warfare, the dangers of engaging in secret wars behind the backs of the American people, and what we as citizens can do about it.

Medea Benjamin is a cofounder of both CODEPINK, a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement, and Global Exchange, an international human rights organization. Described as “one of America’s most committed–and most effective–fighters for human rights” by New York Newsday, and called “one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement” by the Los Angeles Times, Benjamin has distinguished herself as an eloquent and energetic figure in the progressive movement. In 2005, she was one of 1,000 exemplary women from 140 countries nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the millions of women who do the essential work of peace worldwide. In 2010 she received the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize from the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The author/editor of eight books, Benjamin’s latest book is Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. She is currently campaigning to get lethal drones out of the hands of the CIA.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013 – Ethical and Moral Issues in the Defense of Genocide Cases

Attorneys Howard and Ruoff discuss the constitutional principle behind the right to counsel, even when you know the defendant is guilty, and the role of attorneys as teachers in geopolitics.

Mark Howard’s career in law spans more than 25 years, during which time he has worked for private law practices and served publicly, first as an assistant attorney general in the New Hampshire Department of Justice where he prosecuted homicide cases, and later as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Hampshire. Over the years he has prosecuted hundreds of violent crimes, drug offenses, firearms offenses, and white-collar crimes. Howard has been with Howard & Ruoff since he founded it in 2009. His practice consists primarily of federal and state criminal defense, complex civil litigation, and federal appellate practice at the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

David Ruoff has been practicing law for nearly 20 years, the majority of them dedicated to public service. He launched his career as staff attorney for the New Hampshire Public Defender, and subsequently joined the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted numerous high-profile cases. Following a six-year stint with the state attorney general’s office, where he prosecuted homicides, environmental, and public integrity crimes, he entered into private law practice. Ruoff’s practice is focused primarily on state and federal criminal defense, as well as civil litigation.


Spring 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 – R2P: Why Libya? Why Not Syria?

The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is an international security and human rights initiative to prevent and stop genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. Weiss explores how decisions are made regarding whether, when, where, and why to intervene to protect civilians.

Thomas Weiss is presidential professor of political science at the CUNY Graduate Center and director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies; he is also research professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. A past president of the International Studies Association, former chair of the Academic Council on the UN System, and former editor of Global Governance, Weiss has authored or edited some 45 books and 225 articles and book chapters about multilateral approaches to international peace and security, humanitarian action, and sustainable development.


Thursday, March 27, 2014 – Inequality Matters: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It

The gap between rich and poor is the widest it has been in a century, and our national conversation about how to address this challenge is polarized. Collins will discuss the impact of inequality and the path toward an economy that works for everyone.  Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good, and is well known for his efforts to bridge the national debate on wealth inequality and taxes. He is cofounder of Wealth for the Common Good and the Patriotic Millionaires, two efforts to organize members of the 1 percent to advocate for fair tax policy.

Collins is co-author with Bill Gates Sr. of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes (2003), and co-author of The Moral Measure of the Economy (2007), about Christian ethics and economic life. His most recent book is 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It (2012).


Wednesday, April 2, 2014 – The Promises and Perils of the New Biology

We are living in an exciting era of modern biotechnology that allows us unprecedented control over life forms. Lee will discuss the rich opportunities and ethical perils this presents.

Thomas Lee retired in 2002 after 35 years as a professor in the Biology Department at Saint Anselm College. His areas of interest include microbiology, marine algal development, and genetic engineering. Lee has published and spoken widely on his research on plant tissue culture, cellular polarity, and airborne microorganisms. Several of his books have received noteworthy attention, and he has been a frequent contributor to the Encyclopedia Americana, authoring articles on genetic engineering and molecular biology.