Nov 172016
 November 17, 2016

The Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Kenan Refugee Project will host the opening of a new audiovisual exhibit showcasing the experiences of refugees as they travel along the Balkan Route in Europe.

The event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Keohane-Kenan Gallery in West Duke Building, is based on the work of undergraduates Lily Doron and Olivia Johnson, who spent six weeks traveling along the route, where where they reported on the lives of refugees fleeing Syria and Afghanistan in search for a better life.

The event is free and open to the public.

Nov 172016
 November 17, 2016

For its April 17 Monday Seminar Series, Kenan Institute for Ethics welcomes Anne Drapkin Lyerly, Professor of Social Medicine and Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Department of Social Medicine. She is also Research Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Lyerly will present “Ethics, Pregnancy and the Race for a Zika Vaccine.” She is currently co-principle investigator on a Wellcome Trust funded project to advance equitable inclusion of pregnant women research on Zika and other public health emergencies.  Additionally, she is principle investigator on the NIH-funded PHASES Project to advance equitable inclusion of pregnant women in HIV research, and, along with Ruth Faden and Maggie Little, she co-founded the Second Wave Initiative, a project aimed at addressing women’s health needs during pregnancy through responsible inclusion of pregnant women (and their interests) in biomedical research.

Over her career Lyerly has addressed a range of topics in reproductive medicine, including stem cell research and frozen embryo disposition, miscarriage, maternal-fetal surgery, and vaginal birth after cesarean. She has recently completed a book, A Good Birth, reporting the findings of the Good Birth Project, aimed at describing what constitutes a “good birth” from the perspectives of birthing women themselves.

After earning a bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth College, she received master’s degrees at Duke and Georgetown University.

Lyerly will present from noon to 1:30 p.m. April 17 in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke Building Room 101. Lunch will be provided and those interested in attending must RSVP by emailing Bashar Alobaidi at

The Monday Seminar Series, hosted by the Kenan Institute for Ethics, fosters a interdisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students from across the University to discuss cutting edge research in ethics broadly conceived. For more information and upcoming speakers, visit the series website.

Nov 132016
 November 13, 2016

Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Research Scholar Amber Diaz Pearson will participate in an April 13 moderated discussion on the policy and impact of executive orders put in place by the Trump Administration dealing with refugee resettlement and immigration. She’ll be joined by Darren Beattie, a Duke political science instructor.

Beattie will provide a positive view of the administration’s recent executive orders, while Pearson will offer a critical perspective.

“Scaling the Wall: Should Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration be Repealed?” is presented by the Duke Alexander Hamilton Society and Duke Bench and Bar. It will take place at 6 p.m. April 13 in Perkins Library Room 217. It’s free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Nov 102016
 November 10, 2016

Join Behrooz Ghamari, Professor of History at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, for his talk “Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment.” Ghamari is the author of Islam & Dissent in Post-Revolutionary Iran, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, and Remembering Akbar: Inside the Iranian Revolution. Lunch will be provided.

More information

Monday, April 10
Smith Warehouse, Bay 4,
Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall (FHI Garage)

Sponsored by the Humanities Futures Initiative at FHI, the Kenan Institute for Ethics Campus Grants Program, DUMESC, DISC, the Offices of Dean Nowicki and Dr. Petters, the Department of Cultural Anthropology, and the DHRC@FHI.

Nov 082016
 November 8, 2016


The Duke Human Rights Center at The Kenan Institute for Ethics will be holding its third annual Scholars Research Symposium on Saturday, April 8. The symposium, which is sponsored by the Kenan Institute’s Global Human Rights Scholars, provides an opportunity for a select group of seniors at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill to publicly present honors or capstone projects that broadly relate to the themes of human rights, ethics, or international politics. This event is open to the public, and particularly for faculty, students and alumni of both Duke and UNC .

Saturday, April 8
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room (West Duke 101)

Introduction and Welcome – Daniela Flamini

Panel 1 | 1 to 2:15 p.m. | Migrant Workers, Sex Workers and Refugees: Work, Space and Place

  • Chair: Liz White
  • Panelists: Diana Dai, Jessica Van Meier, Olivia Johnson
  • Discussants: Jessica So and Rym Khadraoui

Living on the Outside: Unraveling the Paradoxes Surrounding Migrant Domestic Work in Jordan  – Diana Dai
Sex Work and the Politics of Space: Case Studies of Sex Workers in Argentina and Ecuador – Jessica Van Meir
Examining Mobility and Stasis Along the Balkan Route  – Olivia Johnson

Panel 2 | 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. | Strategies for Promoting Rights in the U.S.: Social Movements and State Policies 

  • Chair: Celia Garrett
  • Panelists: Kendra Schultz, Samantha Night, Kate Townsend
  • Discussants: Menaka Nayar and Sarah Sibley

Social Media as a Tool for Social Mobilization: A Case Study of Black Lives Matter – Kendra Schultz
Measuring the Right to Food: A U.S. Policy Perspective – Samantha Night
The U Visa, Domestic Violence, and Law Enforcement Reporting – Kate Townsend

Selected Presenters

  • Diana Dai, International Comparative Studies and Public Policy, Duke, May 2017
  • Olivia Johnson, International Comparative Studies and Political Science, Duke, May 2017
  • Samantha Night, Public Policy, UNC, December 2016
  • Kendra Schultz, Public Policy, Duke, May 2017
  • Kate Townsend, Public Policy and Women’s and Gender Studies, UNC Chapel Hill, December 2017.
  • Jessica Van Meir, Public Policy, Duke, May 2017

Global Scholars

  • Sanjeev Dasgupta, Political Science, Duke 2017
  • Daniela Flamini, International and Comparative Studies and English, Duke 2019
  • Celia Garret, Public Policy, Duke 2019
  • Rym Khadhraoui, Duke Law School, 2017
  • Sarah Sibley, Political Science, Computer Science and Statistics, Duke 2019
  • Liz White, Public Policy and French, Duke 2017

Alumni Discussants

  • Menaka Nayar, Trinity ’11 and Law ’14
  • Jessica So, Trinity ’10
Panel 1 | Migrant Workers, Sex Workers and Refugees: Work, Space and Place

Living on the Outside: Unraveling the Paradoxes Surrounding Migrant Domestic Work in Jordan – Diana Dai

This research project will examine the institutional and ideological factors that influence the experiences of migrant domestic workers in Jordan. For a decade now, human rights groups have been invested in the increase in and subsequent exploitation of migrant domestic workers. My project will critically analyze how the institutions and discourses that make up global capitalism have made possible these incidences of violence that many believe are unrelated to ideological and/or structural factors. Using a range of methods from Marxist feminism, structural analysis, and ethnography, and focusing intimately on the context of transnational domestic work, my thesis argues that the “abuse of human rights” could be best understand as an integral and necessary reality of late global capitalism. Furthermore, structural actors (the state, the household, the supranational organization), along with migrant domestics themselves, are all embroiled in the circulation of (oppressive) discourses surrounding gender, race, and nationality which make possible the specific forms of labor exploitation we see today.

Sex Work and the Politics of Space: Case Studies of Sex Workers in Argentina and Ecuador – Jessica Van Meir

While many studies examine how different legal approaches to prostitution affect sex workers’ living and working conditions, few studies analyze how sex workers’ physical workspaces and the policies regulating these spaces influence sex work conditions. Based on interviews with 109 current or former sex workers, 13 civil society representatives, 12 government officials, and 5 other actors in Ecuador and Argentina, this study describes sex workers’ uses of urban space in the two countries and compares how they experience and respond to government regulation of locations of prostitution. Argentina and Ecuador took different approaches to regulating sex work space, which appear to reflect different political ideologies towards prostitution. Sex workers expressed different individual preferences for spaces, and government limitation of these spaces represented one of their major concerns. The results illuminate how sex workers’ workspaces influence their working conditions and suggest that governments should consider sex worker preferences in establishing policies that affect their workspaces.

Examining Mobility and Stasis Along the Balkan Route  – Olivia Johnson

How do state border policies impact refugees’ mobility and wellbeing while travelling through the Western Balkans to Germany? How do these governmental policies and organizational responses to the ‘refugee crisis’ affect the individual agency of refugees travelling this route? In summer 2016 my research partner and I traveled along the Balkan route conducting semi-structured interviews with local organizations (n=24) and refugees (n=16) to explore the consequences of stasis within mobility. We heard about the personal impacts of closed borders, marginalization and deportations. While I imagined countries like Hungary were acting independently from overarching legislation like the Dublin Accords (III), I realized instead it was these very policies that permitted Hungary’s extreme admittance procedures and detention facilities. Although asylum policy is rooted in humanitarian ideals, I argue that EU asylum policies reinforce systems of incarceration through heightened surveillance, detention, and physical barriers to accessing asylum. The EU’s multi-state “shared” asylum policy exacerbates this situation through increased categorization and shifting border policies.

Panel 2 | Strategies for Promoting Rights in the U.S.: Social Movements and State Policies 

Social Media as a Tool for Social Mobilization: A Case Study of Black Lives Matter, Kendra Schultz

Presently, many social movements occur by way of social media. The integration of social media into social movements is changing the methods by which movement organizations mobilize and communicate. This project seeks to understand how social movement organizations are using social media platforms to mobilize, and how social media strategies contribute to engagement with a social movement. Using a singular in-depth case study, this paper explores Black Lives Matter’s social media output on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. This study provides insight into the output of Black Lives Matter, as well as the greater landscape of social movements through a breakdown of the effects on the Political Process Model (PPM). Ultimately, Black Lives Matter uses social media to initiate discourse and disseminate information rather than mobilize. Furthermore, a deeper analysis of the social media activity shows ambiguous implications for the Political Process Model. These findings can further guide our understanding of the future of social movements.

Measuring the Right to Food: A U.S. Policy Perspective – Samantha Night

The right to food is recognized by international law as a fundamental human right of all people. Three conditions must be met for the right to food to be realized; food must be available, accessible, and adequate. While food policy research in the United States has focused on specific elements of these conditions, the right to food has not been measured in a substantive and comprehensive way. This paper discusses the normative implications of the right to food in the United States and proposes a framework for operationalizing and measuring it domestically. Incorporating right to food principles into the development of U.S. food policy, particularly at the state and local levels, may address both structural and direct determinants of food insecurity and the prevalence of overweight and obesity. This paper takes the first step in a substantive right to food assessment of U.S. food policy by introducing an evaluation framework for use in future policy research and analysis.

The U Visa, Domestic Violence, and Law Enforcement Reporting – Kate Townsend

The U Visa allows undocumented survivors of certain violent crimes, one of which is domestic violence, a pathway to legal residence, and even citizenship, with certification that the survivor has cooperated with law enforcement. This research seeks to determine the degree to which the U Visa has had an impact on Latina survivors’ decision to report their domestic violence victimization to law enforcement, and for whom the effect was most relevant. I used difference-in-differences models to find that, with the establishment of the U Visa in 2000, there was only a statistically significant increase when controlling for the relationship with the abuser. With the implementation in 2007, there was actually a statistically significant decrease in the likelihood that a Latina survivor would report victimization from domestic violence to law enforcement.

Alumni Discussants

Menaka Nayar, Trinity11 and Law ’14, is an associate at Linklaters LLP in New York, where she is a member of the International Governance and Development and Dispute Resolution practices. Her practice focuses on advancing good governance across the private and public (development and humanitarian) sectors. Prior to joining Linklaters LLP, Menaka attended Duke University School of Law, where she graduated with a JD/LLM in International and Comparative Law; and Duke University, where she obtained a BA in Political Science. A classically trained dancer, Menaka was a member of Defining Movement – a multicultural dance group – throughout her Duke career.

Jessica So, Trinity ’10, is a human rights lawyer who has been living and working in Myanmar since 2014. At Yale Law School, she participated in the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, co-authoring a report with Human Rights Watch on anti-corruption efforts in Uganda, representing individuals incarcerated in administrative segregation, and carrying out research on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women’s protections for gender-based violence. Upon graduation in 2014, she was awarded a Robina Human Rights fellowship to do legal research with UNDP Myanmar. In her second year with UNDP, Jessica carried out a research study across three states in Myanmar that sought to better understand the ways people seek access to justice, including through informal pathways outside the formal legal system. Her research focused particularly on women’s experiences and the unique challenges they face in accessing justice. Jessica recently finished a short consultancy with the International Senior Lawyers Project and will begin several new projects, also based in Myanmar.

Jessica graduated from Duke with an A.B. in Political Science and a Certificate in the Study of Ethics. She also studied abroad in South Africa and China, traveled to Brazil to make a documentary film with Students of the World, and participated in Kenan’s first Alternative Spring Break trip to Molokai. After graduation, Jessica volunteered with an NGO that worked with refugees and asylum-seekers in Bangkok, Thailand.


Nov 072016
 November 7, 2016

How can Republicans and Democrats find more common ground in an increasingly polarized country?

From 12 to 3 p.m. April 7, John Hood, president of the right-leaning John Pope Foundation, and Leslie Winner, former executive with the left-leaning Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, will present on the changing political discourse and how citizens can work to bridge that divide. The event is sponsored by the Kenan Institute for Ethics along with The Center for Politics, Leadership, Innovation and Service and Sanford Policy Bridge.

The event is free and open to the public and will be held in the East Duke Building Pink Parlor. Refreshments will be provided.

Leslie Winner, a Democrat and former NC state senator, was the former executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and past recipient of the Governor’s Order of Long Leaf Pine award for outstanding service. John Hood, a Republican and founder of the John Locke Foundation, is president of the John William Pope Foundation and serves as a weekly panelist on the political talk show “NC SPIN.”

The two co-chair the North Carolina Leadership Forum (NCLF), which brings together NC civic, business, and political leaders from across the political spectrum to engage in thoughtful dialogue and attempt to find common ground on political issues.

Nov 062016
 November 6, 2016

This conference will provide a platform for field leaders from science and the humanities to discuss how to forward the empirical and philosophical investigation of the emotion disgust. In bringing together scholars from evolutionary anthropology, philosophy, and multiple areas of psychology, it will be possible to identify contributions each field can make to the others vis-à-vis the study of the basic nature of disgust, as well as the effects of disgust on psychiatric, public health, sociomoral, and political phenomena. Registration is free.

This event is hosted by the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and co-sponsored by the Kenan Institue for Ethics.

To register and for information, click here.

Thursday and Friday, April 6-7, 2017
Love Auditorium, Levine Science Research Center

Nov 052016
 November 5, 2016

What is the cost of learning for refugee youth? On April 5, scholar Gül İnanç will give context to the question as part of a talk hosted by the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 5, İnanç will present “Against All Odds: Access of Refugee Youth to Higher Education” in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke 101. The talk will focus on the current situation of refugees and their access to education in the Southeast Asia, where primary and secondary school attendance levels among transit migrants is very low and even lower for vocational and higher education attendance.

This creates a particular challenge, İnanç said, as those wishing to continue their formal education can neither afford it, nor be accepted as students into many higher education institutions due to their legal status.

As the founder of Open Universities for Refugees, Inanc works to support access of forcibly displaced people into higher education in the region and is working with the refugees in West Java and Kuala Lumpur partnering with the United Nations Refugee Agency. Additional efforts are being considered to Introduce new criteria for university ranking systems on the basis of ethics of global higher education and of humanitarian interference.

İnanç is a lecturer at Nanyang Technological University ‘s School of Art, Design and Media in Singapore. Her areas of interest and expertise include: modern diplomatic history of West Asia, history and intercultural education for peace. In 2004 she headed a team which re-wrote the history text book for high school education in North Cyprus. In 2007, she was the first Turkish scholar to teach simultaneously at the University of Cyprus and Eastern Mediterranean University.

Her current projects include creating student activity books, animated film and story books promoting global cultural heritage, deciphering the codes of contemporary religious art in the interfaith contexts, and working with UNESCO on writing teacher’s source books for ASEAN countries. She received the Koh Boon Hwee Scholar Award in 2016.