Apr 172014
 April 17, 2014

lauren-carrollThe winners of the 2014 Kenan Moral Purpose Award are Lauren Carroll, Trinity ’14 and Daniel Pigeon, UNC-CH ’15. The Kenan Moral Purpose Award is given for the best undergraduate student essay on the role a liberal arts education plays in students’ exploration of the personal and social purposes by which to orient their future and the intellectual, emotional, and moral commitments that make for a full life. Established in honor of the Institute’s 15th anniversary at Duke and subsequently expanded, the award represents a partnership with the Parr Center for Ethics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One winner from each school receives $1,000 annually.

Read their winning essays, “Split Loyalties” and “Mandatory Modesty.”

Apr 172014
 April 17, 2014

Teret-400On Wednesday, April 16, the Rethinking Regulation program at KIE and the Sanford School of Public Policy hosted Stephen Teret for a public talk titled “Regulating Safer Guns?” Teret is a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Law and the Public’s Health.

Teret pointed out recent research that gun fatalities are soon to overcome auto accidents as the main cause of death in the United States. While the auto industry has spent the past two decades introducing major safety innovations to auto manufacturing, there has been no movement by major gun manufacturers to implement designs to significantly decrease accidental gun deaths. Teret talked about “personal guns,” hand-held weapons that would employ smart technology to help ensure that only the registered owner could use the weapon. He also discussed various safety mechanisms that would make it harder for children to accidentally discharge firearms. Regarding regulatory efforts, Teret mentioned the continued need for multi-pronged efforts that include legislation as well as litigation, to make arms manufacturers accountable just as manufacturers in other industries are.

Apr 172014
 April 17, 2014

Bergstrom-400Trinity junior Jamie Bergstrom has been named a recipient of the Truman Scholarship. Bergstrom first came to KIE through the Focus program for first year students, and has been an integral part of the KIE student community through work with the MASTERY tutoring program for refugee youth, the inaugural DukeImmerse: Uprooted/Rerouted research team, and the Ethics Certificate Program. Bergstrom is a double major in International Comparative Studies (with a concentration in the Middle East) and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (with a concentration in Arabic).

As the living memorial to our thirty-third President, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation supports the graduate education and professional development of outstanding young people committed to public service leadership. Since its creation in 1975, the Foundation has supported almost 3,000 Truman Scholars who are making a difference in all corners of the nation and around the globe. Bergstrom is one of 59 scholars selected from 655 candidates this year. See the entire list at the Truman Scholarship Foundation site.

Apr 112014
 April 11, 2014

Lamb-FellowsThe Rethinking Regulation program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics will be hosting two new fellows in the 2014-2015 academic year. The fellowship is offered in collaboration with Duke’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and the Fuqua School of Business. In addition to pursuing their own research, Lamb Fellows will be expecting to participate in Rethinking Regulation seminars and workshops, and to help shape a significant collaborative research project along with other members of the Rethinking Regulation community. As part of that collaboration, Fellows will undertake some teaching responsibilities in Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and/or Fuqua School of Business – most likely c0-teaching an advanced research seminar focused on the subject matter of the collaborative research project, though other arrangements are possible.

Congratulations to the two candidates chosen to be the first George C. Lamb Regulator Fellows:

  • Jennifer Miller, PhD, is a bioethicist and current fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, where her work focuses on the bioethics of the bio-pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Miller will be in Durham for the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters. 
  • Umut Aydin, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile, where she specializes in competition policy. Professor Aydin will be joining us in Spring 2015.


Apr 102014
 April 10, 2014

2014WIGAEach year, Team Kenan organizes an annual undergraduate art competition and juried exhibition, “What Is Good Art?” This year’s theme encouraged artists to take a closer look at the everyday and the exceptional–and everywhere in between, to explore what is extraordinary. The judging panel consisted of Duke faculty and Kenan Institute administrators, as well as the Kenan Graduate Arts Fellow.

The winning entries are:

First Prize: Taylor Lu, Bees in a Hive
Second Prize: Michael Tauschinger-Dempsey, Fleeting Moments
Third Prize: Zhen Zhang, Letting Go
Gallery Choice: Pei Choong: Superhuman

The exhibition will remain on display in the first floor of the Allen Building (West Campus) throughout the remainder of the semester.

Apr 102014
 April 10, 2014


The student speaker at this year’s commencement ceremony will be Jennifer Sherman, the first female student to give the commencement address since 2000. Jenny is majoring in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Theater Studies. She is the co-director of KIE’s MASTERY program for resettled refugee youth in Durham, and has spent the last year engaging with field research with the Bass Connections team for Displacement, Resettlement, and Global Mental Health. Congratulations, Jenny!

Apr 092014
 April 9, 2014

Moral Purpose

Established in honor of the Institute’s 15th anniversary at Duke and subsequently expanded, the award represents a partnership with the Parr Center for Ethics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One winner from each school receives $1,000. This contest is open to all currently enrolled undergraduate students at both Duke and UNC.

Essays of between 500-800 words should address either or both of the following questions:

  • In what ways have your core beliefs and larger aims been tested, transformed, or confirmed during your time in college?
  • How have you had to defend or challenge prevailing ideas, social norms or institutions and what lessons have you learned from doing so?

The 2014 deadline is April 13. To submit an essay or for more information, please email Michaela Dwyer.

To view previous winning essays, visit the Moral Purpose Award page.

Mar 212014
 March 21, 2014

alex-kirshnerKIE Senior Fellow Alex Kirshner (political science) has recently published A Theory of Militant Democracy: The Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism, which considers how pro-democratic forces can safeguard representative government from anti-democratic groups. By granting rights of participation to groups that do not share democratic values, democracies may endanger the very rights they have granted; but denying these rights may also undermine democratic values. New and unstable regimes often confront this difficulty and those regimes frequently end up banning significant political parties and restricting participation.

The book looks at a number of real-world examples, ranging from the far-right British Nationalist Party to Turkey’s Islamist Welfare Party to America’s Democratic Party during Reconstruction. The book also considers the relationship of militant democracy to theories of democracy, free speech, judicial review, just war, and partisanship, among others topics. Kirshner’s publication is available at Amazon and Yale.

Mar 142014
 March 14, 2014

re1598809_helfer_stilliman_retouchedKIE Senior Fellow Laurence Helfer will teach a massively open online course (MOOC) on “International Human Rights Law: Prospects and Challenges.” beginning March 31. The MOOC, the first law course offered through Duke University’s two-year-old partnership with Coursera, will address topics including genocide and humanitarian intervention, the right to life and capital punishment, the right to health and HIV-AIDS, and counterterrorism and human rights.

Helfer, the Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law, is an expert in the areas of international law and institutions, international adjudication, human rights, and international intellectual property law and policy. He is co-director of Duke Law School’s Center for International and Comparative Law.

As with other MOOCs, Helfer’s Coursera offering is open to anyone. He believes this universal accessibility could be particularly meaningful in the dissemination of information about human rights.

“Human rights are universal,” Helfer said. “They belong to every individual in every country in the world. They can be a tremendous source of empowerment and a tool for advocacy for legal, political, and social change. At the same time, human rights are often violated, sometimes on a widespread scale.

Helfer said his course could be useful to a variety of potential audiences, including human rights advocates, undergraduates interested in law school, and practicing attorneys interested in learning more about international law.

For more information, see the Duke Law website.