Nov 182015
 November 18, 2015

graham_johnDr. John Graham, Administrator at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget from 2001-2006, will be the 2015-16 George C. Lamb, Jr. Regulatory Fellow Practitioner at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. Throughout the year, he will come to campus to work closely with the Rethinking Regulation program’s faculty and student networks to share his experiences as a regulator.

Since 2008, Graham has been the dean of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in politics and economics at Wake Forest University, his Master of Arts in public policy at Duke University, and his PhD at Carnegie-Mellon. On December 11, he will be giving a lunch seminar as his first visit to Duke with a talk on “The Future of Shale Gas Development: The Role of Regulation.”

Nov 172015
 November 17, 2015

25 Nali-400On Fear, Violence, and Blame: The Effects of Last Week’s Attacks on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

By Nourhan Elsayed, Olivia Johnson, Josephine Ramseyer, and Maura Smyles

Fear has the power to influence conviction. In light of the attacks on humanity that occurred in Baghdad, Beirut, and Paris last week, it may even have the power to govern it. How we choose to let fear color our resolve will determine the effects of this violence—effects that extend far beyond death tolls. With the unveiling of one of the attackers as a Syrian who posed as a refugee when he entered the EU through Greece, we have a choice about what we will fear. We can choose to fear the possibility of future attacks, or we can choose to fear all Syrian refugees, or all refugees, or all Muslims, or all people who look like they could be Muslim, or all Arabs, or all people who look like they could be Arab. The distinction between these fears is one that goes unrecognized by many but has and will continue to have drastic consequences for the 59.5 million (recorded) displaced people worldwide.

The aftermath of tragedy is not the time to propel a particular agenda. Events such as these are often exploited as a means to a political end that capitalize on the relevance of collective trauma: the fear it inspires. We do not seek to point fingers at any particular politicians, political parties, or governments for the stances they have adopted since the attacks, although we certainly could. We do not seek to promote any particular policy reforms. What we do seek is to ensure that an already vulnerable population is not made more vulnerable or villainized as a result of this tragedy. Our concerns are multiple. The first is for those who are trapped within the borders of failing countries. The second is for those living in countries of asylum. The third is for those whose resettlement is underway, at whatever point in the process.

The implications of policies generated by the fear of attacks such as these have already begun to prevent people fleeing violence from gaining access to safety. Politicians across the Global North have called to increase security in order to deny Syrian refugees asylum, even though they are legally entitled to international protection under the 1951 Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees and according to the 2014 Berlin Conference Declaration on the Syrian Refugee Situation. As of Monday night, twenty-three U.S. governors said they will reject admittance of Syrian refugees to their states. These states include: Illinois, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, Iowa, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Arizona, Indiana, Massachusetts, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Alabama, Texas, Kansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Even though there is “no lawful means that permits a state government to dictate immigration policy,” the consequences of such rhetoric can lead to tightened or even closed national borders.

This will not only place an increased burden on Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan (the countries hosting the majority of Syrian refugees) but also on less-resourced European nations that are already dependent on their wealthier neighbors to share the responsibility of their asylum-seeker populations. This will also have severe consequences on the refugees themselves, who may have to resort to entering the EU illegally, remaining in nations that are ill-equipped to support them, or risking everything by returning to the danger that they fled in the first place.

For those who have reached countries of asylum, an increase in the generalized fear of refugees from Arab countries as a result of the attacks could negatively affect their safety and sense of wellbeing among host populations that view all refugees—regardless of nationality—as “other.” Even though Syrian refugees are fleeing the very forces that executed last week’s attacks, due to misplaced blame and heightened xenophobia in their host countries they are now in danger of being further marginalized. Sentiments such as these can result in decreased funding allocated toward camp welfare, food provisions, healthcare services, educational incentives, and housing subsidies within countries of asylum, can negatively impact the actual attainment of resettlement quotas in third countries, and hinder the livelihoods of refugees should they reach their final country of asylum.

The desire for safety from the daily realities of attacks such as those that occurred in Baghdad, Beirut, and Paris is what has driven millions of refugees to uproot their families and risk their lives on dangerous journeys to asylum. Regardless of messages that seek to shake our resolve, these people are not to be feared—they fear just as we do. In this time of universal healing, it is imperative that the world consider how refugees fit into the complicated fabric of the global recovery process, not as villains or victims or other, but as members of the international community reeling from last week’s collective loss.


Nov 132015
 November 13, 2015

Instagram ContestThe ‘What is Good Art’ competition and exhibition was begun as a means to explore how visual art and ethics are intertwined, in how we view things and how that effects us. The theme for What Is Good Art? 2015-16 is Ethics, Food, & Culture, and this fall a new component has been added. In addition to the spring art competition and exhibition, this fall Duke University undergraduate students can submit images and descriptions on on the theme via Instagram using #instawiga2015.

The submission judged to fit the theme best will earn the student a gift pack from downtown Durham’s Parker & Otis. Each entry will be reposted to the Kenan Instagram account (@kenanethics), and shared on the Kenan Facebook page. A special prize awaits the student whose entry gets the most favorites and likes on our accounts!

The deadline to insta your image and description is December 1st.

Nov 122015
 November 12, 2015

Brain and BodyApplications are being accepted now through December 10 for the Summer Seminars in Neuroscience and Philosophy (SSNAP), to be held at Duke University from May 22 to June 5, 2016. The SSNAP consist of two weeks of intensive training in philosophy and neuroscience with the aim of fostering collaboration between the two disciplines. A total of 20 positions are available: 10 for applicants from philosophy and 10 for applicants from neuroscience. Fellows will be encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams to develop a joint research project, with which they can apply for a sub-award of up to $30,000.

Generous funding from the Templeton Foundation allows each fellow travel expenses, room and board during the SSNAP, and an honorarium of $1500.  Applications should include a cover letter (up to 2 pages) describing the applicant’s background in neuroscience and philosophy and how the applicant plans to use the training in the SSNAP, a proposal for research (up to 2 pages) describing a big question that the applicant would be likely to focus on during the SSNAP and a proposed experiment or research project, a CV, a recent writing sample (preferably published), and at least 3 letters of recommendation (to be sent separately by the recommenders).

Please send all application materials to the project coordinator, Gregory Stewart, at Additional information can be found on the project website:
The deadline for applications is December 10, 2015. Fellows will be notified by January 10, 2016.

Duke University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer, and encourages applications from qualified female and minority candidates. We also encourage neuroscientists and philosophers to apply as interdisciplinary teams from the same or nearby institutions.

Nov 122015
 November 12, 2015

Reg-event-3-7The Duke University Climate Ethics and Economics workshop is accepting extended abstracts (500-1000 words), suitable for 30 min presentations. This workshop, co-sponsored by the Kenan Institute for Ethics, will be a chance to discuss new work in climate ethics and economics, and especially their intersection. A non-exhaustive list of potential topics follows:

– Measuring countries’ differentiated capabilities with regard to protecting the climate system

– The ethical aspects of discounting future costs and benefits, including declining discount rates.

– Valuation of non-human nature, the continued existence of human civilization, or futures containing very different amounts of people
– The relationship between non-consequentialist ethical approaches and economic analyses of climate change.

– The appropriate role of integrated assessment models (IAMs), and economic analysis generally, in setting climate change policy/communicating costs to the public

–  Measuring within-country vs between-country inequality in greenhouse gas emissions

Submit blinded abstracts via EasyChair:  by December 1. We aim to have pre-circulation of papers by Feb 15.

A parallel workshop will be held at Goethe-University Frankfurt on the same days, which we plan to link with via videoconferencing at certain points. Information on the Frankfurt workshop is available here: or contact Daniel Callies –

For questions about the Duke workshop, contact the lead organizer, Ewan Kingston:

Nov 122015
 November 12, 2015

20151112-Renda-CourseHas GoodWeave successfully eliminated child labor from the carpet industry? How well do the Forest Stewardship Council and the Marine Stewardship Council work to preserve the forest and marine stock?

Join Andrea Renda, the 2015-2016 George C. Lamb, Jr. Regulatory Fellow, to answer these questions and more in a new, one-time course that will take a global perspective on the ways private regulation and public policy interact.

Private regulation is emerging as a prominent form of rule-making at the global level. Firms engage in private regulation to manage common pool resources and global value chains, and to establish common, market-wide standards. These rules often have a greater market and societal impact than government regulation. However, they can also hide predominant private interests. At the intersection between law, economics and business strategy, the course analyzes the conditions private regulation must meet to be aligned with the public interest. Policy implications include the treatment of self- and co-regulatory schemes in regulatory impact analysis. This course will enable students to learn from the theoretical literature around private regulation while exploring practical implications through case studies of certification bodies like GlobalGAP and Utz, multinational corporations like Microsoft and Google, and non-profit organizations like ICANN.

Renda is a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), where he started and currently manages the CEPS Regulatory Affairs Programme. He also serves as Adjunct Professor at Luiss Guido Carli University in Rome, and has been a consultant for institutions including the European Commission, the European Parliament, the OECD and the World Bank.

ETHICS 390S-04: Private Regulation and Public Policy
MW 1:25PM – 2:40PM

Nov 032015
 November 3, 2015

KIELogo-gray400Five projects have been chosen for the Kenan Institute for Ethics’s collaborative scholarly projects in ethics grants, exploring issues ranging across developing economies, disaster recovery, moral decision-making, ecosystems in the Global South, and environmental justice. This new funding mechanism aims to ignite new inquiries in ethics broadly conceived and provide support for new faculty partnerships and collaborations across campus. The selected projects will build new constituencies and research communities, both internally at Duke and in the broader community, beginning with identified networks of Duke faculty and post-docs as well as graduate and undergraduate students.

“We are delighted by the range of participants – from five schools, four institutes, and fifteen departments – and how the projects further extend attention to ethics across the university and beyond its walls,” says Noah Pickus, Nannerl O. Keohane Director of KIE. “Some projects add new dimensions to areas we’ve been working in, others launch entirely new trajectories and still others bring together emerging areas of interest at Kenan and across the university.”

The selected projects and their faculty leadership are:

  • The Role of Markets in Ethical Global Development
    This project will initiate and develop a debate about the current iterations of market-based, capitalist, and growth-centered models for development in both the Global North and Global South.

  • Dimensions of Disaster: Decisions, Representations, Ethics
    This multi-site project will examine the ethical dimensions of mitigating the hazards and structuring the recovery of natural disasters across time, such as the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923 Tokyo, as well as more recent events like Hurricane Katrina and the 2011 earthquake in New Zealand.

  • Cross-Cultural Approaches to Moral Attitudes and Decision-Making
    This project will draw from Euro-American and Asian philosophical and religious traditions as well as cognitive psychology to address questions at the heart of human nature and its moral foundations, bridging not only philosophy and religion but also social and hard sciences.

  • Instituting the Ethics of Payments for Ecosystems Services: Alternative Discourses from the Global South
    This project will create dialogue around critiques of the existing economic model for Payments for ecosystem services (PES), which provide financial incentives to land owners to adapt more environmentally beneficial practices. Particular attention will be paid to who is privileged in this system and how the poor are disenfranchised.

  • Environmental Justice Community Building
    This project will inquire into the causes, consequences, and potential solutions for the inequitable distribution of environmental resources, burdens, externalities, and benefits amongs social groups.


Nov 032015
 November 3, 2015

Andrea Renda Dr. Andrea Renda is the 2015-2016 George C. Lamb, Jr. Regulatory Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), where he started and currently manages the CEPS Regulatory Affairs Programme.

What is the Centre for European Policy Studies and what kind of research were you involved in?

The Centre for European Policy Studies is one of the most highly reputed think tanks based in Brussels, active since 1983. I joined CEPS ten years ago to create a new unit dedicated to regulatory policy, which covers fields such as policy evaluation, competition, trade, innovation, consumer protection and many others. A few years ago I also founded the CEPS Digital Forum, which organizes seminars on all aspects of the digital economy, from privacy to cybersecurity and the future of manufacturing. CEPS is a truly European center, but it works also on global issues. It is also a very nice working environment, very flexible and at the same time intellectually open. Working there gives you a great visibility in Brussels: when I am there, I speak at three, four conferences a day! Fortunately, I am not there all the time: until this summer I have spent my life commuting almost every week between Rome, where I teach and where my family normally lives, and Brussels.

Why were you interested in the George C. Lamb Fellowship?

Duke has been a key resource for me since when I started working and researching on regulation. In particular, Jonathan Wiener and Matthew Adler have exerted a strong influence on my scholarly work. And over time, I have discovered many other brilliant academics that work here. One key feature of Duke’s Rethinking Regulation program that always fascinated me is that it is based at the Kenan Institute for Ethics: for a rather unconventional economist like me, passionate for the distributional and ethical impacts of regulation more than for economic efficiency, this is simply fantastic. So, when I decided that 2015 would be a good year for a breathe of fresh (academic) air, Duke was my first choice. The George C. Lamb Jr fellowship thus came as a perfect opportunity, and I am happy not to have missed it.

What are you most looking forward to during your time here at Duke?

Intellectual exchange, inspiration, and insights for my future research. I strongly believe that universities should be re-organized around grand societal challenges, rather than stick to their “silo” approach that tends to keep faculties isolated from each other. Today, in many universities, philosophers, political scientists, economists, lawyers and natural scientists do not talk to each other, and this, I believe, is detrimental to the quality of research since we live in an era in which all academic boundaries are being blurred, and reality goes so fast that only multi-disciplinary thinking can help us understand and digest drastic transitions. The Rethinking Regulation program at Duke represents a wide variety of experiences and academic backgrounds, which looks very promising to me. Think about the many dimensions of immigration, the implications of the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, and of course the great challenge posed by climate change and the future of employment. I expect a university like Duke to teach students how to address these problems from various angles, and still be able to find suitable policy avenues to solve them.

What have you enjoyed the most about Duke so far?

The faculty, the people from the Kenan Institute for Ethics where I am based, the seminars I have attended, and of course the students, who are the heart and soul of a university. I have met many smart and committed students, and it will be my pleasure to challenge them even further with my classes. Duke has what it takes to teach them to be intellectually ambitious: many of them will go far in their careers. I like almost everything about Duke, including the amazing university facilities and the passion for sports and for the Duke colors that you can breathe in the air: if there are negative aspects, I still have to find out! So far, the only thing I’ve noted (apart from troubles in finding a parking space!) is a certain sense of frustration, a sort of “Duke’s not Harvard” syndrome, which I don’t fully understand. Duke is already a top university: a stronger focus on inter-disciplinarity, disruptive thinking and comingling of natural and social sciences will make it even more prominent, and very different from Harvard.

And what have you enjoyed the most about Durham and the surroundings?

Well, the forest around Duke is great. And some of the restaurants in Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh are also good. Despite having lived in Rome for many years, I like many of the museums in Durham and Raleigh, especially since they are made to be attractive and informative also for kids: in Rome we have 30% of the world’s cultural endowment, but do not know how to avoid that kids find culture boring. Other than this, North Carolina is a great place for music, from bluegrass to jazz and the Piedmont blues. As a guitarist and singer/songwriter, I have enjoyed the music scene since the day I arrived here. And I was so lucky to find people to play with, right here at the Rethinking Regulation program: with a great band led by Wayne Norman, a professor of Ethics based at the Kenan Institute, we represented Duke at the Triangle Battle of the Bands this year, and even won an important prize! A big success, and an unexpected welcome to me and my guitar in this land of great musicians!

What will your research focus on while you are here, and what kind of work will you be doing with the Rethinking Regulation Network?

I will focus on many parallel streams of research, as I normally do. I will be writing and teaching about the interplay of private regulation with the public interest, which is the main subject of the seminar I will teach in the Spring term of 2016 (called “Private regulation from a public policy perspective”). I will continue my work on regulatory review, which led me to join a fantastic Bass Connections group coordinated by Elizabeth Brake in cooperation with Lori Bennear, Jonathan Wiener and Ed Balleisen. On this same issues, I am currently advising the European Commission, the OECD, and the governments of Thailand, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador. But I am also currently writing about innovation and entrepreneurship, on trade issues, on the future of Internet policy, and the application of antitrust law in the information age. And I am increasingly interested in sustainable development and the need to go beyond GDP in measuring the prosperity of nations: on this issue, I plan to contribute to the nascent debate on the need to incorporate income inequality and sustainable development goals in the day-to-day regulatory activity of governments. A big issue, but challenge worth the effort!

What is the class you will be teaching, and what is the focus?

Over the past decade I have developed an interest for the interplay between private regulators, like standards associations, sustainability reporting associations, etc. and public policy. For years I have heard governments and international organizations declaring that governments should give priorities to self-regulation and less burdensome ways of regulating markets, but I have never seen a solid, comprehensive framework for assessing when, and why, this would be the case in certain settings, and not in others. The result is that we ended up with markets collapsing because of too much delegation to private rulemaking, a good example being U.S. financial markets before the financial crisis. My seminar will aim at discussing the conditions under which private regulation can be considered as being in line with the public interest, and how to incorporate them into concrete guidance for policymakers. Of course, this is not all: students will be asked to pick a private regulatory organization and provide their assessment of its governance, internal structure, incentives, and ultimate economic, social, and environmental impacts. Up to me to provide the tools, up to them to surprise me with their findings. We will choose between a variety of cases, from ICANN (which regulates key aspects of the Internet) to the Forest and Marine Stewardship Councils, to IATA for air traffic, GlobalG.A.P. and Utz Certified for food, the international Standards Organization, the International Accounting Standards Board, and many more related to human rights, child labor, and other pressing societal issues. There is an ocean of private regulation out there, which is seldom explained during undergraduate years: Duke is an exception, since there are already faculty members at the Law School, Fuqua and Sanford, who did ground-breaking research on this issue.

What do you hope to gain or contribute during your time here?

At 43, I am now entering the core phase of my academic and intellectual trajectory. I am encouraged by what I have achieved so far, the feedback I have received from colleagues and students, but would like to reflect on the topics on which I should try to make a difference in the years to come. I don’t like working on research subjects for the pure satisfaction of my intellectual thirst. In the coming years, I want to be even more actively involved in the international debate over reforms that can lead to more sustainable development, and more quality in income distribution around the globe. I came to Duke for this reason: to take a deep breath, let this wonderful environment inspire me, and then dive into new adventures with renewed awareness. One virtue of the best academics I have met in my career was certainly curiosity and constant openness to new ideas, a vibrant, constructive sense of unrest. I am sure that interacting with the outstanding faculty of the Rethinking Regulation program will help me nurture my intellectual curiosity, and my understanding of global societal challenges for the years to come. In return, I hope to be able to contribute with both research and teaching, delivering seminars and create new links, for example a link between Duke and CEPS, but also links between Duke faculty members and research groups I believe can usefully cooperate with them.

And if all of this fails, well, I can still try to play some good tunes with my guitar, here at Duke!

Nov 032015
 November 3, 2015

InfluxUndergraduates involved in the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Refugee Project have launched a new weekly newsletter culling to-the-minute headlines as well as personal narratives of refugees from the Institute’s research archives. Titled Influx and described as a mix between the news aggregator The Skimm and the Humans of New York project, the newsletter is meant to be more personal and engaging than just a collection of news stories. This new endeavor is part of an ongoing Bass Connections project in Displacement, Resettlement, and Refugee Global Mental Health.

Register through their online signup form to receive the weekly emails and follow them on Facebook for more updates.

Oct 292015
 October 29, 2015

Ahmadieh-Noah-400In a ceremony on Wednesday, October 28, West Duke Building 101 was officially renamed the Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, thanks to the generous support of Aziz A. and Vahdat Ahmadieh. The Ahmadieh family have been attending events at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and around Duke for almost 20 years, and have chosen to support several areas around campus as a gesture of their strong relationship with Duke University.

A portrait of the couple is now on permanent display in the room, and the Institute would like to express its gratitude for the Ahmadieh family’s support and enthusiasm for our work.