Feb 212018
 February 21, 2018  Comments Off on 2018 Kenan Moral Purpose Award – call for submissions

moral purpose
The call for submissions to the 2018 Kenan Moral Purpose Award essay competition is now open, with a deadline of midnight on Monday, March 19. 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.

More information and submission instructions here: http://kenan.ethics.duke.edu/students/kenan-moral-purpose-award/

Sep 052017
 September 5, 2017  Comments Off on At Kenan, Ben Ehrenreich talks ethics of storytelling in contested terrain

The Kenan Institute for Ethics hosted award-winning journalist and novelist Ben Ehrenreich Sept. 4, who spoke to a crowd of students, faculty, staff and community members to share insight on the ethics of telling stories in contested terrain.

Ehrenreich, who has written for New York Times Magazine, London Review of Books, Harper’s Magazine and more, reflected on his reporting for his most recent book, “The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine,” and read selections to the audience. In his reporting for the book, Ehrenreich traveled to and lived in the West Bank, staying with Palestinian families in its largest cities and its smallest villages.

“As humans, all we have useable to us is highly contested terrain,” he said. “There is no other kind.”

Throughout his time there, Ehrenreich said he worked to find stories to highlight aspects of truth and humanity, and found the idea of contested terrain in Israel and Palestine as a theme that can be seen all over the world, accented by centuries of fighting and disagreement, from displacement of Native Americans to wars of Europe.

“When we talk about contested terrain, we’re also of course talking about histories,” he said. “Histories that remain alive in us, that shape our choices, our perceptions, our possibilities, our visions for the future.”

Aug 282017
 August 28, 2017  Comments Off on Colombian surgeon and contemporary artist Libia Posada to visit Duke, Durham

Libia Posada’s art exhibit in Duke’s Friedl Building will remain on display until Sept. 20.

With support provided by the Katz Family Women, Ethics and Leadership Fund, the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Global Health Institute, and the Artist Studio Project will host Dr. Libia Posada Aug. 31 to Sept. 16. Posada, a Katz Family Fellow, will spend her time on campus and in Durham leading workshops and presentations with students, faculty and community members that deal with migration and trauma, and how she connects art and medicine.

Posada will also showcase an art installation, “BE PATIENT | SE PACIENTE,” comprised of materials collected from Duke’s Medical Surplus Warehouse and Posada’s own work. The installation can be viewed from Aug. 28 through Sept. 20 at the Fredric Jameson Gallery in the Friedl Building on East Campus.

Programming and events during Posada’s stay include:

Sept. 1 to 6

Posada will collaborate with local non-profit El Centro Hispano, which advocates for equity and inclusion for Hispanics/Latinos in the Triangle. She will develop a focus-group workshop on migration, body and geography based on her 2008 artwork “Cardinal Signs (Body Maps),” which mapped the journey of forced displayed Colombians who fled war in their country with ink drawings on their legs. In Durham, Posada will work with a group of Central American migrants to share their stories of coming to the U.S. and detail the process physically by drawing maps of their travel on their bodies as a way to represent the physical toll of the experience.

Sept. 11 to 14

At Duke, Posada will visit classes to present to students, faculty and staff on her work dealing with partner violence and sexual violence. The visits are in coordination with the, Duke Global Health Institute, and Social Practice Lab. Posada will lead short workshop discussions on the topics from a medical, cultural, and social perspective, noting the phenomenon of infectious disease, violence, and trauma. Participants will produce text and image-based art based on the discussions.

Sept. 15 and 16

Posada will participate in the Franklin Humanities Institute’s Health Humanities Conference, “Breath, Body, Voice.” She will co-lead a workshop on her unique medical/artistic practice that links research, action, and creation with communities in Colombia and Durham. Her art exhibit and reception will be held 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Fredric Jameson Gallery at 115 Friedl Building on Duke’s East Campus.

Learn more about Libia Posada in this video:

Jul 312017
 July 31, 2017  Comments Off on New research on refugee children stems from Kenan DukeEngage: Dublin program

In newly published research in the July 2017 issue of Child Care in Practice, student Louden Richason uses interviews and insight gained through the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ DukeEngage: Dublin program to analyze child protection services for refugees in Ireland.

Richason, who traveled with Kenan to Dublin in 2016 for field research and internship opportunities with TUSLA Family and Child Agency for Separated Children Seeking Asylum, performed extensive interviews with social workers, children and reviewed existing work. “The experience sparked my passion for working with refugees and interest in humanitarian governance and refugee law and policy,” said Richason, a rising junior.

Richason’s paper adds to a limited amount of research focused on best practices for separated children in international settings and finds that Ireland’s example of child services maximizes continuity and support since responding to unhealthy and threatening living arrangements for separated children in the early 2000s.

Because children seeking refuge in foreign countries often end up marginalized and isolated, Richason noted that his paper has potential to spur additional research for other countries as refugee numbers continue to climb globally. The United Nations Refugee Agency counts 22.5 million refugees around the world, over half of whom are under 18 years old. In Ireland specifically, 585 separated children sought asylum between 2010 and 2015, with 518 under 18.

“Given that the number of separated children has been on the rise in Europe since 2010, it is especially important to find sustainable solutions for these children to ensure they can grow up in stable, nurturing environments,” Richason writes in his findings.

From June to August 2016, Richason collected information through observation, interviews and research as part of his stay in Dublin during Kenan’s DukeEngage program. In his paper, he identified 10 areas of analysis that impact an asylum-seeking child’s experience and the approach of Ireland’s Social Work Team for Separated Children Seeking Asylum:

  • Meeting immediate needs during intake
  • Inclusive needs assessment to determine future course of action
  • Family reunification and challenges in DNA testing
  • Age assessments
  • Beginning the asylum process
  • Guiding children after placement in supported, foster or residential living situations
  • Providing an outlet for concerns from the child
  • Aftercare and community support
  • Resource allocation
  • Discretion among social workers

“It’s my hope that the paper can contribute to a more coordinated, equitable response to the refugee crisis in Europe and elsewhere,” Richason said. “Separated children seeking asylum are an incredibly vulnerable group and deserve a safe, nurturing environment to grow and develop.”

Click here to for an abstract and access to Richason’s paper, “Social work for separated children seeking asylum in the Republic of Ireland: setting the standard for child-centred care and protection.”

Jul 292017
 July 29, 2017  Comments Off on Duke alum profile spotlights Kenan’s influence on career path

In a new profile on the Duke Global Health Institute website, former Kenan Institute for Ethics student Leena El-Sadek ’15 is highlighted for her work combining justice and global health, partially inspired by her time in programs at Kenan.

El-Sadek is an alumna of Kenan’s DukeImmerse: Uprooted/Rerouted, the Institute’s co-founded Supporting Women’s Action program, and is a former Bass Connections team member, in which she studied how the resettlement process affects the mental health and well-being of refugees.

“We used life story interviews to understand the effects of forced displacement on health outcomes,” El-Sadek said. “Each country incorporated refugees in their society in a unique way, and I found it fascinating how the differences among the country’s policies and laws could result in completely different experiences.”

El-Sadek now works as a research analyst at RTI International in the Drug, Violence, and Delinquency Prevention program.

Read the full profile here.

Jul 272017
 July 27, 2017  Comments Off on Two students from Kenan Refugee Project present research in Greece

Two rising Duke seniors who were founding members of the Kenan Refugee Project recently presented research to a network of academics and practitioners in Greece as part of the inaugural interdisciplinary conference, Building Bridges in a Complex World.

Maha Ahmed and Maura Smyles worked for three years researching global displacement and interacting with Syrian and Iraqi refugees with findings reported in their paper, “Temporal Experiences as a Force of Oppression: A Case Study of Syrian and Iraqi Refugees in Jordan.” The conference, they said, acted as a culmination of data collected with the help of the Kenan Institute and programs like the Refugee Project and DukeImmerse. The Institute also provided assistance for Ahmed and Smyles to travel to the conference.

“We had the incredible opportunity to not only share our own work, but also learn from and network with many scholars and activists from around the world,” said Ahmed, who has helped grow the Kenan Refugee Project, a community-based research and advocacy effort. “Learning about their incredible work on social justice and human rights issues was both intellectually stimulating and incredibly inspiring for us as first time conference-goers.”

At Building Bridges, Ahmed and Smyles spoke to attendees about findings from their paper, which included 81 interviews between 2014 and 2016 with refugees living in Amman, Jordan. Each interview subject described a typical day, and responses were recorded and coded for references to the passing of time. Ahmed and Smyles found that refugees awaiting resettlement perceived time to be a source of oppression that creates a sense of powerlessness over their daily reality and imagined future.

“We illustrate that the indeterminacy of the resettlement process, which is entirely at the discretion of humanitarian organizations, is oppressive and contributes to an unequal power dynamic between each individual refugee and the humanitarian institution,” they write in the paper.

Ahmed and Smyles noted that their findings add to other financial and cultural capital imbalances between refugees and organizations meant to help them, concluding that policy reforms are needed to reduce the negative impact forced displacement has on the lives of refugees.

Jul 062017
 July 6, 2017  Comments Off on Annual grades are changing how countries consider human trafficking policies

Government officials might take a lesson from their schooldays as a way to enact change around the world, according to an approach known as “Scorecard Diplomacy.”

Research by Judith Kelley, a Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, shows that governments may act like boastful parents placing a report card on the fridge to highlight good grades issued by the U.S. State Department in the area of human trafficking. Conversely, low scores from America’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report can cause embarrassment, forcing some countries to reconsider their efforts in combating forced labor and sexual exploitation. The work provides an important look at aspects of policy and human rights, two programmatic areas of research at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

“Every single country reacts every single year,” said Kelley, who serves as Senior Associate Dean at the Sanford School of Public Policy and Terry Sanford Professor of Public Policy and Political Science. “Nobody just lets this go by.”

Of particular note in 2017’s report is the downgrade of China to the lowest tier – Tier 3 – which is reserved for countries that aren’t showing signs or effort or progress. China is now lumped with the likes of Syria, Iran and North Korea.

“Dropping China pushes back against criticism from last year’s report that the U.S. was too lenient on them,” Kelley explained. “But you can also read into it that the administration clearly wants to take a strong stand on China to highlight a number of issues and maybe get China to act on issues related to North Korea.”

To understand the political impact of the human trafficking report, Kelley spent six years creating a global survey of NGOs, and examining case studies, diplomatic cables, media stories, interviews, and other documents. Her findings led her to realize that countries rated poorly by the State Department often fear sanctions by the U.S. or an impact on tourism.

“What countries are really concerned about is their image and reputation,” Kelley said. “They don’t like being stigmatized in this way and grouped with others they consider poor peers.”

In 2009, for example, Kelley notes that Israel worked to focus on human trafficking after being tiered with countries like Afghanistan, Jordan and Botswana.

The international relations implications led Kelley to publish this spring the book “Scorecard Diplomacy: Grading State to Influence Their Reputation and Behavior” and added to the idea in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post explaining why the annual human trafficking report matters.

The aftermath of the annual report is part of a larger discussion around human rights, Kelley said, as human trafficking worsens around the world, especially in places like Libya and in Africa. According to estimates from the International Labour Organization (ILO), almost 21 million people are victims of forced labor, a number which has grown considerably since the ILO’s 2005 estimate of 12.3 million.

“The influence of the report has come a long way as we demand more evidence and data-based information,” Kelley said. “There’s great overlap from a policy perspective combining human rights with global governance.”

Read more about Kelley’s research on the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog and in her book, Scorecard Diplomacy.

Jun 202017
 June 20, 2017  Comments Off on Kenan opens ethics library in West Duke Building

The Kenan Institute for Ethics has opened a new library space as a resource for the Duke community.

Found in 102 West Duke Building, the library features more than 900 works of fiction and non-fiction, including published selections from all faculty affiliated with Kenan, selections from staff Ethics Books Clubs from across campus, as well as other scholars and writers. The library is named in honor of Robert and Sara Pickus, the parents of Noah Pickus, who served as Kenan’s director from 2007 to 2017.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to come by the Institute and visit the library. Beginning in the fall semester, books can be checked out by Duke community members. A searchable list of books can be found on the library’s webpage.

Along with books written by faculty, the library also includes a collection of books published as the capstone project for Kenan’s Ethics Certificate Program. The most recent release, “Gross! Ethical Issues Surrounding Disgust,” included chapters written by nine students and co-edited by Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and recent graduate Sophie Katz. Previous Ethics Certificate publications explored drugs and addiction, crime and punishment, war and terrorism, and moral and political disagreement.

Have an ethics-focused non-fiction or fiction book you’d like to recommend for the library? Email kie@duke.edu.



Jun 162017
 June 16, 2017  Comments Off on Citizenship Lab students advocate for increased shelter, seating at Durham bus stops

Two Duke students who participated in the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Citizenship Lab have used their experience interacting with local refugee youth to advocate for better infrastructure as part of Durham’s public transportation system.

The Durham Herald-Sun published June 15 an op-ed from Snehan Sharma and Olivia Simpson in which the students note that many Durham bus stops lack shelter, seating or sidewalks, creating hardships for community members who regularly rely on buses to travel around the city. Sharma, Simpson and other students who paired academic research with real-world practice through Kenan’s Citizenship Lab, organized through Bass Connections, rode buses with Durham high school students from refugee backgrounds, interviewed passengers and evaluated the safety of stops.

In an op-ed for the Durham Herald-Sun, students Snehan Sharma and Olivia Simpson advocate for improved infrastructure for Durham’s bus riders, including more seating and shelter.

“The six million people who use GoDurham transit annually are relying on buses to get to work, buy groceries, visit clinics and so on,” Sharma and Simpson write. “As long-time residents are priced farther and farther out of the city’s core, it’s vital not only that we continue to invest in transit but that we ensure our investments reflect the interests of everyone.”

In recent years, more than 2,500 refugees have resettled in the Triangle from countries like Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan. To explore challenges faced by these new residents and enhance refugee civic participation, the Citizenship Lab has connected Duke students with high school-aged youth to understand the connections between social science research engagement and citizenship.

In their piece, Sharma and Simpson encouraged Durham leaders to provide an more direct method for residents to share concerns about public transportation and lobby for transit improvements.

“Listening to stakeholders reminds us that strategic responsiveness to downtown development while ignoring longtime riders in other places is short-sighted,” they write. “Stakeholders also remind us that it is creative problem-solving that is truly needed, not another recitation of the reasons why improvements can’t be made.”

Read the full op-ed on the Herald-Sun website and watch the video below for more insight on Kenan’s Citizenship Lab.

May 052017
 May 5, 2017  Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on One-of-a-kind field research culminates seniors’ four years with Kenan

“What in the world are we doing here?”

Lily Doron remembers thinking those words after a near 15-hour travel day in July 2016 after she and classmate Olivia Johnson arrived in Athens, Greece. The Duke undergraduates were about to start a six-week project to travel the Balkan route, interacting with refugees in transit along a 1,500-mile trip that stretches across a collection of European countries.

Olivia Johnson, left, and Lily Doron, right, at the gallery opening of their “Seeking Refuge” capstone exhibit, on display in the Keohane-Kenan Gallery.

The answer was straight forward, but the reality of how the pair got to that starting point was still a bit incredible to them. With support from the Kenan Institute for Ethics to make the journey happen, the two then-rising seniors were about to begin a life-changing academic experience.

“We wanted to better understand the dehumanization of these people,” Doron said. “How does a person turn into a number?”

To find out, Doron and Johnson interviewed about 20 people in six countries during their trip, stopping between Greece and Germany to meet refugees from Mali, Afghanistan, Iraq and more. As one of their defining experiences at Duke, the time spent abroad acted as a source of inspiration for a senior capstone project, an audio-visual exhibit displayed in the Keohane-Kenan Gallery in West Duke. The project includes several recorded interviews and written stories of refugees like Amir, an Afghan translator who worked for the U.S. Army, but was denied a Special Immigration Visa to move to America. He fled his home country after being kidnapped and freed by the Taliban.

Both Doron and Johnson were inspired by participating in Kenan programs that focused on educating about migration and displaced people, including DukeImmerse, Focus and Bass Connections. Doron incorporated ethics classes into a personalized major that included documentary studies, while Johnson earned an Ethics Certificate. Both said Kenan faculty and staff – notably director Suzanne Shanahan – shaped their interests and they saw the opportunity for field research as a chance to put learning to practice.

“Everything felt connected,” Johnson said. “Our project felt like a culmination of all our work.”

A refugee walks back to Moria, a closed refugee camp on Lesvos. The image was one of many captured as part of the “Seeking Refuge” exhibit.

“Seeking Refuge: Stories of Resilience Along the Balkan Route” debuted in April, bringing to campus the voices and experiences from Doron and Johnson’s 2016 trip. The people they met during their research varied from connections made through local NGOs and random encounters while visiting cities in Serbia, Hungary, Macedonia and more.

“The community that we’ve fit into at Kenan has helped us personally and academically,” Doron said. “Developing trust and mutual respect to do this kind of senior project is a testament to how much time we spent at Kenan.”

Johnson said she felt the same way.

“The most incredible opportunities I’ve had at Duke have been at Kenan, whether here or abroad,” she said. “We were learning so much, but if we didn’t have Kenan’s support, we would have never been able to make this kind of project happen.”