Focus: Ethics, Leadership & Global Citizenship

At the core of current debates surrounding global citizenship are questions about which communities we belong to, what values we ought to uphold, how we should exercise our political and civic rights, and to whom we are responsible and why. But what does it mean to be a “global citizen” or a citizen of a global era? How does it affect the everyday lives of individuals, organizations, and governments?

The goals of this Focus Program cluster are for participants to develop a critical yet actionable understanding of the concept of “citizenship”—its historical origins, ethical implications, and contemporary global challenges—for both individuals and institutions and to develop the crucial tools of moral dialogue necessary for lifelong engagement as thoughtful citizens and ethical leaders.

Bringing together a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, the cluster will address a key set of questions: What sorts of meaningful democratic participation are possible in a world of globalized capital and economic power? How are the rights and responsibilities of citizens changing? How are forces of cosmopolitanism impacting local, regional, and national identities? How do concepts of democratic citizenship inform and shape the conflicts between national, regional, and global forms of governance? Students will analyze these questions through the lenses of the current immigration debate, refugee law and policy, programs of corporate responsibility, and the rise of new forms of global governance.

This Focus cluster seeks to build a sustainable community of students engaged in ethical inquiry, and participants will have access to supplemental civic engagement and research opportunities offered through the Kenan Institute for Ethics. During the fall semester, students will have the chance to engage with visiting speakers and community leaders as well as to participate in field trips. In addition, students will be welcomed into the Institute’s student community, which presents opportunities to interact with other engaged students, use the Institute’s communal spaces, and stay abreast of additional Institute programs, including DukeEngage DublinMASTERY refugee tutoring, SuWA, and various research teams, including Bass Connections projects.

Application Procedure
The Focus Program selects students by online application only and accepts on average 32 students per cluster. To learn more about the Focus program in general, or to apply to the Ethics, Leadership, & Global Citizenship cluster, visit the Focus Program website.


Ethics 194FS/ Philosophy 194FS: Beyond Disagreement and Cozy Consensus (CZ, SS, CCI, EI)

Instructor: Wayne Norman, Mike and Ruth Mackowski Professor of Ethics in the Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Department of Philosophy at Duke University

This course is an introduction to tools and concepts in ethics, critical reasoning, politics, and psychology. Emphasis on identifying and framing the right questions about justice, democracy, identity, etc; then criticizing or justifying answers to such questions. Readings range from classics in the history of Western thought, to country & western music, and Kanye West.

Ethics 160FS/History 127FS/Public Policy 187FS/Economics 122FS: Globalization and Corporate Citizenship (EI, SS)

Instructor: Dirk Philipsen
Senior Research Scholar and Senior Fellow, Kenan Institute for Ethics

Are corporations citizens?  And if so who defines their rights and responsibilities?  To whom are they obligated? This course will critically examine the origins and diffusion of increasingly prevalent notions of corporate citizenship and corporate social responsibility from an anthropological perspective.  Particular emphasis will be upon corporate environmental and conservation policies in East Africa and the United States. 

Ethics 129FS/International Comparative Studies 128FS/ Political Science 176FS: Human Rights & World Politics (EI, SS)

Instructor: Suzanne Katzenstein
Research Scholar, Kenan Institute for Ethics

This course examines the role of human rights and global justice in world politics. It seeks to understand how and why the human rights regime was created, how human rights standards and notions of global justice have evolved, and the role of advocacy organizations in promoting human rights at both the domestic and international levels. We will consider questions such as whether human right are universal, what role human rights and global justice should be play in U.S. foreign policy, which strategies are most effective in promoting human rights and global justice, and which risk inciting backlash. The course will cover topics including civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; genocide, torture, business and human rights, conflict diamonds and university investment, humanitarian intervention, and the international criminal court. It will use a range of materials, including scholarly books and articles, case studies, NGO reports and films. 

Sociology 178FS/Ethics 199FS: Refugees, Rights and Resettlement (CCI, EI,SS)

Instructor: Suzanne Shanahan
Associate Director, Kenan Institute for Ethics
Associate Research Professor, Sociology

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees there are approximately 35 million refugees and internally displaced persons in the world today.  This course provides a comparative historical overview of international refugee policy and law dealing with this ever growing population.  Through a series of case studies students will grapple with the ethical challenges posed by humanitarian intervention on behalf of refugees and the often unintended consequences of such policies.  How do the different models for dealing with refugee resettlement affect the life chances of refugees? This is a service learning course where students will work with refugees from Bhutan, Burma and Iraq recently resettled in Durham.