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2008-2009 Events

  • Global Environment, Ecology and Economy Leadership Forum

    Saturday, April 18, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

    Taper Hall Auditorium 101

    Co-sponsors: Focus the Nation, Americans for Informed Democracy, and USC Institute for Genetic Medicine.

    This day-long retreat brings students, activists, and government actors from across the region to discuss ways of promoting ecosystem resilience and community self-reliance that can be performed in individual communities. The forum will introduce students to a wide variety of topics connecting environmental realities with economic and political issues, identifying political consequences of inaction and options for action, and providing a forum for young leaders to engage with their elected representatives. The forum will consist of guest speakers, focused working groups, leadership workshops and a political forum with local, state, and federal politicians.

  • Marshall School of Business Faculty Workshop on Teaching Ethics

    June 10, 2009 9 AM - 1 PM

    Co-sponsor: USC Marshall School of Business


    The workshop, developed and ran by Paul Adler of the Marshall School of Business and Shlomo Sher of the Levan Institute, strives to help Marshall faculty bring ethics lessons and topics into business courses.  It does this by introducing faculty to a helpful model for thinking about ethical issues and effective ethical action, presenting strategies for overcoming obstacles to effective ethics discussions and moral actions, suggesting potential ways faculty can use to incorporate ethics into lesson plans, and highlighting the impact faculty support can have on student attitudes towards issues of ethical concern in their profession.

  • John Kamm: The Business of Human Rights - 20 Years of Dialogue with the Chinese Government

    Thursday, February 12, 4-5:30 p.m.

    Co-sponsor: USC U.S.-China Institute

    American businessman John Kamm has made more than 100 trips to Beijing to engage the Chinese government in a non-governmental dialogue on human rights, focusing on the treatment of prisoners and conditions in prisons. Kamm was awarded the Department of Commerce’s Best Global Practices Award by President Bill Clinton in 1997 and the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights by President George W. Bush in 2001. In September 2004, Kamm received a MacArthur Fellowship for "designing and implementing an original approach to freeing prisoners of conscience in China." Kamm is the first businessman to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.

  • "Persepolis": A Film By Marjane Sartrapi & Vincent Paronnaud

    "Persepolis": A Film By Marjane Sartrapi & Vincent Paronnaud

    Tuesday, March 24, 6-8:30 p.m.
    Taper Hall 201

    Co-sponsors: Middle East Studies, USC College Department of Comparative Literature, Thematic Option, USC Comic Book Club

    Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, Best Foreign Independent Film (BIFA) and Academy Award Nominee for Best Animated Feature. "Persepolis" is a wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely intertwined with the history of her country. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, "Persepolis" is at once a story of growing up and a stunning reminder of the human cost of war and political repression.

    Followed by presentation and Q & A with Firoozeh Dumas, best-selling author of Funny in Farsi (in development for  an ABC series) and Laughing Without an Accent.

    These days, mentioning "Iran" conjures many images. Humor is not one of them. Firoozeh Dumas is trying to change this. In 2003, Firoozeh's bestselling first book, Funny in Farsi, was published to glowing reviews and found a fan base among readers of all backgrounds.  Funny in Farsi was a finalist for the Thurber Prize in American Humor. She lost to Jon Stewart. Firoozeh's father still feels that she should have won. ABC is currently shooting a pilot based on her stories.

    Firoozeh's newest collection of stories, Laughing Without an Accent, was published in 2008. Once more, Firoozeh shows us that our commonalities far outweigh our differences, and she does so with humor. You may have heard Firoozeh on NPR or read one of her pieces in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal or various magazines.

  • Levan Coffeehouse Conversations on Practical Ethics: FUTURE AND DISTANT PEOPLE

    Friday, April 24, Noon - 1:30 p.m.
    Ground Zero Café

    Do we have any moral obligations to distant or future people?

    You'd lay down your life to save your mom, or your little sister. If they were starving, or being poisoned to death, you'd move heaven and earth to help them. Every minute of every day, innocent mothers and little girls across the globe are dying of starvation or toxic pollution. More will die in the next generation. What makes them different from your mom or your little sister? Are they too far away? Is the problem that you cannot see or imagine them? Is it that your moral responsibility extends only to your genetic tribe or regional population or nation?

    It's so easy these days to harm others without knowing we are doing it. What you eat, what you buy, what you drive profoundly affects the life prospects of other people. Are you responsible for the well-being of people you've never met on the other side of the globe? What about for the future generations who will inherit our planet someday? If so, what are you morally obligated to do (to sacrifice?) for their sake?

    How do we behave ethically in such an interconnected world?

    Moderator: Sharon Lloyd, Professor of Philosophy, Law, and Political Science, USC College

    Guest Panelists:Gary Watson, - Provost Professor of Philosophy and Law, USC College; Carl F. Cranor, - Professor of Philosophy, UC Riverside; 
    Francesco Denakar - Inquisitive undergraduate and Senior majoring in Biomedical Engineering

  • Levan Coffeehouse Conversations on Practical Ethics: GOOGLING HUMAN RIGHTS

    Friday, March 27, Noon - 1:30 p.m.
    Ground Zero Café

    Do global information gatekeepers like Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google have a responsibility to protect and promote human rights?

    International companies have to play by the legal rules of the countries where they do business. But what if playing by those rules means that companies are helping repressive governments to control their citizens? Of course, these cyber-giants are businesses after all, not political activists. Yet as our global information gatekeepers, these companies play an undeniably central role in affecting how internet users view the world and their freedom to connect with others. Does that special role come with the responsibility to ensure that their services are used to promote, or at least not curtail, human rights? And what about your responsibilities as a user? If a search engine company is an accomplice to human right suppression, are you an accomplice yourself if you knowingly support it as a user? What can you do-- - boycott?  Seriously, how could we live without Google? Does morality require that much of us?

    Moderator: Sharon Lloyd, Professor of Philosophy, Law, and Political Science, USC College

    Guest Panelists: Steve Lamy, Vice Dean of USC College / Professor of International Relations; Scott Voelz, Attorney at Law, O'Melveny & Myers, LLPlp (Partner); Chelsea Mason, Co-Managing Editor of US-China Today; Business Ethics Student Representatives, USC Marshall School of Business

  • Levan Coffeehouse Conversations on Practical Ethics: SELLING HUMAN ORGANS

    Friday, Feb. 27, Noon - 1:30 p.m.(Ground Zero Café)

    Should we create some sort of an international legal system to sell and buy human organs? Or is any such system fundamentally unethical?

    Desperately need some money? Sell yourself. Blood, sperm, eggs--why not a kidney? It's yours after all! Shouldn't you have the right to sell your organs? In the U.S. alone, more than 77,000 people are on the waiting list for kidney transplants. Many of them will die because the organ they need is not available. Shouldn't they have the right to purchase these organs from those willing to part with them for monetary compensation? Or is there something fundamentally immoral about treating our body parts as commodities to be bought and sold? Would a market in body organs result in the unfair exploitation of poor people who have little else to sell? Or could we devise an international legal system that precludes exploitation? Come share your opinion, and maybe change your mind.

    Moderator: Dallas Willard, Professor of Philosophy, USC College

    Guest Panelists: Michael Shapiro, Dorothy W. Nelson Professor of Law, The USC Law School; Sharon Lloyd, Professor of Philosophy, Law, and Political Science, USC College; Christina Yen, Health and Humanity Major (Pre-Med), USC College