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In this effort, the Institute collaborates with departments, professional schools and programs across the university to bring students and faculty together with authors and artists, philosophers and practitioners, and the ethical voices of our time.

Ethical Issue of the Month: 

A Powerful New Way to Edit DNA - A technique is stirring excitement while raising profound questions.


Featured in USC Dornsife News: Humanitarian Spring

USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics’ Lyn Boyd-Judson leads seven undergraduates to the University of Oxford for a five-day workshop on human rights and humanitarian action. More


Fall 2014 Training Sessions

Wednesday, September 3, 2014, THH 212 | 7-9 PM
Thursday, September 4, 2014, THH 108 | 4-6 PM

The Teaching Ethics Program (TEP) trains undergraduate volunteers each year to introduce competing ethical perspectives and lead ethics case study discussions in neighborhood high schools. Undergraduate students can participate in TEP as volunteers or for course credit (if enrolled in a participating TEP affiliated course).  Attend a 2-hour training session and join a team of three USC students to teach a series of four class sessions over four weeks.

For more information, click here

LEVAN-OXFORD WORKSHOP: The Ethics of Human Rights and Development in the Twenty-First Century City

September 7-14, 2014 | New York City, NY

In partnership with the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, Yale University, Quinnipiac University, and the UN Development Program, the USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics will run an intensive workshop in human rights and development. The academic component of the seminar will involve morning and afternoon sessions dedicated to a critical analysis of the field of development ethics, including: basic needs; capabilities and human development approaches; participatory planning and community action; deliberation and agency; the role of law, institutions and social movements; and global public health initiatives.

For more information, click here

What Matters to Me and Why with Jeremy Kagan

September 3, 2014, 12 PM | Ground Zero Cafe | Lunch Served

Co-Sponsored by the Office of Religous Life

Jeremy Kagan is a Professor in the School of Cinematic Arts and the founder of the Change Making Media Lab at USC.  An Emmy award winning director, writer and producer of feature films and television, he has been on the National Board of the Directors Guild of America and is Chairperson of its Special Projects Committee, which provides cultural and educational programs for its 15000 membeers.

What Matters to Me and Why is a program that encourages reflection about values, beliefs and motivations. It aims to help students and others better understand the lives and inspirations of those who shape the University.

VISION & VOICES: "The Amygdala and the Stethoscope: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine" - A Lecture by Danielle Ofri

Monday, September 22, 2014, Mayer Auditorium, USC Health Sciences Campus | 11:30 AM

USC Students, Staff and Faculty: To RSVP, click here.
General Public: To RSVP, click here.

Book signing and reception to follow.
Admission is free. Reservations requested.

As part of the Medical Humanities, Arts, and Ethics Series, which engages core health issues in society today, we will present an afternoon with essayist and physician Danielle Ofri. Renowned for her use of dramatic stories, Ofri will explore how emotions permeate clinical decisions and provoke physicians, despite their commitment to the scientific method, to act in ways that are not nearly as rational and evidence-based as they may think.

Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine, has her clinical home at Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the country. She writes about medicine and the patient-physician relationship for the New York Times and is the founder and editor in chief of the Bellevue Literary Review, the first literary journal to arise from a medical setting.

Ofri is the author of several books about the world of medicine, including What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine, Medicine in Translation: Journeys with My Patients, Incidental Findings: Lessons from My Patients in the Art of Medicine and Singular Intimacies: Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue. Her essays—which have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, and been heard on and National Public Radio—have been selected for Best American Essays (twice) and Best American Science Writing. Ofri is the recipient of the John P. McGovern Award from the American Medical Writers Association for “preeminent contributions to medical communication. More

Organized by Pamela Schaff (Pediatrics and Family Medicine), Lyn Boyd-Judson (Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics), and Alexander Capron (Law and Medicine).

Cosponsored by the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, Keck School of Medicine’s Program in Medical Humanities, Arts, and Ethics, and the USC Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics.



The Levan Fellows serve as ambassadors for the institute and work closely with Dr. Lyn Boyd-Judson, director of the Levan Institute, on designing and implementing mission-related projects. The program provides an interdisciplinary cohort-based experience that offers students the opportunity to integrate their academic interests with Dornsife programming and events.

For more information, click here

Carnegie Council International Student Photography Contest, 2014: Fairness and Its Opposite


Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs announces its second annual International Student Photography Contest. The contest is part of Ethics for a Connected World, a three-year global education project in celebration of the 2014 Carnegie Council Centennial.

In a world with huge gulfs of wealth and power, how do we ensure that everybody has access to opportunity? Carnegie Council believes that part of the answer lies in fairness—the means by which a society balances the rights and responsibilities of its citizens, toward each other and toward the state.

The contest will be conducted on Carnegie Council's Global Ethics Network, a social media platform for exploring the role of ethics in international relations. Check out last year's winners on the theme of Living with Differences and click here for details on how to participate.

PHOTO TOPIC: Fairness and Its Opposite

CONTEST DEADLINE: October 31, 2014

Levan Institute Work Study Position

Now Accepting Applicants

The Levan Institute is accepting undergraduate student applicants. If interested, please contact Janet Kramer.

Spring 2014 Levan Campus Grant Recipients


Grants are available to students, faculty, and staff across the College who need funds for activities that coincide with the Levan Institute's mission. Student groups and student-focused projects are given a strong first priority, as are collaborative efforts across departments and schools.

Juno Zhu, a Resident Assistant at Cardinal 'n' Gold apartments, created a mobile library for her residents. The library features books about the science of happiness and human behavior. Juno was inspired by USC Dornsife's course, The Science of Happiness.

Kendall Williams, a graduate of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and Assistant Director of USC Admissions, held a screening of Precious Knowledge at USC during EdMonth. The film documents the fight to keep the ethnic studies program within Arizona public schools. Kendall moderated a panel discussion following the screening.

Jackson Burgess with Fractal literary magazine, printed Fractal's third issue for public release. This will be the first edition in print form. Established in 2012, Fractalis a literary magazine founded and edited by students of the University of Southern California. Fractal publishes fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction and operates as a USC student organization.

Francesca Bessy with USC Stand: the anti-genocide coalition used a Levan Grant to rent on-campus space for the event "Your Voice, Your World: An Art and Student Speaker Initiative." The event featured performances and speakers on global activism. 

Sarah Urke and the Trojan Neurotrama Society hosted a lecture on the professional, social, and ethical considerations related to treating traumatic brain injuries. The event featured Dr. Stuart Swadron, Associate Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine and Assistant Dean for Pre-Health Undergraduate Studies. 

Alejandro Medina will create an English version of his website 100OJOS LATINOS to share with USC Students and Faculty. The website features Latin American photographers covering social, political, and environmental issues from the region. The English website will be unveiled in Fall 2014.

Learn more about Levan Campus Grants here