In the depths of a cold winter on the Brandeis campus, there’s a lot of heat and light being generated by the undergraduates engaged in social justice projects through the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.

Tomorrow is the official launch of ‘DEIS Impact, the University’s “festival of social justice,” sponsored jointly by the Center and by the Brandeis Student Union. It’s the third iteration of this new Brandeis tradition, and it’s bigger and better than ever. Featured events include a keynote address by two of Nelson Mandela’s grandsons, a return visit to Brandeis by Sister Helen Prejean of “Dead Man Walking” fame, a program on “spirituality and the quest for justice” with dynamic musician and community organizer Jane Wilburn Sapp, and “Portraits of Purpose,” an exhibition of social justice giants with photos by Don West. And of course there are dozens of events organized by student clubs and organizations on the full range of social justice issues.

What’s great about ‘DEIS Impact is that it brings the full range of Brandeis resources to the university’s commitment to social justice: rigorous intellectual exploration, the creative power of the arts, the energy of community engagement, and the determination to be practical as well as visionary. Come join us.


This is also the season for the announcement of the new group of Sorensen Fellows, six undergraduate students who will venture forth in the summer of 2014 to work in NGOs around the world. They will return in the fall to reflect on and write about their experiences in an intensive course together.SF2014 Congratulations to the 2014 Sorensen Fellows: Ibrahima Diaboula ’16, Shimon Mazor ’16, Elad Mehl ’16, Ngobitak Ndiwane ’16, Sneha Walia ’15, and Shane Weitzman ’16. You can read about them and their summer projects here.


Also available now: the terrific publication by the 2013 Sorensen Fellows: Parallel Paths: Journeys, Explorations, and Reflections. It’s a moving set of accounts that are both personal and analytical, exploring the complexities of identity and purpose among young people pursuing social change. Check them out:

Parallel_Paths_2013_Sorensen_Fellowship_Cover• Through the Lens of Birth and Illness: Rediscovering My Native Country – Damiana Andonova ’15
• Deconstructing One’s Paper Identity – Cynthia Wangui Charchi ’14
• Fighting for Choice: Navigating the Streets and Politics of New York City – Hailey Magee ’15• Impressions of Talibés and Islamic Education in Senegal – Nelly Schläfereit ’15
• An Informal Image in Different Voices – Abie Troen ’14
• Reversal of Roles: Lessons Learned as a Teacher in Uganda – Hannah Young ’15


These passionate, thoughtful undergraduates do honor to the memory of Theodore C. (Ted) Sorensen, who inspired generations with his eloquent words, and who helped guide the Center through its formative years.