5 Thought-Provoking Quotes from Inspiring Ethics Center Guests

April 25th, 2014

1. Eliza Dushku, actress and a social activist gave the Keynote Address: “Uganda By Way of Boston and Hollywood: A Social Justice Journey” at the 2013 ‘DEIS Impact “festival of social justice” together with her mother, Judith Dushku.


“The running joke in our family is that when other kids and families were going to Cancun or Hawaii for Spring break, our mother was bringing us somewhere where there had just been a revolution, there was about to be a revolution, or where she was going to start one.”
Full video. 


2. Dr. Patricia Hill Collins ’69, PhD ’84, is a Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at University of Maryland, College Park. She obtained her bachelor’s degree and completed doctorate at Brandeis. In October Dr. Collins received the fifth annual Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize, which recognizes outstanding and lasting scholarly contributions to racial, ethnic and/or religious relations. (The Gittler Prize is hosted by the Ethics Center on behalf of the Office of the President.) Her prize lecture was titled “With My Mind Set on Freedom: Black Feminism, Intersectionality and Social Justice.”


“Intersectionality as a knowledge project that is committed to social justice finds itself pinioned between the rock of taking on intellectual and political agendas that ironically limit its emancipatory potential, and the hard place of seeing the tremendous human need for an analytical framework that can engage social injustices.”
Full video of her lecture and an interview hereExcerpt from transcript (see page 5).


3. Ruth Messinger, President of American Jewish World Service, delivered the keynote address at the inaugural ‘DEIS Impact “festival of social justice” in 2012, centering on the importance of local action as a crucial foundation for global results.


“And as much as I want many of you to go into international work, and as much as I hope that someplace in this audience is the future Secretary of State or future head of the Agency for International Development, I want to remind you that Westerners do not have all the answers.” Excerpt from transcript (see page 5).

4.  Dr. Salomón Lerner Febres, Rector Emeritus of Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and former President of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru, delivered the keynote address for the symposium “Just Performance: Enacting Justice in the Wake of Violence,” hosted by the Center in December 2011. He spoke on “Memory of Violence and Drama in Peru: The Experience of the Truth Commission and the Yuyachkani Theater Group.”


“Art is divorced from both efficiency and efficacy…. its aim is to dignify all human beings – its business to shake us out of passive conformity to what is, and provoke us to dare explore what we can and should be.” Read his full comments in the original Spanish:  “Memoria de la violencia y dramaturgia en el Perú: La experiencia de la Comisión de la Verdad y el Grupo Yuyachkani” or in an English translation. Also available: an extended excerpt from transcript (see page 5).


5.  His Royal Highness Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, now a member of the Ethics Center’s International Advisory Board, gave delivered the second Distinguished Lecture in International Justice and Human Rights at Brandeis on January 30th, 2013: “Beyond Nuremberg: The Future of International Criminal Justice.” He was introduced by Donald Ferencz, son of Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz and co-founder and executive director of the Planethood Foundation.


“After all, was it not humanity’s retrospective awareness of how terrible miscalculations led to two world wars that subsequently produced a multilateral system of states centered on the United Nations, and ushered in a new family of multilateral treaties and human rights instruments, all enabled by a shrinkage in the geographic distances between us stemming from technology, increased air travel, vastly improved communications and a correspondingly huge expansion in commerce and banking, and then – as of late – the creation of a new international criminal justice system?”
Full videoFull transcript. Extended excerpt from the transcript (see page 5).


–Shota Adamia ’15, member of the Ethics Center Leadership Council

9 Ethics Center Rockstars That Will Blow Your Mind

April 8th, 2014

I guarantee you’ve never heard of many of these amazing individuals who have and continue to work to change our world.  Fun fact–each of these incredible people are or were at one point affiliated with the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life!  Read on for crazy amounts of inspiration…

1. Wendi Adelson ’01 ez-e27tbwGIcxUc2fcqAVWFqwdn5xBkuqGCAvtoAj-I 

Cover of Wendi Adelson’s 2011 novel This is Our Story

  • 1999 Sorensen Fellow who worked with The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina during her fellowship
  • Clinical professor at Florida State University College of Law
  • Director of a student-led legal clinic that provides free legal services (disability and immigration) to homeless, disabled and undocumented patients in Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Author of This is Our Story, a novel about human trafficking and the law in the United States, based on her own experiences with her clients, published in 2011. This is Our Story was selected as the work all first-year students will read and discuss for Florida State University’s “One Book/One Campus” shared reading program in 2014.
  • Read more about Wendi’s work in Argentina here

2.  Kate Alexander ’12 NOAp1PkVLHJ0IVjcv9IHUthDo4gH9SIj3j_lU7obqvw

3. Jocelyn Berger ’03 3P8EWUdK7_bvfZ4b-9R08g-vuySKkRtKVDdWSoC6b9A

Jocelyn Berger, at Brandeis in 2002, holding the publication that features the internship projects of the 2002 Sorensen Fellows. Read it here

  • 2002 Sorensen Fellow who worked in Sri Lanka
  • Has worked for a number of faith-based, secular, community, social justice, humanitarian, and peace building nonprofits and NGOs
  • Completed a Master’s degree in International Affairs at The Fletcher School at Tufts, focused on post-conflict peace building and development.
  • Currently works in community engagement and political organizing at American Jewish World Service
  • Read about her Sorensen Fellowship experience in Sri Lanka here

4. Will Chalmus ’07 VI6yewY7vy1ksvZuqcNJELz8NZtVHLrfucRG-n9qcAM

Will Chalmus, Natasha Faria, Eileen Kell, and Abigail Steinberg ’12 (right to left) during a Playback workshop at ‘DEIS Impact 2012. Photo by Sheila Donio

5. Richard J. Goldstone H ’04 wvBSQ4FvlUlDG7cWrAUHhNkMSHoLkp2NrB_3DLd7i48

Richard Goldstone (center) speaks during an Ethics Center sponsored event: “Extremists and The Challenge of Public Conversation”

  • Chair of the Center’s International Advisory Board
  • Retired Justice for the Constitutional Court, South Africa
  • Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda
  • Succeeded Kofi Annan as Chairman of the International Advisory Board of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court
  • Faculty Advisor for the Brandeis Institute for International Judges since 2002
  • Read more about Judge Goldstone here

6. Daniel Koosed ’08  PH7QI06je1Offfg-2xYal6rMOUgk75gkvMOnLp6stz8

Sorensen Fellow Daniel Koosed ’08 (third from left) in Arusha, Tanzania in 2007

  • 2007 Sorensen Fellow who worked in Arusha, Tanzania as an Academic Intern at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR):
  • Attended law school at the University of Miami where he obtained another fellowship and returned to Arusha as a Legal Intern during the summer of 2010
  • Koosed passed the Florida Bar Exam and is now working full time as an associate immigration attorney in Miami with a law firm called Rodney & Rodney & Bernstein, P.A.
  • Read more about Daniel’s Sorensen Fellowship in Tanzania here

7. Rebecca Miller ’13 ci8Dum8-XaePVkdb4aSmXydx7amIv_QHiQwyLmiKelk

Rebecca Miller (left) at the Massachusetts State House (Photo: Ruth Weld)

  • Member of the Advocacy For Policy Change class in the spring of 2011
  • Lobbied for a Massachusetts state bill that guaranteed 15 non-paid days of leave for victims of violence and sexual assault
  • Won an Advocacy Policy Change award that allowed her to build on her lobbying efforts by undertaking other advocacy initiatives the following summer (See “Awards support student summer advocacy work”)
  • Now works as legislative aide to Massachusetts State Representative Tom Sannicandro and is assisting current Advocacy for Policy Change students with their efforts on Beacon Hill!
  • Read more about Rebecca’s work in Advocacy For Policy Change here

8. Michael Ratner ’66 MichaelRatner

Michael Ratner (at right) speaking with other Ethics Center International Advisory Board members at “Social Justice and the University: Perspectives from the U.S. and Abroad” in 2012

  • Member of the Ethics Center board
  • President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and is Chairman of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin
  • He and the Center for Constitutional Rights are currently the attorneys in the United States for Julian Assange and Wikileaks. He is still trying to get Guantanamo closed and the indefinite detention scheme it spawned ended
  • Writes and litigates on the enforcement of the prohibition on torture and murder against various dictators and generals who travel to the United States
  • In 2006, the National Law Journal named Ratner as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the United States

9. Aziz Sohail ’13   95TTnCSF21MjOl6cP1PeWtJsF9rGhkyXbelR-WEYaf4 


–Talia Lepson ’16, member of the Ethics Center Leadership Council

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