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.


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

Instructor: Suzanne Shanahan, Co-Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and Associate Research Professor of 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.

Public Policy 150FS — Citizens, Patriotism, and Identity (CZ, SS, EI)

Instructor: Ian MacMullin, Visiting Associate Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy
Senior Research Scholar and Senior Fellow, Kenan Institute for Ethics

This course introduces students to fundamental moral questions about nation states and individuals’ membership in them. Do people owe more to their compatriots than to foreigners? Is it desirable – or at least permissible – for countries to have and promote a national identity? What different forms can patriotism take, and in which (if any) of these forms is it a virtue? Should we all be “citizens of the world”? These questions will be explored primarily through readings in contemporary moral and political philosophy.

Ethics 129FS.01/Political Science 176FS.01/International Comparative Studies 128FS.01 — Just Thinking (EI, SS)

Instructor: Suzanne Katzenstein, Research Scholar and the Project Director at the Duke Human Rights Center

This course examines how normative ethical and political theories might help us to think more clearly about rights, obligations, and justice in a global context. It is also enquires into the limitations of some of these theories, which were originally developed for more local contexts. We will focus, in particular, on ethical challenges raised by international commerce. Do multinational corporations have obligations to maintain standards over and above those required by local regulations? How do we determine what these obligations and standards are? What duties do citizens and consumers in a corporation’s home country have to compel more responsible corporate behavior abroad?

Ethics 160FS/History 127FS/ PubPol 187FS/ Econ 112FS — Globalization and Corporate Citizenship (EI, SS)

Instructor:Dirk Philipsen, Associate Research Professor at Sanford School of Public Policy and Senor Fellow at the Kenan Institute of 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.