The Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies: A Dialogue for a New Moral Agenda Conference

Posted by on May 6, 2005

The Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at The George Washington University Presents:

“A Dialogue for a New Moral Agenda”
May 23 – 24, 2005
Washington, DC

The event will take place on the campus of The George Washington University over the course of two days. The purpose of the dialogue is to explore what moral language will allow us best to express the values we share, values that resonate with the moral sensibilities of most Americans. Our starting point is that within each of us there is a struggle between our better and our debased selves; thus we ask, what social institutions can make us better than we would be otherwise?

Those who have already agreed to attend include: Robert Cochran, founder of Pepperdine’s Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics; Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, United States Department of Health and Human Services; Rev. Brenda Bartella Peterson, former DNC Senior Advisor for Religious Outreach; Jim Towey, Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; Linda Chavez, President of the Center for Equal Opportunity; and Amy Sullivan, editor of “Washington Monthly.”

The topics of the conference will include:
* Moral suasion versus moral coercion
* The reform of our moral institutions (such as the family, schools, places of worship, and the community at large)
* The role of moral dialogues
* Assessing the “24/7” society
* Exploring what a fair society makes?
* The scope of our obligations to members of other societies and the budding global community

With the exception of two keynote addresses, the conference will be structured around a series of dialogues intended to maximize time for discussion. Each session will begin with a brief presentation of the potential elements of a new moral agenda, followed by comments from dialogue starters and then a discussion among all participants present. Participants in the conference will include religious and spiritual leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds and secular leaders interested in ethics.

Amitai Etzioni, Director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies and author of “The Spirit of Community,” will present the Institute’s positions. If you have any questions, we would be delighted to answer them. We very much hope that you will be able to participate in this important and timely conference.

Those interested in participating should email Eleanor at

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