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Ethics Without Borders

Our  venture known as Ethics Without Borders is a biannual community event recognizing individuals whose work across the world emboldens us to speak out for what we value most in our own community. This event serves to anchor our advocacy work in four areas that coincide with four basic human rights:

Caring for Culture=the right to have access to culture;
Saving Schools and Scholars=the right to an education free from violence;
Water for All in the World=the right to water; and
Civic Ethics: Cultivating a New Field=the right to open dissent and equitable participation in civic life.

So far, has sponsored two well-received educational events in conjunction with Ann Arbor Greenhills School, focusing on the themes of Caring for Culture and Saving Schools and Scholars.

Caring for Culture

The debut event featured archaeologist Katharyn Hanson of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute. Katharyn's expertise and her topic, Stealing Culture, was on the looting of the Iraq museum. This event followed the spring opening in 2008 of the exhibit "Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq's Past," which Katharyn co-curated at the Oriental Institute. Before leaving Ann Arbor, Katharyn also participated in a podcast  with Elizabeth Bridges, anthropological archaeologist from the University of Michigan's Center for South Asian Studies, on the wide-range of ethics issues  archaeologists confront in their work to preserve and care for our universal cultural heritage.

Saving Schools and Scholars 

The second event, held in the fall of 2010, brought attention to the increasing attacks on schools, students and teachers in conflict-affected regions of the world. Human rights attorney, Bede Sheppard, the senior researcher in the children's rights division of Human Rights Watch, outlined the ways current military tactics and asymmetric warfare practices violate international human rights and humanitarian laws when rebel groups, paramilitary and state military forces purposefully destroy schools, assault teachers and abduct students. Such conflicts today are depriving 39 million primary school-age children world wide of their right to education.

Bede's reception, dinner and talk was accompanied by a Protecting Education from Attack Exhibit open to area students and community members to create awareness of attacks on education in conflict-ridden regions. Almost 100 area students and community members submitted original protective symbol designs which identify school facilities as universal No Violence and Attack-Free zones. Not only did Bede talk to students and visit the exhibit, he took additional time to do a podcast interview discussing some of the major ethics issues he confronts in human rights field research work

Future Ethics Without Borders events will expand on the work of courageous individuals and groups in the areas of culture and education--and introduce the equally brave efforts of those who are working for water justice and responsive government around the world.