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Mershon News

Spring COMPAS Conference on Global Inequality

Each year the Center for Ethics and Human Values hosts a yearlong Conversations on Morality, Politics and Society program, this year centering on the theme of inequality.

The 2016-17 COMPAS program is exploring the complex ways in which inequalities in resources, opportunity, and treatment -- for example, along lines of class, race, and gender -- can produce or reinforce unequal outcomes in areas as diverse as health outcomes, criminal justice policy and practices, and political power.

The program is framed by two major interdisciplinary conferences. The fall conference, "When Do Inequalities Matter?" (September 22-23), featured a keynote lecture by Richard Wilkinson, the co-author of The Spirit Level. The spring COMPAS conference, sponsored by the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, will focus on global inequality.

The spring conference, to take place Thursday, March 30, through Friday, March 31, will begin by considering two basic questions facing proponents of global justice: how to measure well being as a way of assessing global inequalities, and whether rich nations have a duty to alleviate poverty around the globe.

The conference will then consider global inequality in a variety of domains that raise serious moral concerns, including global governance, trade, migration, and LGBTQ rights, with the aim of exploring how the causes and effects of different kinds of inequality interact with one another. For more, see the conference flyer (pdf).

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Lesley Ferris

One hundred years ago, the United States entered World War I. This year the Department of Theatre, with support from the Mershon Center, is marking this occasion by creating a new work centering on this world conflict.

World War I introduced industrialized warfare on a massive scale amidst a wave of belligerent nationalism. It still ranks as one of the world’s deadliest conflicts, dramatically changing borders in Europe and the Middle East.

Forbidden Zones: The Great War” draws from contemporary documents, letters, memoirs, poetry, commissioned art, and popular music, focusing on the Battle of the Somme, the largest battle on the Western Front.

Fought between July 1 and November 1, 1916, near the Somme River in France, the battle was one of the bloodiest in history. On the first day alone, the British suffered more than 57,000 casualties. By the end of the campaign, the Allies and Central Powers had lost more than 1.5 million men.

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Saad Nagi

Saad Z. Nagi, Mershon Professor of Sociology and Public Policy from 1970 to 1990, passed away on February 9 at age 91.

Nagi had a long and rewarding association with The Ohio State University starting when he was hired as an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology in 1958. He held faculty appointments in the Department of Sociology and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and served as chair of the Sociology Department from 1982 to 1989.

Nagi "lived an extraordinary life of deeply-felt purpose," his daughter, M. Karima Nagi, said. "My father’s body of work was devoted to issues of social justice on many levels."

Nagi’s work as an early medical sociologist at Ohio State led into his foundational research in the field of disability and his 1965 “disablement model” framework, characterizing disability as a social and environmental phenomenon. This framework has had a significant impact in multiple disciplines, as well as on legislation and practice related to disability.

In the 1970s, Nagi was principal investigator on a national survey of professionals who have primary roles in reporting and dealing with child abuse cases. As a component of this study, he developed a method for calculating the nationwide incidence of child maltreatment.

In the 1980s, Nagi’s research interests expanded into issues related to social justice, including social movements and development, democratization, ethnic identification, social stratification, mobility and poverty. His study on poverty in Egypt was the first of its kind. It remains the only scientific study of its kind throughout the Middle East.

Nagi won the Distinguished Scholar Award at Ohio State in 1982. His papers, housed at Ohio State University Library, contain publications, correspondence, and writings, with materials of special interest pertaining to governmental programs and policies concerning impairment and disability, child abuse, and rehabilitation.

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Greg Van Kirk

The 11th International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education, with the theme “Tools for Preparing the Change Leaders of the Future: Social Enterprise, Innovation and Education,” will take place Thursday, March 16, 2017, through Sunday, March 19, 2017, at the Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St. Presentations will focus on innovations in the field of conflict resolution that are making broad impacts of social entrepreneurship and peacebuilding in the local to global community.

Greg Van Kirk, leader of Ashoka Foundation's Start Empathy Initiative and co-founder of Social Entrepreneur Corps, will join his colleague Valentina Raman, co-founder of IMPACT Magazine and JournalUp, to present the first keynote address on "Shifting Minds and Hearts: How Ashoka is building a culture of empathy to create a world of changemakers." Both are fellows with Ashoka Foundation, which helps social entrepreneurs pursue system-changing solutions that help correct entrenched global problems.

Achaleke Christian Leke

Achaleke Christian Leke, member of the Global Advocacy Team of the United Network of Young Peace Builders, will give the second keynote on "UN Security Resolution 2250: The Role of Youth in Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention and the Role of Youth Entrepreneurship." Leke is a youth civil society activist and peace advocate who has worked with more than 1 million young people on over 100 youth development and peace-building projects. He was named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year in 2016.

Conference workshops on March 16-17 will run along three main tracks:

  • Social enterprise, which applies methods and ideas from the business world to solve human problems such as poverty, lack of access to education, and environmental degradation.
  • Education, including workshops, training programs, and continuing education for all age groups in informal and community education settings, led by leaders in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and social enterprise.
  • Innovation, which will provide an opportunity for participants to showcase their own work, learn from others, and discuss unmet challenges by examining both new programs and effective evaluation.

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