Ethan Gutman, author of Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal, former Foreign Policy Analyst at the Brookings Institution; Hiawatha Bray, The Boston Globe’s technology reporter; and John Jaw, founder of the Boston’s English-language and Chinese-language editions of The Epoch Times. Moderated by Valerie Epps, Director of the International Law Concentration at Suffolk University.

Thursday, October 12, 2006
6:30 p.m.
Raytheon Amphitheater, Northeastern University

There is no Google in China—at least not one that is uncensored. Websites are blacklisted -Wikipedia, Blogspot, and BBC News, to name just a few – and content providers like Yahoo!, AOL, and Skype, censor themselves so that they can operate in the country. To the dismay of some human rights advocates and media groups, it is principally American firms providing the Chinese government with technology to filter data as it comes and goes. Is there a better way to deal with China’s laws and policies? Is a restricted internet better than no internet at all? And can the “Golden Shield” stand up to a barrage of software designed specifically to circumvent it? Tonight’s panel discussion will shed light on the collision between new technologies and the national interests of the world’s most populous country.

John Darnton, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, best-selling author of Neanderthal, The Experiment and, most recently, The Darwin Conspiracy, and Cultural News Editor of The New York Times.

Thursday, September 28th
6:30 p.m.
Old South Meeting House
A booksigning will follow the program

Darwin’s theories of natural selection and evolution have been debated and disputed since The Origin of Species was first published in 1859. The concept of humans evolving from apes challenged the prevailing sense of natural order and shifted the scientific paradigm. Drawing on the research for his best selling novel The Darwin Conspiracy, author and journalist John Darnton will examine what current theories of intelligent design share with the arguments of Darwin’s creationist critics and how they differ. Darnton will also discuss the often-thorny questions of separating fact and fiction in the writing of historical novels.

Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J., author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States and The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Execution. Sister Helen currently works with the Death Penalty Discourse Center, the Moratorium Campaign, and the Dead Man Walking Play Project.

Tuesday, September 12th
6:30 p.m.
Old South Meeting House
A booksigning will follow the program

Should any state have the power to execute? Is the death penalty appropriate retribution for particularly heinous murders? Does it deter crime? Does it fundamentally violate human rights? Author and activist Sister Helen Prejean has been instrumental in sparking national dialogue around these questions. Her book, Dead Man Walking, which portrays her experiences as a spiritual advisor to death row inmates, became a best seller and spawned the Oscar-winning movie of the same title. Tonight, Sister Helen will discuss her life, her work, and why she continues to fight to end capital punishment.

Sarah Chayes, author and Field Director of Afghans for Civil Society, a non-governmental aid organization founded by Qayum Karzai, brother of President Hamid Karzai. Ms. Chayes was an overseas correspondent for National Public Radio from 1997 to 2002.

Monday, September 11th
6:30 p.m.
Old South Meeting House
A booksigning will follow the program

The Taliban regime was driven from power in Afghanistan in 2001, but the nation and the international community now face new problems: a devastated economy, the return of millions of refugees, drug trafficking, and a plague of corruption and violence. In addition, the fledgling government is struggling to unify and rebuild their nation and to define its future. Drawing upon her experiences living and working in the war-torn country as well as her unparalleled access to President Karzai‘s family, tribal leaders, and U.S. military officials, Sarah Chayes offers a unique view of Afghanistan’s modern history and the challenges ahead.

This program is co-sponsored by the WAND Education Fund (Women’s Action for New Directions) and presented in collaboration with the Old South Meeting House as part of the Partners in Public Dialogue Series.

Dr. Thomas Payzant, Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools since 1995; Assistant Secretary, United States Department of Education (1993-1995)

Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 6:30 p.m.
Old South Meeting House

Dr. Payzant, Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools for the past ten years, takes a hard look at the role of public schools in serving the common good. Is an increasingly negative view of government that has been growing in American society at odds with the expectations for what public schools must accomplish? Are public school districts asked to do too much? Is there an intimate connection between the compelling issues of social justice and the role of public schools, and is this connection more at risk today than any time in the past hundred years? Dr. Payzant will draw upon forty years of working to improve teaching and learning in public education to examine these and other questions.

George Q. Daley, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Children’s Hospital, Harvard Stem Cell Institute; Dan W. Brock, Ph.D., Professor of Medical Ethics, Harvard Medical School; Rudolf Jaenisch, M.D. Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and Professor of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Moderated by Gregory D. Curfman, M.D., Executive Editor, New England Journal of Medicine.

Thursday, May 4, 2006 at 6:30 p.m.
Old South Meeting House

Few topics have touched so many areas as stem cell research. It has stirred politics, medicine, business, economics, and religion. It presents much promise – from curing or easing disease and disability, to creating jobs that can energize state economies, to providing financial windfalls for investors. All of that holds great potential, but is surrounded by huge ethical and legal considerations. Where will the road lead? In a program co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Medical Society, medical experts examine two critical aspects of stem cell research: its medical promise and its ethical considerations.

Margaret Morganroth Gullette, Resident Scholar at the Women Studies Research Center at Brandeis University and author of the prizewinning Declining to Decline and Aged by Culture, a notable book of the year.

Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 6:30 p.m.
Old South Meeting House

“We are aged more by culture than by chromosomes” says Margaret M. Gullette, “and enemies on this front cannot be fought with gyms, Gingko, liposuction, or self-esteem.” The way Americans have come to view aging past youth has been affected recently by Supreme Court decisions, movements to counter midlife discrimination, and messages we send to our children and adolescents. Do our cultural norms affect the way we age? How does this work? What are the social and economic implications? Can there be a better way?

Maggie Gallagher, President of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy (www.marriagedebate.com), nationally syndicated columnist, and author of three books on marriage.

Thursday, April 6, 2006 at 6:30 p.m.
Old South Meeting House

Mrs. Gallagher argues that to the only way to win the gay marriage debate is to win the marriage debate: to emerge with a deeper, richer, understanding of marriage as a social and legal institution. In Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that there is no rational reason why marriage has been almost universally considered a union of husband and wife. Other courts in New York and New Jersey recently disagreed. Why do we have laws about marriage? What is a “civil union”? The debate is not over.

Thomas B. Wilner, Partner at Shearman & Sterling LLP and lead counsel to the Kuwaiti citizens in Supreme Court case Rasul v. Bush; P. Sabin Willett, Partner at Binghman McCutchen and legal counsel to several Uighur detainees; Gita Gutierrez, civil rights attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, conducted the first visit by a habeas attorney to Guantanamo. Moderated by Joshua Rubenstein, Northeast Regional
Director, Amnesty International USA

Thursday, March 30, 2006 at 6:30 p.m.
Faneuil Hall

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States government has held hundreds of men at Guantanamo Bay as part of its “global war on terrorism.” Some see the methods employed there as necessary to protect ourselves against new and horrifying threats to national security. However, the secrecy and questions about the legality of the imprisonments have drawn concern from lawmakers, foreign governments and human rights groups. They claim that such measures violate the Geneva Conventions, inspire anti-Americanism, and infringe upon the very foundations of our civil rights. In a program co-sponsored by Amnesty International USA, three lawyers currently defending prisoners in Guantanamo Bay talk about who the detainees are and why the United States continues to hold them.

Paul Cellucci, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development at Magna Entertainment Corp., U.S. Ambassador to Canada (2001- 2005), Governor of Massachusetts (1997 – 2001)

Thursday, March 23, 2006 at 6:30 p.m.
Old South Meeting House

America is faced with a new set of opportunities, threats, and moral responsibility on the world stage: How can the U.S. capitalize on the “flattened” economic playing field and three billion new participants joining the global marketplace? Can we defend ourselves against another major terrorist attack or developing nuclear threats? How effective are our foreign aid programs? The U.S. State Department increasingly finds itself on the front lines of these critical issues. Governor Cellucci will offer his offer his thoughts on how public diplomacy can help to ensure the safety, prosperity, and moral vision of our nation.