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Harvard Law dean set to lecture

Megan Hemler | Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Martha Minow, this year’s speaker for the annual Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh Lecture in Ethics and Public Policy, is not someone who ascribes to the “ivory tower” mentality that can isolate academics, said Joan Fallon, director of communications for the Kroc Institute.
Instead, Minow is a highly accessible and relatable thinker who has a passion for education, Fallon said.

Minow, a human rights advocate for minorities, women and children, is the Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor and dean of Harvard Law School.

Her lecture, Education as a Tool in Preventing Conflict: Suggestions for the International Criminal Court, will be given on March 16 at 4:15 p.m. in the Hesburgh Center Auditorium.
“It’s exciting to showcase a high platform person because those aren’t always so visible,” Fallon said. “These speakers meet students, faculty, they talk with them … I think students across the University, from law to history to journalism, not just peace studies students, would be really interested in her.”

The Hesburgh Lecture is the largest and most prestigious event the Kroc Institute hosts each year, Fallon said. Past speakers have included the Rev. Bryan Hehir, Congressman Lee Hamilton and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

“We don’t tell [the speakers] what to talk about,” Fallon said. “We choose them based on the merit of their work and each brings a fresh perspective.”

The lecture series began as a way to honor University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh in his public role as an international leader in ethics, said Hal Culbertson, executive director for the Kroc Institute.

“We set up the lecture to bring in people contributing to society in the areas of ethics and public policy,” Culbertson said. “Fr. Hesburgh founded the institute, with the help of Mrs. Kroc. He had a vision for an institute where we would educate peace builders and also shape public policy.”

The lectures are always a popular event, Fallon said, with last year’s expected audience so large they moved the lecture into the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

“We usually have equal parts students and faculty,” Fallon said. “There’s also a reception afterwards for people to meet her and talk for a few minutes.

“The Hesburgh Lecture represents people who are doing the essence of what Notre Dame tries to do, and that is to be engaged at the highest level of thinking … We try to encourage Notre Dame students to think about themselves as influential global citizens.”