Lectures on Public Policy

Annual lecture series

Reflections on Inequality and Capital in the 21st Century

Thomas Piketty
EHESS and Paris School of Economics
May 12, 2017
In this public lecture, Thomas Piketty will present new findings and reflections on global inequality dynamics. In particular, he will stress the need to go beyond the Western-centered historical perspective on inequality regimes developed in his book, Capital in the 21st Century. Piketty will also address the relation between rising inequality and the changing structure of electoral conflict, from class-based to identity-based conflict.

The Lives of Others

Owen M. Fiss
Yale Law School
December 5, 2012

In this lecture, Owen M. Fiss, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law and Professorial Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, examines the state of the constitutional rules protecting the privacy of telephone conversations. These rules were first announced by the Supreme Court in 1967, and then extended in 1972, but they are now greatly weakened. This turn of events is in part attributable to the general retrenchment of privacy rights that began in the mid-1970s and continues to this day. It is also linked to the events of September 11, 2001, which turned the fight against international terrorism into an urgent public issue and, Fiss argues, led to the compromise of fundamental principles of our constitutional order.

The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water

Maude Barlow
Chair of the Council of Canadians and Chair of Food and Water Watch
November 30, 2011

The world is running out of available water supplies, and the potential for conflict will be severe. In this lecture, Maude Barlow, Chair of the Council of Canadians and Chair of Food and Water Watch, sets out the nature and cause of the crisis and offers a three-part solution to achieve a water-secure world.

Human-Made Climate Change: A Moral, Political, and Legal Issue

James E. Hansen
Columbia University
November 19, 2010

Observations of ongoing climate change, paleoclimate data, and climate simulations concur: human-made greenhouse gases have set Earth on a path to climate change with potentially dangerous consequences for humanity. James Hansen, climatologist and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, explains the urgency of the situation and discusses why he believes it is a moral issue that pits the rich and powerful against the young and unborn, against the defenseless, and against nature. He explores available options to avoid morally unacceptable consequences.

Human Rights Challenges in the Next Decade

Mary Robinson
Former President of Ireland and founder of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative
October 27, 2008

Mary RobinsonMary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will address the present and future of international human rights as part of the Institute’s Lectures on Public Policy. On the eve of the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Robinson will discuss the need to take stock of current challenges

Afghanistan and Iraq: Failed States or Failed Wars?

Lakhdar Brahimi
March 28, 2007

Map of Western Asia

Having assisted in the postwar transitions in Afghanistan and Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, a Director's Visitor at the Institute in 2006-08, spoke in 2007 about the circumstances that led to the current situations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He examined the recent history of both countries and offered his perspective on the actions and non-actions that led to the present crises.