Case Western Reserve President Barbara R. Snyder last night announced that the Inamori Foundation has committed an additional $1 million to advance the work of the university’s Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence. The news came as the university honored academic and environmental activist David Suzuki as the fifth recipient of the annual Inamori Ethics Prize.
“David Suzuki, throughout your career you have consistently emphasized the importance of ethical leadership in the areas of environmentalism, sustainability, science education, and climate justice,” Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III said during ceremonies at Severance Hall. “You hold fast to your principles, yet strive to continue conversations that lead to greater understanding and provoke global progress.”
A native of Canada who earned his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in the United States, Suzuki spent more than 40 years as a professor of genetics at the University of British Columbia. He also turned his abiding love for science and the environment into a decades-long career hosting the television series, The Nature of Things. In 1990 he founded the David Suzuki Foundation to help suggest ways that individuals and organizations could take steps to help the Earth. In addition to accepting his medal and presenting his lecture, “The Challenge of the 21st Century: Setting the Real Bottom Line,” Suzuki also participated in an academic symposium earlier in the day with Oberlin College environmental studies professor David Orr and Case Western Reserve ethics professors Jeremy Bendik-Keymer and Shannon French. French also directs the Inamori Center, established in 2007 after the Inamori Foundation awarded $10 million to Case Western Reserve.
“At its core, ethics is about the pursuit of a good and meaningful life,” French told those gathered for the prize ceremony. “We cannot be successful in that pursuit, either individually or collectively, unless we take the time to think deeply about what our core values are and ensure that they are faithfully reflected in our words, our actions, and our policies.”
As part of the ceremonies, Snyder also recognized foundation President Kazuo Inamori for his passion for promoting ethical and humane leadership around the world. The founder of Kyocera and, later the telecommunications giant DDI, Inamori also is an ordained Buddhist priest and volunteers as president of a private management school known as Seiwajyuku. In 1984 he founded the Inamori Foundation with his own personal financial commitment.
“This award honors individuals whose history of philanthropic service has made a profound, positive and lasting impact locally, nationally and internationally,” Snyder said. “Dr. Inamori’s influence not only pervades our campus, but the world.
The additional $1 million commitment will allow the center to expand its programs, among other activities. As part of this year’s celebration, the center announced publication of a new annual academic publication, The International Journal of Ethical Leadership. The inaugural volume includes transcripts of speeches of previous prize recipients as well as such articles as Bendik-Keymer’s Do You Have a Conscience and alumnus Hiroyuki Fujita’s Ethical Leadership. The journal is available at the Barnes & Noble campus bookstore, 11451 Euclid Ave.