Photo of Inamori Ethics Prize medal
Photo credit: Daniel Milner

New ‘Conversations on JUSTICE’ series featuring former Inamori Ethics Prize winners LeVar Burton, Marian Wright Edelman, Farouk El-Baz and others

The Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University will postpone their annual Inamori Ethics Prize events until 2021, and during the 2020-21 academic year, will instead provide space for a continuing conversation, examination and introspection on a topic of consequence: JUSTICE.

The Inamori Center will draw on the expertise of past Inamori Ethics Prize winners as well as top scholars and practitioners in a thematic series of events and programming addressing the topic from multiple perspectives, locally and globally.

Shannon French
Shannon French

“Our traditional prize presentation and events had to be postponed due to the pandemic, but the change in plans also has a specific purpose: to get people talking about how ethical leaders working in different areas—from the law to science to the arts, and everywhere else—can make a positive difference,” said Shannon E. French, Inamori Professor in Ethics and director of the Inamori Center. “Who better to explore that potential than the winners of a prestigious international award for ethical leadership, the Inamori Ethics Prize?” 

The first Conversations on JUSTICE with Inamori Ethics Prize winners will be live-streamed Friday, Oct. 23, from 12:45-2:15 p.m. EST on the Case Western Reserve channel: It will feature the upcoming 2020 prize recipient, Judge Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi and previous Inamori Prize winners LeVar Burton (2019), Farouk El-Baz (2018), and Marian Wright Edelman (2017), who will have a conversation moderated by French, including a general exploration of JUSTICE, as well as human and civil rights. Later events will address health care justice and climate justice.

Composite photo of four Inamori Prize winners.
From left: Judge Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi, LeVar Burton, Farouk El-Baz and Marian Wright Edelman

“Our hope is that by revising our approach to awarding the Inamori Ethics Prize and redesigning our Inamori Center programming as we have done, we can respond not only to health and safety concerns, but to the concerns of the world at this time,” Associate Director Beth Trecasa said. “The Inamori Center always seeks to be responsive to and engaged with the most pressing ethical issues. Right now, these include—but are not limited to—the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 global health crisis, systemic racism, civil rights abuses and climate change.” 

The Conversations on JUSTICE series will culminate with the postponed presentation of the 2020 Inamori Ethics Prize to Judge Fernández in the fall of 2021. Judge Fernández is a leading figure in international justice, humanitarian law, and human rights and was the first woman to serve as president of the International Criminal Court (ICC). She has worked tirelessly to ensure that those who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity are held accountable for their actions. She also will participate in other elements of the Conversations on Justice series.

“These events will be an incredible opportunity for us to hear outstanding global ethics leaders from diverse fields talking with one another about their own views on justice and how to build a more equitable society,” French said. “To get these amazing individuals together, even virtually, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we know their insights will be enlightening.” 

For more information, contact Bill Lubinger at

This article was originally published Oct. 8, 2020.