Henry Kissinger will be the keynote speaker at a conference titled “The Ethical and Moral Dimensions of America’s War on Terrorism.”
Wednesday’s conference, which runs from 1-5 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater, will also feature panel discussions about the war.
The Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility and the John Goodwin Tower Center Theatre are sponsoring the event. Admission is free for students.
One panel will focus on the ethical and moral issues of the country’s war against terrorism.
Another panel discussion will focus on taking action and the need to defend the country after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Many noteworthy speakers will join Kissinger, who was secretary of state to former U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford.
Joseph S. Nye, dean of Harvard University’s School of Government, and Stephen Krasner, a Stanford University professor of international relations, are among the speakers on the panel.
The panel lecture will also include J. Bryan Hehir, the former dean of Harvard Divinity School.
The goal of the conference is to discuss ways to remain ethical while retaliating against those who jeopardize the country’s safety.
Professor Dick Mason, director of the Maguire Center at SMU, said that while it is important to defeat terrorism and protect the country, moral values and human dignity for life should be weighed carefully when political decisions are made.
“We could overreact and violate people’s rights,” Mason said.
Sophomore Ryan McLaughlin, who sits on the student advisory board of the Maguire Center, believes that there is no textbook answer to the Sept. 11 situation and that we are writing our own response.
“We are in the gray, operating outside the conventions of what war would be,” he said.
McLaughlin, who recently was a part of SMU’s first competitive team in the Ethics Bowl in Cincinnati, Ohio, said it is important to consider ethics when dealing with terrorism because a slippery slope could rise tensions and cause the United States to act brashly.
“We, as a country are still leaders in the world and need to act as leaders,” McLaughlin said. “Our actions need to be carefully thought out, not hasty.”
In 1973, Kissinger won a Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to negotiate the end of the Vietnam War.
First-year law school student Andrew Novak believes that it is a great opportunity to have the former head of national security affairs speak on campus.
“I am curious to hear his take on foreign action and policy on past and present issues,” Novak said.
For more information on the Kissinger keynote speech and panel discussions, call (214) 768-3665.