July 05, 2006

Taking ethics from the classroom to the world

Deal is first professor, director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence

After an international search, Case Western Reserve University Interim President Gregory Eastwood, M.D., and Dr. Kazuo Inamori, international business leader and founder of the Inamori Foundation, announce the appointment of William Deal, Case's Severance Associate Professor of the History of Religion, as the first Inamori Professor and Director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence. Deal's appointment is effective July 1.

Deal, Case's faculty expert in Japanese religion and comparative ethics, will direct the University-wide center, established with a $10 million gift to Case in April, 2005 from the Inamori Foundation. In addition to the Inamori Foundation, Dr. Inamori is also the founder of Kyocera Corp. and the telecommunications giant KDDI.

"Case Western Reserve University is regarded as one of the foremost institutions in the United States for its unwavering dedication to research, education and the practice of ethics," said Dr. Inamori about his choice of establishing the ethics center at Case.

The center's initiatives will advance Dr. Inamori's philosophy of "pursuing what is right for humankind" and examine such pressing issues as those posed by rapidly developing technologies and science that have seemingly outpaced ethical considerations of their uses.

"Scientists and engineers have advanced science and technology endlessly toward creating our modern material civilization. While this development makes it possible for humanity to enjoy many amenities, we are also confronted with large-scale environmental destruction that might destroy the Earth," stated Dr. Inamori.

More on the Inamori Professor

Deal, who lived in Japan for six years, will divide his time between teaching ethics at Case and overseeing the international activities and initiatives of the new center.

Since Deal's arrival at Case in 1989, he has incorporated ethics in every class he has taught.

"Today's world is fraught with ambiguous situations in all aspects of life from birth to death. Some of these issues raise circumstances that require ethical decisions. The goal of the Inamori Center is to advance decision makers who can make the appropriate choices that protect humankind and our environment," said Deal.

Dr. Inamori agrees, "Our advanced technologies are beginning to intrude into areas which only God controlled until now, and we have begun to use these technologies liberally. As human beings encroaching on this domain of the Divine, I believe these are things we seriously need to consider."

Deal has uniquely brought the subject of ethics from the pages of textbooks into a real life context by connecting Case students to Japanese students via Internet and email communications for discussions on topics such as organ transplants and beginning and end of life issues, which differ between Japan and the United States.

A Core Mission Different from Other Ethics Centers

Deal will spearhead the launch of an ethics initiative at Case that differs from other major university ethics centers around the country. Most ethics centers in the United States focus primarily on western ethics and ethical practices. The Inamori International Center at Case will become one of the first in the United States with a core mission to explore global perspectives on areas of ethical concern such as human rights, biomedical advances, the environment and business practices.

These global issues also form a web of ethics-focused resources across the Case campus from the Frederick Cox International Law Center and the Center for Professional Ethics at the law school, Business as an Agent of World Benefit at the management school, life and death issues explored in the department of biomedical ethics at the medical school, to science and engineering practices at the Case-managed World Wide Web Center for the Ethics of Science and Engineering overseen by the College of Arts and Sciences' philosophy department. As a University-wide organization, the Inamori International Center will work in concert with these existing Case ethics-related programs as well as with others from the national and international community.

Establishing the Inamori Prize in Ethics

One way the Inamori International Center will foster ethics worldwide is through the establishment of the Inamori Prize in Ethics, a major annual award that will honor eminent leaders who have made a major impact on the theory and practice of ethics globally.

Among one of Deal's first responsibilities will be to form the selection committee who will then work together to identify the first Inamori Prize recipient in 2007. This individual will then be honored at an inaugural event that will include an international symposium, reflective of the recipient's contributions to bettering the world. The awards ceremony and symposium will take place at Case.

"The Inamori Prize will recognize ethicists who have impacted the world through their actions," said Deal.

An Integral Part of the Case Campus

The Inamori International Center will be located in Crawford Hall, creating a highly visible, high quality home for the center. Providing this space will allow the work of the Inamori International Center to begin immediately, bringing the international world of ethics to Case as soon as next year for conferences and symposia. Ultimately the Inamori International Center will be located in a new campus center facility once funds for this center are raised.

The Crawford Hall location was selected because of its central and visible location on the campus. Approximately 4,000 square feet of space in Crawford will be occupied by the Inamori International Center and designed by the architectural firm of Ewing Cole, who last year completed architectural design of the SAGES headquarters on Crawford's quad level, one of the most dynamic new spaces on campus.

According to Margaret Carney, Case's University Architect and Planner, the space is being designed to be aesthetically and functionally rich and to allow for flexible future uses as dedicated classroom space after the Inamori International Center moves to its permanent space in the Campus Center. Renovations are expected to be completed before the end of this year.

Carney and Deal, who both speak Japanese, collaborated with the members of the Inamori Foundation to design the new center and its programs.

Inamori Foundation

Inamori Foundation was established in Kyoto, Japan, in 1984 by Dr. Kazuo Inamori, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Kyocera Corporation and Honorary Advisor of KDDI Corporation, with his personal funds. The Foundation takes an active role in promoting international understanding by awarding the Kyoto Prize to honor those who contribute greatly to scientific, cultural advancement and human betterment, supporting young researchers in Japan and providing programs for social contributions. http://www.inamori-f.or.jp.

For more information: Susan Griffith 216-368-1004.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, July 5, 2006 09:48 AM | News Topics: HeadlinesMain, Philanthropy

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