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David Scheffer to Deliver Keynote at Annual Institute for Honor Symposium This year’s symposium will take place March 3-4 and address corporate responsibility in times of armed conflict.

ifh-2023-2-scaled David Scheffer to Deliver Keynote at Annual Institute for Honor SymposiumInstitute for Honor Symposium 2023 Speakers

Washington and Lee University’s annual Institute for Honor Symposium, this year titled “McDonald’s vs. Putin: Corporate Responsibility in Times of Armed Conflict,” will take place Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4. Registration is required and can be accessed online here.

This year’s symposium will ask the question, “What are the responsibilities of a corporation or other business in a war?” This question became painfully significant in February 2022, when Russian forces invaded Ukraine and public discourse began to more seriously consider the numerous American corporations that operate in Russia, Ukraine and other countries confronting humanitarian crises.

“Our invited speakers will discuss the different ethical considerations that business leaders evaluate when they decide if and how to respond to some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises, such as the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria or the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” said Kish Parella, the Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics and Law and director of the symposium.

The keynote address, “Corporate Responsibility for Waging and Ending Armed Conflicts,” will be delivered by David Scheffer on March 3 at 4:45 p.m. in the University Chapel. From 1997 to 2001, Scheffer served as the first U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, during which time he helped establish the International Criminal Court and negotiated the creation of five war crimes tribunals.

The symposium will also include two panel discussions on March 4 that build upon Scheffer’s address. The first panel, “How Can Corporations Protect Human Rights in Armed Conflict?” will feature Erika George, Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, and Shannon Raj Singh, former human rights counsel for Twitter. The second panel, “Ethics in the Boardroom: How Can Corporate Executives Promote Global Peace?” will feature Lizanne Thomas ‘82L, who chairs the corporate governance practice at Jones Day, and Michael Spencer ‘96L, who serves as the group vice president, chief counsel and chief ethics and compliance officer at Rimini Street.

A full schedule of events is available here.

Established in 2000 at  W&L by a generous endowment from the Class of 1960, the Institute for Honor includes an array of initiatives and specific programs designed to promote the understanding and practice of honor as an indispensable element of society. The Institute for Honor Symposium is dedicated to the advocacy of honor as the core value in personal, professional, business and community relations. For more information or to register for the entire program, please contact W&L’s Office of Lifelong Learning (lifelong@wlu.edu) or call 540-458-8916.