Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639

April 8, 2011

A Conversation on Human Dignity at Kluge Center on April 26

What is "human dignity"? How important is it? What is its origin? Seven distinguished scholars, in an informal conversation, will probe the meaning of human dignity from a variety of historical, philosophical, religious, medical and social perspectives.

The discussion, titled "Dignity of the Human Person," will be hosted by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26, in Room 119 on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are needed.

Participating in the conversation are Dr. George Chrousos, Roshi Joan Halifax, Jennifer Hochschild, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Abdulkarim Soroush and John Witte, Jr. The moderator will be Jean Bethke Elshtain.

Chrousos is a professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the Athens University Medical School in Greece. Through August 2011, he holds the Chair in Technology and Society at the Kluge Center.

Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. Elshtain is a member of the Library of Congress Scholars’ Council, an advisory board to the Library.

Halifax, a Zen Buddhist roshi, is the abbot and head teacher of the Upaya Zen Center and Institute in Santa Fe, a Zen Peacemaker community which she founded in 1990. She has worked with dying people since 1970, and in 1994 she founded the Project on Being with Dying. Halifax is a distinguished visiting scholar at the Kluge Center until mid-May 2011.

Hochschild, who holds the Chair in American Law and Governance at the Kluge Center until July 2011, is the Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and a professor of African and African American studies at Harvard University.

McCarrick, a distinguished visiting scholar at the Kluge Center during 2011, served as archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington from 2001 to 2006. On Feb. 21, 2001, just seven weeks after his installation as archbishop, McCarrick was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II.

Soroush, formerly a senior fellow at the Research Institute for Human Sciences and Cultural Research and director of the Institute of Epistemological Research, both in Tehran, was a distinguished visiting scholar at the Kluge Center in 2009-2010. He is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Maryland.

Witte, a distinguished visiting scholar at the Kluge Center until the beginning of April 2011, is the Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law, the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit

# # #

PR 11-080
ISSN 0731-3527

Back to top