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Danielle Allen serves as Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. The Center seeks to advance teaching and research on ethical issues in public life. Widespread ethical lapses of leaders in government, business, and other professions prompt demands for more and better moral education. More fundamentally, the increasing complexity of public life – the scale and range of problems and the variety of knowledge required to deal with them – make ethical issues more difficult, even for men and women of good moral character. Not only are the ethical issues we face more complex, but the people we face them with are more diverse, increasing the frequency and intensity of our ethical disagreements.
Given these changes in the United States and in societies around the globe, the Center seeks to help meet the growing need for teachers, scholars, and leaders who address questions of moral choice across many of the professions and in public life more generally, and promotes a perspective on ethics informed by both theory and practice. We explore the connection between the problems that professionals confront and the social and political structures in which they act. More generally, we address the ethical issues that all citizens face as they make the choices that profoundly affect the present and future of their societies in our increasingly interdependent world.