Our Distinguished Panelists


Michael J. Sandel

Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government, Harvard University

Michael Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard University. His writings-on justice, ethics, democracy, and markets-have been translated into 27 languages. His course "Justice" is the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and on television. It has been viewed by tens of millions of people around the world, including in China, where Sandel was named the "most influential foreign figure of the year." (China Newsweek)

Sandel's books relate enduring themes of political philosophy to the most vexing moral and civic questions of our time. They include What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets; Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?; The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering; Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics; Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy; and Liberalism and the Limits of Justice.

Sandel has been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne, and delivered the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Oxford, the BBC's Reith Lectures, and the Kellogg Lecture on Jurisprudence at the U.S. Library of Congress. In 2016, East China Normal University (Shanghai) convened an international conference to explore points of contact between Sandel’s work and the Confucian tradition.

Sandel has sought to extend the reach of philosophy beyond the academy. His BBC Radio 4 series "The Public Philosopher" explores the philosophical ideas lying behind the headlines with audiences around the world; one program, a discussion of violence against women, was recorded in India, following a notorious rape incident in New Delhi. Another took place in Britain’s Palace of Westminster, where Sandel led a debate about democracy with members of Parliament and the public. In Brazil, he recently led a debate on corruption and the ethics of everyday life that reached an audience of 19 million on Globo TV. In Japan, his series on ethics for NHK, Japan’s national television network, convened students from China, Japan, and South Korea to discuss whether moral responsibility for historic wrongs extends across generations.

Sandel has been a pioneer in the use of new technology to promote global public discourse. In a new BBC series, "The Global Philosopher," Sandel leads video-linked discussions with participants from over 30 countries on the ethical aspects of issues such as immigration and climate change.

In the U.S., Sandel has served on the President's Council on Bioethics and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A graduate of Brandeis University, he received his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Sandel's global lectures have taken him across five continents and packed venues such as St. Paul’s Cathedral (London), the Sydney Opera House (Australia), the Public Theater in New York’s Central Park, and an outdoor stadium in Seoul (S. Korea), where 14,000 people came to hear him speak.


Robert P. George

McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University; Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is also the Herbert W. Vaughan Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, and has on several occasions been a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. In August of 2017, Baylor University launched the Robert P. George Initiative on Faith, Ethics & Public Policy, and Professor George was appointed as a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion.

In addition to his academic service, Professor George has served as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He previously served on the President’s Council on Bioethics (2002-2009), and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (1993-1998). He has also been the U.S. member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology.

He is a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award.

Professor George is author of Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality (Oxford University Press, 1993), In Defense of Natural Law (Oxford University Press, 1999), The Clash of Orthodoxies (ISI, 2001) and Conscience and Its Enemies (ISI, 2013). He is co-author of Conjugal Union: What Marriage Is (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (2nd edition, Doubleday, 2011), Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and What is Marriage? (Encounter, 2012). He is editor of several volumes, including Natural Law Theory: Contemporary Essays (Oxford University Press, 1992), The Autonomy of Law: Essays on Legal Positivism (Oxford University Press, 1996), Natural Law, Liberalism, and Morality (Oxford University Press, 1996), and Great Cases in Constitutional Law (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Professor George's articles and review essays have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the Review of Politics, the Review of Metaphysics, and the American Journal of Jurisprudence. He has also written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, First Things, the Boston Review, and the Times Literary Supplement.

A graduate of Swarthmore College, Professor George holds degrees in law and theology from Harvard and the degrees of D.Phil., B.C.L., and D.C.L. from Oxford University. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Swarthmore and received a Frank Knox Fellowship from Harvard for graduate study in law and philosophy at Oxford. He holds honorary doctorates of law, letters, ethics, science, divinity, humane letters, law and moral values, civil law, and juridical science.

Among his awards are the United States Presidential Citizens Medal, the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland, the Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement, the Philip Merrill Award of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, the Paul Bator Award of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy, a Silver Gavel Award of the American Bar Association, the Charles Fried Award of the Harvard Law School Federalist Society, and the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton.

He has given the John Dewey Lecture in Philosophy of Law at Harvard, the Guido Calabresi Lecture at Yale, the Sir Malcolm Knox Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and the Frank Irvine Lecturer in Law at Cornell.

Professor George is general editor of New Forum Books, a Princeton University Press series of interdisciplinary works in law, culture, and politics. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as Of Counsel to the law firm of Robinson & McElwee.


Moderator

Robert Doar

Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies, American Enterprise Institute

Robert Doar is the Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where his research focuses on how improved federal and state antipoverty policies and safety net programs can reduce poverty, connect individuals to work, strengthen families, and increase opportunities for low-income Americans and their children.

While at AEI, Mr. Doar has served as a co-chair of the National Commission on Hunger and as a lead member of the AEI-Brookings Working Group on Poverty and Opportunity, which published the report titled "Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream." He is also the editor of "A Safety Net That Works: Improving Federal Programs for Low-Income Americans," an AEI publication in which experts discuss major federal public assistance programs and offer proposals for reform.

Before joining AEI, he worked for Mayor Michael Bloomberg as commissioner of New York City’s Human Resources Administration. While administering 12 public assistance programs, including cash welfare, food assistance, public health insurance, child support enforcement services, and others, he oversaw a 25 percent reduction in the city’s welfare caseload. Before joining the Bloomberg administration, he was commissioner of social services for the state of New York, where he helped to make the state a model for the implementation of welfare reform.

Mr. Doar has testified numerous times before Congress, and his writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Hill, and National Review, among other publications.

Mr. Doar has a bachelor's degree in history from Princeton University.