Our Distinguished Panelists
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor at New York University
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is an international religious leader, philosopher, award-winning author and respected moral voice. He was awarded the 2016 Templeton Prize in recognition of his "exceptional contributions to affirming life's spiritual dimension." Rabbi Sacks is frequent and sought-after contributor to radio, television and the press both in Britain and around the world.
Since stepping down as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth - a position he served for 22 years between 1991 and 2013 - Rabbi Sacks has held a number of professorships at several academic institutions including Yeshiva University and King's College London. He currently serves as the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor at New York University. Rabbi Sacks has been awarded 17 honorary doctorates including a Doctor of Divinity conferred to mark his first ten years in office as Chief Rabbi, by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey.
Rabbi Sacks is the author of over 30 books. Among them, Rabbi Sacks has published a new English translation and commentary for the Koren Sacks Siddur, the first new Orthodox siddur in a generation, as well as powerful commentaries for the Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur, Pesaĥ, Shavuot and Sukkot Maĥzorim. His most recent work, Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence was awarded a 2015 National Jewish Book Award in America and was a top ten Sunday Times bestseller in the UK. Past works include: The Great Partnership: God, Science and the Search for Meaning; The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations, winner of the Grawemeyer Prize for Religion in 2004 for its success in defining a framework for interfaith dialogue between people of all faith and of none; To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility; and A Letter in the Scroll: On Being Jewish, winner of a National Jewish Book Awards in 2000. His Covenant & Conversation commentaries on the weekly Torah portion are read in Jewish communities around the world.
In recognition of his work, Rabbi Sacks has received, among others, the Jerusalem Prize in 1995 for his contribution to diaspora Jewish life, The Ladislaus Laszt Ecumenical and Social Concern Award from Ben Gurion University in Israel in 2011, The Guardian of Zion Award from the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at Bar-Ilan University in 2014, and The Katz Award in recognition of his contribution to the practical analysis and application of Halakha in modern life in Israel in 2014. He was named as The Becket Fund's 2014 Canterbury Medalist for his role in the defense of religious liberty in the public square, and won a Bradley Prize in recognition of being "a leading moral voice in today's world." Rabbi Sacks was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 2005 and made a Life Peer, taking his seat in the House of Lords in October 2009.
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.
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
President, Co-founder, and Senior Faculty Member of Zaytuna College
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is president and senior faculty member of Zaytuna College, America’s first accredited Muslim liberal arts college. He is an advisor to the Center for Islamic Studies at Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union. In addition, he serves as vice-president for the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies (Abu Dhabi), which was founded and is currently presided over by Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, one of the top jurists and masters of Islamic sciences in the world. He is the author of several books and scholarly articles, and has translated major creedal Islamic texts into English. Books he has authored or translated include: Purification of the Heart, The Content of Character, The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi, Caesarean Moon Births, Prayer of the Oppressed and Agenda to Change our Condition.
Recently, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf was ranked as "the Western world's most influential Islamic scholar" by The Muslim 500, edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin. Along with his extensive training in the Western liberal arts, Yusuf has studied Arabic and the Islamic sciences for over 40 years with leading scholars of the Muslim world.