Our organization was founded in February 1914, on the eve of World War I. To browse an illustrated timeline to learn more about our history, click here.
In honor of our Centennial, we will be posting 100 of the most interesting and historically significant materials from our archives. We hope you enjoy them.
Reimagining a Global Ethic (Lead Article in Symposium, Spring 2012) | 01/18/2013 What status do we give a global ethic in a pluralistic world that, as a matter of fact, is composed, ethically speaking, of competing moral universes?
Is the World Becoming More Peaceful? | 10/05/2012 In this vigorous discussion, two leading thinkers in global affairs--Harvard professor Steven Pinker and "Atlantic" correspondent Robert D. Kaplan--take on the subject of world peace, a core interest of Carnegie Council.
Ethics and War in Homer's Iliad | 03/27/2012 Are the values we bring to war today really the same as they were back in the days of the warring Greeks and Trojans? Or have we evolved morally, as Steven Pinker and others believe? The evidence leads to an answer of yes and no.
Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World | 05/06/2008 Drawing on his background at the World Bank and as the first post-Taliban finance minister of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani (and co-author Clare Lockhart) develops a comprehensive framework for understanding the problem of state-building. In 2014, Dr. Ghani became president of Afghanistan.
Ecological Intervention: Prospects and Limits [Full Text] | 09/26/2007 This groundbreaking 2007 essay seeks to extend the already controversial debate about humanitarian intervention by exploring the morality, legality, and legitimacy of ecological intervention and its corollary, ecological defense. Don't miss the online responses by Mathew Humphrey, Simon Dalby, Clare Palmer, and Mark Woods.
United States Must Redefine "Fair Trade" | 01/29/2007 Devin Stewart argues that it is in the enlightened self-interest of the United States, as the greatest beneficiary of globalization, to foster freedom and fairness not only at home but also in the global economy.
The China Factor in African Ethics | 12/21/2006 Many African governments perceive China as a welcome counterpoint to the United States and the West in general, especially when the latter criticizes African human rights practices in Africa.
Dan Rather Interviews Alberto J. Mora, Former U.S. Navy General Counsel | 11/02/2006 Alberto Mora discusses the damage that the abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib have done to the United States, both domestically and internationally.
Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope | 05/01/2006 Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi discusses Iran's human rights situation, including gender and religious discrimination, and restrictions on freedom of expression. While democracy is incomplete, she says, it cannot be imposed from without, but must develop from within.
Arguing About War (2006) | 02/28/2006 For the first time since his classic "Just and Unjust Wars" was published in 1977, Professor Michael Walzer has again collected his most provocative arguments about contemporary military conflicts and the ethical issues they raise.
"Saving Amina": Global Justice for Women and Intercultural Dialogue [Abstract] | 11/11/2005 Western moral and political theorists have devoted much attention to the victimization of women by non-western cultures, wrote Alison Jaggar in 2005. But, conceiving injustice to poor women in poor countries as a matter of their oppression by illiberal cultures yields an incomplete understanding of their situation. Free online till December 31, 2014.
Four Freedoms | 09/28/2005
This 2005 booklet explores the George W. Bush administration's policies in the light of FDR's "Four Freedoms" and asks, "How are we measuring up?"
World Poverty and Human Rights [Full Text] | 03/30/2005 Despite a high and growing global average income, billions of human beings are still condemned to lifelong severe poverty, with all its attendant evils of low life expectancy, social exclusion, ill health, illiteracy, dependency, and effective enslavement. This problem is solvable, despite its magnitude.
The Marsh Arabs of Iraq: The Legacy of Saddam Hussein and an Agenda for Restoration and Justice | 10/26/2004 While Saddam Hussein's persecution of the Kurds is well known, few are aware that he drained Iraq's southern marshlands as part of a deliberate strategy to destroy the lives of the region's inhabitants, known as the Marsh Arabs. This 2004 panel discusses their plight and what is being done to restore at least part of the marshes.
Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics | 04/13/2004 Joseph Nye's concept of "soft power" has become part of the international relations lexicon. In this 2004 book talk, he argues that hard power alone cannot deal with terrorism successfully. We must use a combination of hard and soft power.
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda | 01/29/2003 Dallaire recalls the agony of not being able to take action to halt the Rwandan genocide because he lacked the requisite authority as well as manpower and equipment. In essence, he lacked the support of the international community.
One World: The Ethics of Globalization | 10/29/2002 If we agree with the notion of a global community, then we must extend our concepts of justice, fairness, and equity beyond national borders by supporting measures to decrease global warming and to increase foreign aid, argues Professor Peter Singer.
The Mystery of Capital | 05/08/2002 Economist De Soto's simple but revolutionary concept of the importance of property rights and rule of law is transforming developing countries around the world. He shows that by creating clear, enforceable, universally recognized property laws, they stand to realize $10 trillion in "dead capital."
A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide | 04/11/2002 Why did the United States largely ignore the Rwandan genocide and yet devote endless time to the contemporaneous Bosnian crisis? According to Samantha Power, the reason is "politics, politics, politics."
What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response | 03/26/2002 In this learned talk given just six months after 9/11, Lewis explains that in the Middle East there are two prevailing opinions about why the Islamic world now lags behind the West. One is that it has failed to keep up with modernity. The other is almost the exact opposite: it has become too much "like the infidels" and abandoned its own traditions and faith.
Can Asians Think? Understanding the Divide Between East and West | 01/24/2002 The world is nearing the end of a 500-year cycle of Western-dominated history that began with European colonization, says Mahbubani. The end of the Cold War "unfroze" historical forces, but most Americans remain unaware that major changes are imminent.
The Ethics of the "New War" in the Aftermath of 9/11 | 10/20/2001 The U.S.-led coalition against terrorism has begun bombing Taliban targets in Afghanistan. But will this achieve its aims, or merely provoke the terrorists to commit further acts of violence? How can we avoid being trapped in an endless cycle of victimhood and revenge?
Universalism and Jewish Values (2001) | 05/15/2001 Though they lacked any state or territory of their own, Jews nevertheless created a distinctive political philosophy, one that deserves systematic scholarly attention.
The Destiny of Freedom: Political Legacies of the Twentieth Century | 12/11/1998 Speaking in 1998, Dr. Buultjens identifies a recurring cycle of conflict followed by political and economic disintegration that distinguishes the 20th century. He asks: "Do we have to repeat 20th-century history and pass through still another cycle, or can we break out of these sequences and create a new future? Is trend destiny, or can we bypass history?"
Technology and Social Justice | 11/25/1997 "How can we make ethics drive technology in such a way that the evil consequences are minimized and the good maximized?" In this insightful and visionary 1997 talk, Freeman Dyson looks back at the effects of past innovations and forward to cheap solar energy, genetic engineering of industrial crop plants, and universal access to the Internet.
Human Rights and Asian Values | 05/25/1997 Human rights are neither a uniquely Western phenomenon nor a hindrance to economic development, the charges usually leveled against those who seek to implement human rights in Asia. In this valuable 1997 lecture, Amartya Sen points to intellectual strands within Asian thought that value human rights.
On Moral Equivalency and Cold War History [Abstract] | 12/04/1996 "National History Standards" and the Smithsonian's abortive effort to mount a 50th anniversary exhibit on the decision to drop the atomic bomb suggest that historians need to rethink some of their academic approaches to this subject, wrote John Lewis Gaddis in 1996. Free online till December 31, 2014.
Ethical Issues for Today (1996) | 11/06/1996 What is the difference between ethics and law? Unlike the law, ethics involves other people, says Elie Wiesel, in this powerful, moving, and wide-ranging talk in 1996. We must be sensitive to the needs of others and constantly ask ourselves if we are doing enough to stand up for victims and care for others, both compatriots and strangers.
The New Dimensions of Human Rights | 05/26/1995 "The interface between ethics and science will hence be the new frontier of politics—the third new dimension of human rights," warns Zbigniew Brzezinski in this 1995 lecture. Increasingly, politics is likely to be dominated by ethical dilemmas stimulated by science's potential for reshaping the very nature of the human being.
Covert Intervention as a Moral Problem [Abstract] | 12/02/1989 Often manipulative and sometimes anonymous, covert operations raise critical morality concerns in a democratic society. Written in 1989 in light of scandals in the mid-1970s and 1980s such as the Iran-Contra affair, this article poses questions that still need to be addressed today. Free online until December 31, 2014.
The Nuclear Dilemma: The Greatest Moral Problem of All Time | 05/12/1988 "We all know that we are the first generation of humans since Genesis that can totally destroy the human species and make our beautiful planet uninhabitable." In this 1998 talk which is sadly still all too relevant, Hesburgh laments the nuclear arms race between the U.S. and the USSR, and proposes practical steps towards reducing the nuclear arsenal.
Superpower Ethics: The Rules of the Game [Abstract] | 12/02/1987 International systems have historically come in two forms: those based on the balance of power and those of a revolutionary nature, including systems organized around bipolar competition. Stanley Hoffmann finds the world order of 1987 to contain both these systems and judges it both ambiguous and original. To mark Dr. Hoffmann's death on September 13, 2015, this article is free online for a limited time.
Is Democratic Theory for Export? | 05/26/1986 Barzun argues that democracy is a historical development and mode of life peculiar to the political context in which it developed. Attempts to export it (as sought by both the Reagan and Clinton administrations) will surely fail. Again and again, events have proved him right.
Carlos Fuentes on Politics, Language, and Literature (1980) | 09/01/1980 Carlos Fuentes, Mexico's former ambassador to France and famed novelist, short story writer, and essayist, spent the 1979-80 academic year teaching at Princeton. In this wide-ranging conversation at the University of Notre Dame, he discusses "El boom" generation of Latin American writers, politics, education, and more.
A Conversation with Jonas Savimbi: "We Are Working for One Angola" (1979) | 09/15/1979
When Jonas Savimbi died in 2002, Angolans celebrated in the streets, hoping for peace at last after decades of civil war. But when he visited the Council during the Cold War, he was considered a heroic fighter against communism. His group was being financed by the U.S. and South Africa, while his opponents were aided by thousands of Cuban troops.
"Do Not Forget Us!" (1978) | 05/01/1978 Activist Bayard Rustin reports on meeting Indochinese refugees in Thai camps, who fled their countries in fear of their lives. He exhorts America to open its doors and makes a special appeal to his fellow African-Americans, declaring: "Black people must recognize these people for what they are: brothers and sisters, not enemies and competitors."
An Underpraised and Undervalued System (1977) | 07/30/1977 Novak invokes what he calls the creed of democratic capitalism: "(a) individual freedom and the methods of trial-and-error; (b) the innate selfishness and corruptibility of every human being; and (c) the capacity of a system of checks and balances to transform selfishness and corruptibility into a modicum of creativity, virtue, efficiency, and decency."
The Other China: Hunger Part I - The Three Red Flags of Death (1976) | 05/01/1976 Up to to 43 million people died in China's famine of 1959-61, but few knew about it until decades later. Yet the information was there. From 1965-75, the Londons interviewed Chinese refugees and reported on the real story. It's hard to comprehend millions of deaths. These vivid and distressing interview excerpts bring it home.
Reinhold Niebuhr's Personal Reflections on Britain, 1920s-1940s (Written in 1962) | 07/15/1974 In this piece, unpublished during his lifetime, the great theologian Reinhold Niebuhr reminisces about significant British personalities he knew well, in particular Sir Stafford Cripps, and also offers an analysis of the relative merits of British, American and Continental forms of culture and politics.
An Ambassador's Reflections on a Bloodbath (1974) | 05/01/1974 Everyone knows of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, when Hutus massacred Tutsis. But few have heard of the 1972 genocide in neighboring Burundi, when Tutsis slaughtered 80,000-210,000 Hutus. U.S. Ambassador Melady was an eyewitness. In this 1974 article, he discusses Burundi and other countries where hostile groups live side by side.
On the Moral Implications of Torture and Exemplary Assassination | 05/01/1970 First published in May 1970 during the Vietnam War, this WORLDVIEW magazine article is just as relevant today.
A New Sense of Direction (1968) | 04/30/1970 Dr. King gave this speech just a few months before his assassination and it is his last thorough evaluation of the movement. Still sadly relevant, he discusses U.S. racism, injustice, and militarism, and despite all, reaffirms his commitment to non-violence.
Mission to Hanoi, 1968 | 04/29/1970 In February 1968, peace activist Father Daniel Berrigan and historian Howard Zinn flew to Hanoi to obtain the release of three American prisoners of war. Here are Berrigan's notes from that historic trip. "The mission is calculated to outrage some on both sides," he writes.
The Year that was 1963 | 01/06/1970
"Nineteen sixty-three has proved a turbulent and a humbling year....The deaths of two men did most to remind us sharply of the kind of world we live in and the values we hold most dear. Both Pope John XXIII and John F. Kennedy emphasized the use of reason and the necessity for peace, and the need for reason in the pursuit of peace."
Visiting Mahatma Gandhi, 1929 | 01/05/1970 In 1928-29, Henry Atkinson, president of the Church Peace Union (now Carnegie Council) took a five-month trip through Asia to meet with religious leaders and persuade them to work together for world peace. In this fascinating excerpt from his travel diary he records his visit with Mahatma Gandhi, who is very welcoming and gracious, but skeptical.
Hope Rises from Ashes of World War I: CPU President William Merrill, 1919 | 01/04/1970
The first major initiative of the Church Peace Union (now Carnegie Council) was an international conference in southern Germany, opening on August 1, 1914. However, in a bitter irony, Germany invaded Belgium on August 4. CPU president William Merrill explains the mixture of despair and hope with which the CPU faced the outbreak of World War I.
Patriotism and Altruism (1915) | 01/03/1970 As a response to World War I, in 1915-16 the Church Peace Union (now Carnegie Council) launched an innovative program of peace education in churches and Sunday Schools. It also held an essay contest, and the young Reinhold Niebuhr won the top prize for seminary students. Here is his winning essay, dated 1915.
Resolutions Passed by The Church Peace Union [now Carnegie Council], at its First Meeting, February 10th, 1914 | 01/03/1970 In 1914, members of The Church Peace Union and a group of religious bodies appealed "to the Rulers, Statesmen, and people of all civilized lands" to provide a remedy for the state of the world.
Andrew Carnegie's Welcoming Words to Gathering of the Trustees of the CHURCH PEACE UNION [now Carnegie Council] at his Home, February 10, 1914 | 01/03/1970
"Truly, gentlemen, you are making history, for this is the first union of the churches in advocacy of international peace, which I fondly hope, and strongly believe, is certain to hasten the coming of the day when men, disgracing humanity, shall cease to kill each other like wild beasts."
UNION is the Word! February 4, 1914 | 01/02/1970 What's in a name? Carnegie's preference for "Union" over "Foundation" for the name of his new peace organization likely reflected his insistence that the board contain representatives of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish faiths, decades before such interfaith cooperation would be commonplace.
Andrew Carnegie's New Year Greeting, 1914 | 01/01/1970 "We send this New Year Greeting, January 1, 1914, strong in the faith that International Peace is soon to prevail, thru several of the great powers agreeing to settle their disputes by arbitration under International Law, the pen thus proving mightier than the sword."