Flourishing humanity:

Ethics in Action for Sustainable Development

Courtesy of PERC

Jeffrey D. Sachs

University Professor and Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University

Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo

Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Vescovio, Italy

Owen Flanagan

Distinguished Prof. of Philosophy, co-director of the Center for Comparative Philosophy, Duke University

Anthony Annett

Gabelli Fellow at Fordham University, senior advisor at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Anna Sun

Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Duke University


Jesse Thorson

CC'18, Sustainability and ESG Strategist at Third Partners

The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the United Nations in 2015, comprise an ambitious and sweeping agenda that unites economic, social, and environmental aims. What resources do the world’s religious and secular traditions offer in support of these objectives? Which principles do these traditions hold in common, and how can these shared values help advance global goals?

This panel presents an in-depth and deeply engaged conversation among interfaith religious leaders and interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners in pursuit of an ethical consensus that could ground sustainable development efforts. Drawing on more than two years of close-knit discussions convened by Jeffrey D. Sachs and Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, it plans to cover an extensive and inclusive vision of how to promote human flourishing. The discussion features theological, philosophical, and ethical deliberations on the challenges of sustainable development, addressing questions of poverty, environmental justice, peace, conflict, and the future of work. Wide-ranging and urgent, this conversation hopes to contribute to interreligious dialogue and to the articulation of a shared global ethics.

Time will be allocated for Q&A.

Cosponsored by:
  • MIT Club of Washington DC

This program is part of the ColumbiaDC CUP series.


“In Ethics in Action for Sustainable Development, religious leaders of many faiths and scholars of many disciplines address the ethics of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Their message is timely and hopeful: the world’s great religious and ethical traditions share the common commitment to end poverty, assure social justice, and achieve environmental sustainability. The world can indeed come together to build the Future We Want."
Ban Ki-moon, former secretary-general of the United Nations

Jeffrey_Sachs_1_.jpgJeffrey D. Sachs is University Professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University as well as president of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and he has been an advisor to three UN secretaries-general.

Jeffrey_Sachs_1_.jpgMarcelo Sánchez Sorondo is a Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Vescovio, Italy, and former chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences.                                  
Jeffrey_Sachs_1_.jpgOwen Flanagan is James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and codirector of the Center for Comparative Philosophy at Duke University.                  

Jeffrey_Sachs_1_.jpgAnthony Annett is a Gabelli Fellow at Fordham University and senior advisor at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.


Jeffrey_Sachs_1_.jpgAnna Sun is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Duke University. Sun is a scholar of Confucianism in particular and of contemporary Chinese religious life in general.

 Jeffrey_Sachs_1_.jpgJesse Thorson (CC'18) is a Sustainability and ESG Strategist at Third Partners, a boutique management consultancy working for positive change. Previously he was Program Manager at the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, where he managed research and convening initiatives at the intersection of religion, ethics, and sustainability.              



CUP Series: This is a new initiative between ColumbiaDC and Columbia University Press to showcase acclaimed and pioneering work by renowned academics, scholars, and researchers published by the Columbia University Press.

March 07, 2023 at 6:30pm - 8pm


Washington, DC
United States

Miyako Yerick


Will you come?