Plenary speakers

Jean Bethke Elshtain
H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr.
William Galston
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin
Richard John Neuhaus
David Novak
Charles Taylor

Jean Bethke Elshtain

Divinity School, University of Chicago

Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago. She is the author of many books, including:

Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy
Who Are We? Critical Reflections and Hopeful Possibilities
Augustine and the Limits of Politics
Democracy on Trial
Women and War
Power Trips and Other Journeys
Meditations on Modern Political Thought
Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought

She is the editor of The Family in Political Thought; co-editor of Women, Militarism, and War; co-author of But Was It Just? Reflections on the Morality of the Persian Gulf War; editor of Politics and the Human Body; and editor of Just War Theory. Professor Elshtain is also the author of over four hundred articles and essays in scholarly journals and journals of civic opinion. In 1996, she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the recipient of seven honorary degrees. She is Co-Chair of the recently established Pew Forum on Religion and American Public Life.


H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr.

Professor of Philosophy, Rice University
Center for Ethics, Medicine and Public Issues
Professor Emeritus, Baylor College of Medicine

Tristram Engelhardt is author of The Foundations of Bioethics, Bioethics and Secular Humanism, and other widely read works. He is also editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, and co-editor of Christian Bioethics. Professor Engelhardt has in a number of ways helped to define, and to challenge, the discipline of bioethics. His current research is focused on explanatory models in medicine, the development of modern concepts of health and disease, and rights and responsibilities in health care. He is also knowledgeable in Continental philosophy.

William Galston

Professor, School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland
Director, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy

William Galston is a political theorist who both studies and participates in American politics and domestic policy. In the first two years of the Clinton administration he served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. Since 1989 he has been a senior advisor to the Democratic Leadership Council and to the Progressive Policy Institute. He is also the founding director of CIRCLE (the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) and co-editor of The Responsive Community, a journal that explores the issues of community, responsibility, and the common good in public policy. He is the author of six books, including Liberal Purposes: Goods, Virtues, and Diversity in the Liberal State, and nearly one hundred articles. In recent years he has focused increasingly on family policy. His voluntary sector activities include service as executive director of the National Commission on Civic Renewal, and as chair of a task force on religion and public values, for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.


Beverley McLachlin

Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Canada

The Right Hon. Beverley McLachlin, P.C., was called to the Bar of Alberta in 1969 and to the Bar of British Columbia in 1971, practicing law with several firms. She was later a professor at the University of British Columbia, until her appointment to the County Court of Vancouver in 1981. In the same year she was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and in 1985 to the Court of Appeal of British Columbia. She became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1988, and in the following year was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. She became Chief Justice of Canada on January 7, 2000. She is chair of the Canadian Judicial Council, of the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada, and of the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute. She is also a member of the Privy Council of Canada.


Richard John Neuhaus

President, Institute on Religion and Public Life
New York

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus is acclaimed as one of the foremost authorities on the role of religion in the contemporary world. He is President of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, a nonpartisan inter-religious research and education institute in New York City, and editor-in-chief of First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life. Among his best-known books are The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America; The Catholic Moment: the Paradox of the Church in the Postmodern World; Believing Today: Jew and Christian in Conversation (with Rabbi Leon Klenicki); and The End of Democracy? US News and World Report named him one of the 32 "most influential intellectuals in America." For 17 years, as a Lutheran clergyman, he was senior pastor of a low-income Black parish in Brooklyn, New York. He has held leadership roles in organizations dealing with civil rights, international justice and ecumenism, and is the recipient of numerous honours from universities and other institutions.

David Novak

Professor of the Study of Religion, Professor of Philosophy
University of Toronto

David Novak holds the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto, and is Director of the Jewish Studies Programme. He is a member of University College and of the Joint Centre for Bioethics. A Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research and the Academy for Jewish Philosophy, he has also served on the International Advisory Board convened by the Government of Poland for the future of the Auschwitz-Birkenau site. David Novak is primarily engaged in the study of the philosophical aspects of the Jewish legal tradition, including research and writing in the area of political theory. He is the author of many books, including The Election of Israel: The Idea of the Chosen People, Natural Law in Judaism, and its sequel, Covenantal Rights.

Charles Taylor

Professor Emeritus
Philosophy Department, McGill University

Charles Taylor is one of the world's best-known contemporary philosophers. Among his many publications are Hegel and Modern Society, Social Theory as Practice, Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity, The Malaise of Modernity (based on the Massey Lectures for 1991), and Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition. His current research involves an investigation of the political culture of modernity.