Calendar of Events

All events are open to the public.

February 9, 2017

Ethics in Action: Ethics and Wall Street


Almost a decade ago, the world plunged into the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression—a crisis from which we are still recovering. This crisis was driven largely by a culture of greed, excess, and reckless risk-taking in the financial sector. In the aftermath of that crisis, the Obama administration opted to bail out Wall Street rather than Main Street, prioritizing the balance sheets of banks over homeowners. At the same time, hardly anyone in the sector was held accountable, and its culture did not change. According to a recent survey of 1,200 financial professionals, 20 percent felt it was sometimes necessary for people to engage in illegal or unethical behavior to succeed. Over the past decade, Wall Street firms have been embroiled in wave after wave of financial fraud and malfeasance—receiving barely more than a slap on the wrist for each ethical transgression.

Not only does Wall Street continue to operate with almost complete impunity, but it enjoys outsized influence in the halls of power. With the new administration, even limited attempts at reform such as the Dodd-Frank Act could now be on the chopping block.

This is a core issue where ethics bumps hard into economic reality, as unethical action can have deep and lasting consequences for individuals and society. It also raises vital questions about the kinds of values that should underpin our economy.

At this event, Professor Jeffrey Sachs will moderate a robust discussion on the role of the financial sector in furthering the common good of society. It will address what Wall Street does right, what it does wrong, what reforms are needed, and what role ethical deliberation should play in guiding financial market participants.

Our distinguished panel includes:

  • Judge Jed Rakoff, US District Judge for the Southern District of New York, Adjunct Professor of Law at Columbia Law School
  • Sheelah Kolhatkar, Staff Writer at The New Yorker and author of Black Edge
  • Ari Melber, MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent
  • Bob Ivry, Staff reporter for Bloomberg News and author of The Seven Sins of Wall Street

Signed copies of books by Ms. Kolhatkar and Mr. Ivry will be available for purchase after the event. Professor Sachs will also be signing copies of his new book, Building the New American Economy (foreword by Bernie Sanders).

Please join us by registering at the attached link. This event is free. Following the discussion, you will have a chance to ask questions of the panelists.

Start: February 9, 2017 6:30 pm
End: February 9, 2017 8:00 pm
Venue: New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 West 64th Street at Central Park West, New York, NY, 10023, United States
Cost: Free

January 18, 2017

Book Launch – Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair & Sustainable

This event will include a lecture by Professor Sachs, followed by a book signing. The event is free and open to the public.

Please register HERE.

Start: January 18, 2017 4:30 pm
End: January 18, 2017 6:00 pm
Venue: Low Library Rotunda
Columbia University, New York, NY, 10027, United States
Cost: Free

November 29, 2016

Ethics in Action: “The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals” with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon


A Dialogue with Prof. Jeffrey Sachs and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Join the Ethics in Action Initiative for an interview with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon by Professor Jeffrey Sachs. They will discuss the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted last September by 193 countries — goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years, and for that to happen, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and… us New Yorkers.

Collaborating with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Religions for Peace, Ethical Culture will convene a series of meetings over the next few months, bringing together a select group of community leaders to dialogue with Jeffrey Sachs about some of the great social, economic, political, and environmental challenges facing the world today — and specifically facing New York City.

Based on the premise that these are profoundly ethical challenges, they require not only technical solutions but the actualization of universal ethical principles such as human dignity, social justice, the common good, and shared well-being. Since individuals and communities at all levels have genuine capacities to respond to these challenges, they have related moral obligations to do so. The issues will be discussed in an effort identify the values and ethics needed to respond effectively to them—and hopefully to forge a shared moral consensus that can serve as an impetus for action.

Start: November 29, 2016 6:30 pm
End: November 29, 2016 8:00 pm
Venue: New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 West 64th Street at Central Park West, New York, NY, 10023, United States
Cost: Free

March 5, 2015

The Age of Sustainable Development

Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, presents The Age of Sustainable Development, offering readers a way to understand the world and help solve its problems through a holistic approach to well-being and development.

See more information here

Start: March 5, 2015 7:00 pm
End: March 5, 2015 8:00 pm
Venue: Barnes & Noble
2289 Broadway, New York City, NY, 10024, United States
Cost: Free

March 2, 2015

Book Launch: The Age of Sustainable Development

Jeffrey D. Sachs is one of the world’s most perceptive and original analysts of global development. In this major new work he presents a compelling and practical framework for how global citizens can use a holistic way forward to address the seemingly intractable worldwide problems of persistent extreme poverty, environmental degradation, and political-economic injustice: sustainable development.

Sachs offers readers, students, activists, environmentalists, and policy makers the tools, metrics, and practical pathways they need to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Far more than a rhetorical exercise, this book is designed to inform, inspire, and spur action. Based on Sachs’s twelve years as director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, his thirteen years advising the United Nations secretary-general on the Millennium Development Goals, and his recent presentation of these ideas in a popular online course, The Age of Sustainable Development is a landmark publication and clarion call for all who care about our planet and global justice.

Register here

Start: March 2, 2015 4:30 pm
End: March 2, 2015 6:00 pm
Venue: Casa Italiana
1161 Amsterdam Ave, New York City, NY, 10025, United States
Cost: Free

March 1, 2015

The Future of Life on Earth

What can we do today to help prepare future generations for the life on earth that awaits them?

Learn what positive steps can be taken now to adapt to changing populations and climates, and see how we can build and envision a positive human future.

There will be a selling and signing of Jeffrey Sachs’ book, The Age of Sustainable Development, following the event.
Start: March 1, 2015 7:30 pm
End: March 1, 2015 9:00 pm
Venue: 92Y
Lexington Avenue at 92nd St, New York City, NY, United States
Cost: 30

July 15, 2013

London: ‘To Move the World’ Discussion

Register here.

Start: July 15, 2013 6:30 pm
End: July 15, 2013 8:00 pm
Venue: London School of Economics
United States

June 14, 2013

Beyond the Great Recession and Beyond GDP

The Institute for Policy Studies’ Genuine Progress Project joins Demos in welcoming Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs for a dialogue on measuring and sustaining what matters in the 21st-Century Economy.

Start: June 14, 2013 4:30 pm
End: June 14, 2013 6:00 pm
Venue: Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
United States

Wash DC: ‘To Move the World’ Discussion

Register here.

Start: June 14, 2013 12:30 pm
End: June 14, 2013 2:00 pm
Venue: World Bank Auditorium
United States

June 13, 2013

NYC: ‘To Move the World’ Discussion

Register here.

Start: June 13, 2013 6:00 am
End: June 13, 2013 8:00 pm
Venue: Roosevelt House, Hunter College
United States