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The Technology and Culture Forum is a ministry of the Episcopal Chaplain at MIT, and grows out of the church’s commitment to peace, justice, and upholding human dignity. Our programs challenge participants to consider how their work as scientists, engineers, managers, and citizens furthers these ideals.

During the academic year, TAC hosted programs on international development, the media and the presidential campaign, nuclear proliferation, the theology of sustainability, politics and popular culture, Chinese reform and US-Chinese relations, food locavorism and global climate change. TAC also began offering, in co-sponsorship with the MIT Philosophy Department, an undergraduate seminar on ethics: Being, Thinking, Doing (or not): Ethics and Your Life. This lively and popular seminar will be offered for the 3rd year in the spring of 2011.

Kids from Youth Can Session

  Robot Malalai Joya Poster for "Making Waves, Saving Lives: A Film" Youth CAN May 2009 Caytie Campbell-0rrock ID Fair Wired for War bookcover American and Chinese Flag Radical Abundance - a theology of sustainability

Past Forums

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[ Past Speakers ]

Forums 2010-2011

Read our 2010-2011 Annual Report


Youth Summit on Global Climate Change

Saturday, May 21
The Stata Center, Building 32 - click here for map

5th Annual Youth Summit on Global Warming hosted by T&C and the Boston Latin School's Youth Climate Action Network! The day will be filled with informative and fun workshops, free food and prizes. Last year's summit was a big success and this year's promises to be even better

Unstable Platforms: The Promise and Peril of Transition: An International Conference

May 13-15
Wong Auditorium, MIT Building E51 - click here for map

This seventh Media in Transition conference will focus directly the core topic – the experience of transition. The first conference, sponsored by the MIT Communications Forum in 1999, considered this subject. With the development of Facebook, iPhones, BitTorrent, IPTV and many other changes, the discussion will be far-reaching and provocative. Please join us.

Sponsored by the MIT Communications Forum with support from the Technology and Culture Forum, Comparative Media Studies, Literature @ MIT and Writing and Humanistic Studies at MIT. Please go to Agenda for a complete listing of programs and speakers.

Media in Transition conferences are free and open to the public, but you should register in order to ensure admittance.

Putting the Genie Back in the Bottle: MIT Faculty and Nuclear Arms Reduction

Wednesday, May 4
Check back here soon for an audio link to this program

Aron Bernstein, MIT Professor Emeritus, Physics
Alex Wellerstein,History of Science, Harvard University
Jim Walsh, Research Associate, Security Studies Program, Center for International Studies, MIT
Kosta Tsipis, Former Director, MIT Program in Science and Technology for International Security

After the Manhattan Project and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War resulted in an enormous proliferation and deployment of nuclear weapons by the US and USSR, and their spread to other nations. In parallel, a robust movement against the development and testing of nuclear weapons also developed.

Starting in 1945, many Manhattan Project alumni were active participants in the effort to make sure that these weapons would never be used again, and to warn the general public about their dangers. At MIT this included Phil Morrison, Victor Weisskopf, Bernard Feld, Cyril Stanley Smith and others. As the years went on, and the problem only got larger, many more joined in. At MIT these included Hanry Kendall, Salvador Luria, Jerome Wiesner, Kosta Tsipis, George Rathjens, Vera Kistiakowski, Aron Bernstein, Jonathan King, and others among the faculty as well as many students and postdocs.

On March 4, 1968 a day of protest about the development of multi-warhead missiles (MIRV) was held at MIT. This event initiated a worldwide movement and led to the formation of the Union of Concerned Scientists , later led by Henry Kendall. The MIT campus aspects of this concern were aided by the Technology and Culture Forum.

As a contribution to the MIT 150 commemorations, the MIT Faculty Newsletter and the T&C Forum have organized this symposium to honor and review this part of MIT's history, and to focus on today's no less urgent need to prevent nuclear war -- the ultimate disaster for the Earth. Continuing urgent concerns include nuclear reactor accidents, nuclear weapons proliferation, and the need to accelerate the global reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear arsenals.

Sponsored by the MIT Faculty Newsletter, MIT Technology and Culture Forum, MIT Program in Science, Technology and Society Program and the MIT Physics Department

The Internet and Political Conflict in the Middle East

Wednesday, May 4, 2011, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
MIT Museum Soapbox Series
Watch the archived video of this event

Ethan Zuckerman, Senior Researcher, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University.
Dr Marlyn Tadros, Executive Director, Virtual Activism, and Visiting Scholar, Northeastern University

Speakers from Cairo:

• Mr. Abdullah Helmey, Member, RYU* Executive Office Bureau; representative, Reform and Development Party
• Dr. Rana Farouk, Media Officer & Member, RYU Executive Office Bureau
• Mohamed Salem, Blogger

*Revolution Youth Union

Click here to watch a TED talk by Ethan Zuckerman

Join MIT Museum Director John Durant and international guests for timely discussion about the role – and control – of the Internet during periods of social and political change. This special breakfast-time Soap Box will feature informal café-style conversation with experts in Cambridge and (by live link) in Cairo Egypt, with whom we will discuss the (ab)uses of electronic social networks during the recent “January 25 Revolution”.

Co-sponsored by the Technology and Culture Forum with additional support from the National Science Foundation

This program is part of the Cambridge Science Festival

Watch the live webcast

Women in Religious Leadership Today

Tuesday, May 3, 7:15pm
Building W11; 40 Massachusetts Avenue - click here for map

Shenila Khoja-Moolji, Research Associate, Harvard Divinity School, The Pluralism Project
Sister Margaret Leonard, Executive Director, Project Hope
Lama Willa Miller, Founder, Tibetan Buddhist Meditation, Natural Dharma Fellowship
Judith Rosenbaum, Director of Public History, Jewish Women's Archive

Co-sponsored with the Addir Fellows program

Women in Conflict Zones: A Global Perspective

Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Kenya  7:00-9:00 in MIT Room 4-231 Discussion with director, Alexander Smith, following the film Refreshments will be served.

Produced in 2011, "Impunity or Justice" addresses the problem of impunity for rape and other sexual violence following the 2007 election and today, through interviews with survivors, health workers, legal aid providers, and senior Kenya Police officials.

7:00-9:00pm in MIT Room 2-105 - click here for map

Carline Desire, Executive Director of the Association for Haitian Women
Judy Norsigian, Executive Director, Our Bodies Ourselves
David Adams, Ed.D., Co-Director, Emerge

Moderator: Fran Froehlich, Executive Director, Community Works

Organized and Co-sponsored with CommunityWorks

Dinner Discussion
Speaker: Dr. Abha Sur, MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 7:00-9:00pm
14E-304 - click here for map

Join us for a dinner discussion about gendered violence, paternalism and cultural imperialism in feminist conversations, and power structures. This dinner discussion, led by Dr. Sur, will bring together themes introduced in the programs on Tuesday and Wednesday. and the Boston panel.

Co-sponsored with End the Violence Campaign, MIT Women's and Gender Studies and the Program in Violence Prevention and Response, MIT Medical.

A Conversation with Sherry Turkle

Tuesday, April 12
66-110 - click here for map

Sherry Turkle, MIT professor and author, most recently of Alone, Together, will discuss her evolving view of our digitized world.

Co-Sponsored with the MIT Communications Forum

Click here to listen to this program


Sexual Assault Awareness Week

April 10
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Walk
11am Cambridgeside Galleria

April 11-15
*MIT White Ribbon Project
Wear a white ribbon to show your support!

*MIT Clothesline Project
Traveling all week from Lobby 10 to W20 to DAPER

*MIT Residence Parties
Sigma Kappa, April 3rd
Ashdown, April 7th
Sidney-Pacific, April 11th
McCormick, April 12th

*Big Movie Night: Speak
April 13th, 7pm, Bldg 6-120

*Take Back the Night
April 14th, 7pm, Lobby 10

For help or more info, email VPR at vpradvocate@med.mit.edu.

Sponsored by the Program for Violence Prevention and Response, MIT Medical, The Technology and Culture Forum. the MIT Coop, MIT Student Activities Office, Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming, Residential Life Programs and the MIT Program in Women's and Gender Studies

International Development Night @ the MIT Museum

Saturday, April 2
MIT Museum - click here for map

Please join us for a fascinating expo and reception hosted by MIT’s International Development Initiative (IDI).This event is being held in conjunction with the 2011 Harvard International Development Conference. Refreshments will be served.

Budrus: A Documentary

Thursday, March 31
6-120 - click here for map

It takes a village to unite the most divided people on earth.
Budrus is an award-winning feature documentary film about a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel's Separation Barrier. Success eludes them until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a women's contingent that quickly moves to the front lines. Struggling side by side, father and daughter unleash an inspiring, yet little-known, movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that is still gaining ground today.

In an action-filled documentary chronicling this movement from its infancy, Budrus shines a light on people who choose nonviolence to confront a threat. While this film is about one Palestinian village, it tells a much bigger story about what is possible in the Middle East.

Discussion with filmmakers and closing reception to follow.

Cosponsored with MIT Women's and Gender Studies MIT, The Center for International Studies and Palestine@MIT


Wednesday, March 23, 2011
E14 - 6th Floor, Silverman Room - click here for map

This program will examine how bullying presents and effects young children and middleschoolers, how it evolves and intensifies through high school, the role of social media and technology, and ways to address it or prevent it from taking place.

Frida Wosk, M.D.,  Pediatrics, MIT Medical
Mary Rafferty, M.Ed., Team Chairperson, Student Support Service  Swampscott School District
Karthik Dinakar, Graduate Student,  MIT Media Lab
Birago Jones, Graduate Student, MIT Media Lab

The Diversity Dinner Series is sponsored by Building Inclusion & Diversity Committee at MIT Medical with support from the Technology and Culture Forum at MIT

Iraqi Women in the "New Iraq": Law, Violence & Mobilization

Tuesday, March 15
4-237 - click here for map

Speaker: Professor Nadje Al-Ali, University of London

Iraq is not news anymore except during suicide bombings and targeted attacks of religious minorities, politicians and professionals. But what happened to Iraqi women who were promised liberation, greater rights and an important role in the “new Iraq”? In this talk, Prof. Al-Ali will critically reflect on the legal, political and social conditions and developments in post-invasion Iraq. She will pay particular attention to various forms of increasing gender based violence and discuss the mobilization against it. She will address the importance of transnational feminist solidarity that takes an intersectional approach as its basis for mobilization.

Nadje Al-Ali is Professor of Gender Studies and Chair of the Centre for Gender Studies, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her main research interests revolve around gender theory; feminist activism; women and gender in the Middle East; transnational migration and diaspora mobilization; war, conflict and reconstruction. Her publications include What kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq and Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present. Nadje is currently President of the Association of Middle East Women¹s Studies (AMEWS).

Sponsored by MIT Women's and Gender Studies.

Women Without Men: A Film by Shirin Neshat

Friday, March 18
32-141 - click here for map

In her feature-film debut, renowned visual artist Shirin Neshat offers an exquisitely crafted view of Iran in 1953, when a British- and American-backed coup removed the democratically elected government. Adapted from the novel by Iranian author Shahrnush Parsipur, the film weaves together the stories of four individual women during those traumatic days, whose experiences are shaped by their faith and the social structures in place.

With a camera that floats effortlessly through the lives of the women and the beautiful countryside of Iran, Neshat explores the social, political, and psychological dimensions of her characters as they meet in a metaphorical garden, where they can exist and reflect while the complex intellectual and religious forces shaping their world linger in the air around them.

Discussion with author of the novel Women Without Men, Shahrnush Parsipur, to follow.

Co-Sponsored with MIT Women's and Gender Studies and MIT Amnesty

Security Theater or Serious Security?
Airport Pat-Downs, Scanners and the Fourth Amendment

Friday, December 3
Location: Stata 32-155 — click here for map

Nancy Murray, Director of Education
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts
Fred McWiliams, MIT Radiation Protection Program

Brown bag lunch; coffee/tea/cold drinks provided

Human Trafficking in the Boston Area

A Dinner Discussion with members of the Boston Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force

Monday, November 22
Location: 4-145 — click here for map

Dinner provided
PLEASE RSVP to maryxu@mit.edu

Come learn about human trafficking in our own city Boston! Detective Donna Gavin and Human Trafficking Coordinator Mr. Thomas Maloney of the Boston Police will speak about their work at Boston Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. The Task Force combats trafficking by rescuing and supporting victims, investigating human traffickers, prosecuting human traffickers and those that conspire with them. Come hear their stories!

Human Trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain or maintain someone in service and the use of a minor for commercial sexual activity. There are approximately 17,000 victims of human trafficking that enter the United States each year.

Sponsored by MIT Amnesty


November 16, 2010
Location: 35-225 — click here for map

Listen to this program (MP3)

David Altshuler, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT
James C. Greenwood, President and CEO, BIO
Chris Hansen, Senior National Staff Counsel, ACLU
Leslie Meyer-Leon, President, IP Legal Strategies

Moderator: Joshua Boger, Biotechnology Industry Organization

Patents on human genes have remained highly controversial more than two decades after the U.S. Patent Office began granting them. The controversy was recently brought to a head in the case of ACLU v. Myriad Genetics, in which Judge Sweet ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), invalidating several of Myriad's patents on genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer. The case is now on appeal and may eventually be brought before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The permissibility of gene patents raises a variety of questions:

- Are gene patents necessary to provide sufficient incentives for private companies to invest in genetic research, develop diagnostics and therapeutics, and otherwise innovate?

- Do gene patents promote or stifle future genetic research and scholarship in academic or government-supported settings?

- Do gene patents result in greater or lesser access by patients to diagnostic tests, therapeutic treatments, and other medical advances?

- What can we learn from the controversy over gene patents about the legal, economic, and ethical value of patents in other fields?

Co-sponsored with ACLU of Massachusetts and The Broad Institute


Thursday, November 4
4-163 — click here for map

FOR NEDA reveals the true story of Neda Agha-Soltan, who became another tragic casualty of Iran's violent crackdown on post-election Iranian in 2009.

Co-Sponsored with MIT Amnesty International and hosted by End the Violence an initiative sponsored by T&C.

Exploring the Myths and Facts of Sexual Exploitation

*The amount of time it takes a young runaway to be approached by a pimp.

Tuesday, November 9
Stata; 32D-461 — click here for map

Speaker: Nikki Valila, ACT Program Director, Germaine Lawrence Home

Nikki specializes in working with sexually exploited girls and has been working with this population for over 7 years. ACT (Acknowledge, Commit, Transform) Group Home exclusively serves girls who have been, or are at risk for being commercially sexually exploited. The group home offers therapeutic services in a warm, nurturing environment to help girls develop a positive identity, healthy connections to their family and community, and skills to live a healthy and independent lifestyle.

Co-Sponsored with Women and Gender Studies at MIT and hosted by End the Violence an initiative sponsored by T&C.


Robert V. Taylor
Thursday, October 21
Simmons Hall — click here for map

Listen to this program (MP3)

Robert V. Taylor is Chair of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation in New York.  Born and raised in South Africa, Robert saw firsthand the potential for peace making when oppressed people find the courage to be who they are through discovering their voices and trusting their imagination. In 1980 his mentor, Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent Robert to the United States to avoid imprisonment for his anti-apartheid activity. A graduate of Rhodes University in South and Union Theological Seminary in New York he eventually became the highest ranking openly gay clergy person in the Episcopal Church at the time.  He lectures nationally on compassion, peace-making and reconciliation engaging audience across the United States in realizing their full human potential and impact in the world.

His lecture will address the way in which reconciling peacemaking is a grounding transformative ethic in our personal lives and in society reorienting how we perceive ourselves and others.  He will explore the ways in which technology and social media offer ground breaking opportunities for creating a new normalcy to local and global peace-making and reconciliation, and how this expands our understanding of the inter-connectedness of all people with implications for reframing the landscape of power dynamics among diverse peoples.  He will draw on his own involvement in creating an open source peace platform with its potential for a transformative ethic of human engagement.

Robert V. Taylor is a nationally recognized leader, author, and sought-after speaker and media commentator. He is absolutely passionate about helping individuals and organizations to realize their full human potential and impact in the world—and has invested a lifetime in doing just that.

This program is co-sponsored with the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values.


Friday, September 24
Stata Street

The Fair is traditionally held each year early in the fall semester and provides incoming and continuing MIT students, recent graduates and members of the MIT community an opportunity to learn about ways that they can become engaged in international development through student groups, non-profit organizations, academic course offerings and other activities on and around MIT's campus. Groups and organizations of all types set up booths to display their development projects and enlist the interested individuals who pass through the fair grounds.

The annual Fair is organized by the MIT International Development Network (IDN), a community network developed to promote and share information about activities, programs, events, and formal academic offerings related to international development.