Los Angeles

Are Ordinary Virtues More Powerful Than Universal Values?

Michael Ignatieff

LOCATION:
National Center for the Preservation of Democracy
111 N. Central Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Paid parking is available at the Little Tokyo Mall Public Parking Lot (318 E. First St.). Enter from San Pedro Street. Additional paid parking is available at the Japanese Village Plaza Parking Lot (356 E First St.) and the Office Depot Plaza Parking Lot (401 Alameda St.).
The Eighth Annual Zócalo Book Prize Lecture

Our globalized world is built on the notion of universal precepts—such as democracy and human rights—that supposedly benefit everyone. But these ideas can seem like abstractions in our daily lives. Local communities operate more according to ordinary virtues—trust, honesty, politeness, forgiveness, and respect. By shortening the distances between people and places, globalization has sharpened the conflict between the local and the global, between the principles of justice for all individuals and the need for self-determination, harmony, and basic decency within local communities. In the 21st century, how do local community needs and universal values influence, and sometimes collide with, each other? In the competition between the different moral worlds of small communities and global elites, which side is gaining the upper hand? And how do communities create and nurture shared moral values in global cities like Los Angeles, to which people of different races, religions, and national origins bring different experiences and values? Central European University rector and president Michael Ignatieff, winner of the eighth annual Zócalo Book Prize for The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World, visits Zócalo to explore whether ordinary local virtues provide the best answer to the growing divisions in our polarized planet.

Charles Jensen, winner of the seventh annual Zócalo Poetry Prize, will deliver a public reading of his winning poem prior to the lecture.

More Upcoming Events

What Will Trump’s Trade Wars Do to the U.S. Economy?

The United States is moving towards more protectionist policies—abandoning a system of free trade that America itself had built. Nationalists in the White House and labor unions are embracing tariffs to protect older industries, like steel and aluminum, while some economists encourage trade protections for America’s intellectual property and new technologies like artificial intelligence. What does greater protectionism look like …

What Can the Ancient World Teach Us About Living Sustainably?

Ancient peoples and thinkers had sophisticated ideas about living in harmony with nature. From Greek city-states to Maya civilization, people thought that what humans did—how they planted, how they worshipped, how they conducted themselves—could influence both the Earth’s behavior and their own fate. When droughts or volcanic eruptions threatened crops, rulers had to manage panicked citizens while explaining the cosmic …

Why Is the Mainland So Fascinated by Hawaii’s Food?

The poke craze that has swept across the U.S. is only the latest sign that Hawaii’s food holds a strong fascination and mystique for mainlanders. In recent years, a profusion of high-profile chefs and experimental restaurants has popularized not only poke, but Hawaii-nurtured Pan-Pacific dishes like Filipino pork and loco moco—which now can be enjoyed at a food truck in …

Can We Appreciate the Great Art of Bad People?

Eadweard Muybridge, who made the first motion pictures, was a murderer. Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot were both rabid anti-Semites. And Picasso was a brutal misogynist who drove both his wife and his mistress to suicide. Great artists have never been angels. But as we learn more about the crimes and misdemeanors of today’s artists, to what extent can we …

Will Black Panther Really Change Hollywood?

Marvel Studios’ Black Panther has done more than flex international box-office muscle while earning critical raves at home and overseas. The superhero blockbuster also has shaken up Hollywood’s long-held myth that big-budget popcorn flicks about black people, with largely black casts, couldn’t pull in crowds in places like Asia, Russia, the African continent—or even white American audiences. Despite the proven …