Meaningful Life Initiative: A Conversation with Harvard Professors


Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 7:30pm to 9:00pm


Sever Hall 113

Martha Minow
Dean and Professor, Harvard Law School

Martha Minow

Martha Minow, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law, has taught at Harvard Law School since 1981, where her courses have included civil procedure, constitutional law, family law, international criminal justice, jurisprudence, law and education, nonprofit organizations, and the public law workshop. An expert in human rights and advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities and for women, children, and persons with disabilities, she also writes and teaches about privatization, military justice, and ethnic and religious conflict.


Ali Asani
Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures

Ali Asani

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Ali Asani is Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures and the Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University. After completing his high school education in Kenya, he attended Harvard College, with a concentration in the Comparative Study of Religion, graduating summa cum laude in 1977. He continued his graduate work at Harvard in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC), receiving his Ph.D. in 1984. Prof. Asani holds a joint appointment between the Committee on the Study of Religion and NELC. He also serves on the faculty of the Departments of South Asian Studies and African and African-American Studies. He has taught at Harvard since 1983, offering instruction in a variety of South Asian and African languages and literatures as well as courses on various aspects of the Islamic tradition including Understanding Islam and Contemporary Muslim Societies; Religion, Literature and the Arts in Muslim Cultures; Muslim Voices in Contemporary World Literatures; Introduction to Islamic Mysticism (Sufism); Ismaili History and Thought; and Muslim Societies in South Asia: Religion, Culture and Identity.


Owen Gingrich
Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science, Emeritus

Owen Gingerich

Owen Gingerich is Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University and a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.  Professor Gingerich's research interests have ranged from the recomputation of an ancient Babylonian mathematical table to the interpretation of stellar spectra. He is co-author of two successive standard models for the solar atmosphere, the first to take into account rocket and satellite observations of the sun; the second of these papers has received over 700 literature citations. In the past decades Professor Gingerich has become a leading authority on the 17th- century German astronomer Johannes Kepler and on Nicholas Copernicus, the 16th- century cosmologist who proposed the heliocentric system.


Moderator:  Karen-Alexandra Nogues '18

Karen-Alexandra Nogues

We will have the opportunity to engage in conversation with professors on the questions of how they find meaning and purpose in their lives. This is an opportunity to learn, beyond the classroom, ways in which they have connected their personal interests with the academic, and ways in which their ethical commitments inform their work. 

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