Voices of Our Time

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Upcoming Events

Anthony Appiah
October 17, 2019, 5 p.m.
Wait Chapel

Established in 2006 by Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch, Voices of Our Time is a guest speaker series that brings some of the world’s leading thinkers to campus.

It offers a unique opportunity for Wake Forest students, faculty and staff as well as members of our surrounding community to hear from today’s most influential voices on important national and international issues.

Meet us at the crossroads as we explore local, national and global issues through challenging discussions and public question-and-answer sessions.

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.


Anthony Appiah

Headshot of Kwame Anthony AppiahWhen it comes to the most pressing social issues of the day, KWAME ANTHONY APPIAH is a touchstone of reason and inclusivity. Asking—and answering—probing questions on morality, ethnicity, and religion as “The Ethicist” for The New York Times Magazine, Appiah is a fearless, lucid arbiter. He demonstrated this in his BBC Reith Lectures on the modern complexities of Creed, Culture, Color, and Country, and in his book, The Lies That Bind, named one of the 50 Notable Works of the Year by The Washington Post. 

“Appiah lays out a concept that is not only compelling in its own right but also suggests a connection that may in time help to collate biological and cultural exploration of human morality.”

— Edward O. Wilson

Exciting and erudite, Kwame Anthony Appiah challenges us to look beyond the boundaries—real and imagined—that divide us, and to celebrate our common humanity. Named one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 public intellectuals, one of the Carnegie Corporation’s “Great Immigrants,” and awarded a National Humanities Medal by The White House, Appiah currently teaches at NYU, though he’s previously taught at Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Duke, and the University of Ghana. 

He considers readers’ ethical quandries in a weekly column as “The Ethicist” for The New York Times Magazine. From 2009 to 2012 he served as President of the PEN American Center, the world’s oldest human rights organization. He is currently chair of The Man Booker Prize.  

Anthony Appiah’s book Cosmopolitanism is a manifesto for a world where identity has become a weapon and where difference has become a cause of pain and suffering. Cosmopolitanism won the Arthur Ross Book Award, the most significant prize given to a book on international affairs. In The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen, Appiah lays out how honor propelled moral revolutions in the past—and could do so in the future. Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs) calls it “an indispensible book for both moral philosophers and honorable citizens.” Among his most recent books are As If: Idealization and Ideals, an exploration of the way ideals facilitate human progress; Mistaken Identities, further explores subjects of his popular BBC series; and the brand new The Lies That Bind, an incandescent exploration of the nature and history of the identities that define us. 

Kwame Anthony Appiah was born in London to a Ghanaian father and a white mother. He was raised in Ghana, and educated in England, at Cambridge University, where he received a Ph.D. in philosophy. As a scholar of African and African-American studies, he established himself as an intellectual with a broad reach. His book In My Father’s House and his collaborations with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.—including The Dictionary of Global Culture and Africana—are major works of African struggles for self-determination. In 2009, he was featured in Astra Taylor’s documentary Examined Life, alongside Martha Nussbaum, Slavoj Zizek, and other leading contemporary philosophers.