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Gary Haugen | February 12, 2020

More event photos on the AGS Facebook page.

AGS event by Alice Wu:

On February 12th, 2020, Gary Haugen, The CEO of the International Justice Mission, was welcomed to Duke University by the Center for Christianity and Scholarship and the Duke University program in American Grand Strategy. Haugen was the Director of the U.N. investigation in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, and has been recognized by the U.S. State Department as a Trafficking in Persons “Hero” – the highest civilian honor given by the U.S. government for anti-slavery leadership. 

During the event, Haugen delivered a lecture on the global struggle for justice, freedom, and human dignity and the way the contemporary university must recover the pursuit of moral knowledge in order to educate its students and citizens in making moral choices. He thoughtfully integrated creative metaphors about reality and belief and their relation to glass sliding doors (which left the room in uproarious laughter) and snippets of his past experiences battling apartheid in South Africa, fighting for human rights in the Philippines, and working with the U.S. Department of Justice on the topic of police brutality. Haugen’s emphasis on the distinction between reality and belief as well as commitment and profession enlightened the audience in understanding the inevitable triumph of reality and how any answers coming from moral knowledge will have authority and knowledge on the basis of appropriate reality. 

Haugen is no stranger to sobering experiences concerning the subject of violence and has plunged himself and his life into the understanding and experience of human violence and suffering. He spoke about the truth that “violence will come after you if you seek to oppose it”, and shared stories about how he’s seen that to be true in his own life and the lives that he’s held dear to him. To Haugen, moral knowledge empowers, and from moral knowledge flows the need for moral clarity, extravagant compassion, sacrificial courage, tenacious hope in the face of defeat, and refreshing joy. Despite working with so much darkness, Haugen believes that beauty, love, and goodness empowers people to do hard things and restores humans. He has seen and looked up to people who have acted morally without fear, and shared his lived belief that “When people are no longer afraid, they stand out.”