September 9, 2002

Virtue Foundation Presents Multidisciplinary Symposium Hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art Commemorating Anniversary of September 11


New York, NY – September 9, 2002 – One year after the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history, the Virtue Foundation, in collaboration with UNESCO, Nour Foundation, and the Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the United Nations, will present a multidisciplinary symposium hosted by The Metropolitan Museum of Art to commemorate the anniversary of September 11, a day that forever changed numerous lives and perspectives worldwide.

An independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the research and development of a body of universal ethics that transcends such boundaries as race, culture, gender, and religion, the Virtue Foundation has invited a group of distinguished panelists from multiple disciplines including the arts, academia, science, business, government, and the media to reflect upon and discuss the myriad ways in which we have grown and matured from the devastation of September 11. “From Tragedy to Unity: A Celebration of the Human Spirit” will feature a full day of panel discussions and a special musical program sponsored by UNESCO as part of its “Cultural Diversity through Music: United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage.”

Following a nationally observed moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the symposium will begin with a performance by The Total Praise Choir, curated by the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music and led by Pastor Frank Haye of Brooklyn’s Emmanuel Baptist Church. Welcoming remarks will be presented by Philippe de Montebello, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Ambassador Joseph Verner Reed, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, after which the Arts & Culture panel will commence with Maxwell L. Anderson, Director of the Whitney Museum of Art; Vishakha N. Desai, Senior Vice President and Director of the Museum and Cultural Programs at the Asia Society; Lourdes Lopez, Executive Director of The George Balanchine Foundation; Glenn D. Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art; Greil Marcus, Author, Music Critic, and former Music Editor of Rolling Stone and Creem; and John Rockwell, Senior Cultural Correspondent for The New York Times.

The second panel of the morning, Science & Spirituality, will bring together authorities in science, medicine, and academia, including Dr. Praveen Chaudhari, Member of the Research Division at IBM; Professor Larry Hench, Co-Director of the Tissue Engineering Center at Imperial College in the United Kingdom; Dr. Joan LaRovere, Associate Director of Pediatric Intensive Care at the Royal Brompton Hospital in the United Kingdom; Dr. William T. Newsome, Professor of Neurobiology at Stanford University; and Kenneth L. Woodward, Religion and Culture Editor at Newsweek.

The symposium resumes in the afternoon with opening remarks by Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information at the United Nations, after which the Business & Finance panel will begin with such prominent speakers as Alison Bernstein, Vice-President of the Education, Media, Arts and Culture Program at the Ford Foundation; Cathleen P. Black, President of Hearst Magazines; Dr. Gordon R. Conway, President of the Rockefeller Foundation; Donald B. Marron, Chairman of UBS America and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of MoMA; Lynn S. Paine, John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School; and John C. Whitehead, Chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

The fourth and final panel of the day, Media & Politics, will feature such luminaries as Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University; Former New York State Senator Roy M. Goodman, President and CEO of the United Nations Development Corporation; Ambassador William H. Luers, Director of the United Nations Association of the United States of America; Ambassador Nicholas Platt, President of the Asia Society; Peter Weiss, Vice-President of the Center for Constitutional Rights; and Michael Wolff, Award-winning Author and Columnist for New York Magazine.

The symposium will conclude with remarks by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (via webcast); Jim Fowler, Host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom; Dr. Jones Kyazze, Director of UNESCO, New York; and Marisa Berenson, actress and Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO, followed by a stirring musical performance by critically acclaimed classical concert pianist Soheil Nasseri and the Laudanova Ensemble, sponsored by UNESCO as part of its “Cultural Diversity through Music: United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage.”

Under the leadership of its Executive Director, Dr. Joseph Salim, the Virtue Foundation highlights and reinforces all that human beings share in common in order to lay the groundwork upon which they can collectively build towards a global ethic. Through a variety of interdisciplinary events by accomplished experts and professionals, the Foundation seeks to raise awareness of ethical issues and to promote the application and development of universally accepted principles of ethical behavior within daily life.