On November 10th, we welcome back the distinguished Harvard Law Professor, Cass Sunstein to Dublin. Professor Sunstein will deliver three sessions over the course of the afternoon:

1. The first session will take place from 130pm to 245pm in the UCD Geary Institute and will follow up from his recent talk on new directions in behavioural public policy below. It is aimed at people working directly in this area in Ireland and will be interactive and address practical and conceptual issues in applying this work. We have invited people directly and we welcome expressions of interest for attending from people working on applications of this area in Ireland to be made to geary@ucd.ie

Venue: UCD Geary Institute Seminar Room

130pm: Introduction and Welcome

135pm: Pete Lunn (ESRI): ESRI Research on Behavioural Economics

145pm: Fiona Kiernan (Beaumont Hospital): Behavioural Economics and Sepsis: Towards Hospital Trials

155pm: Karl Purcell (SEAI): Behavioural Economics and Energy Efficiency: Update on SEAI Behavioural Economics Team

205pm: Keith Walsh (Revenue Commissioners): Behavioural Economics and Revenue Behavioural Trials

215pm: Yvonne McCarthy (Central Bank): Behavioural Economics and Financial Regulation

225pm to 255pm: Roundtable discussion with Cass Sunstein about advancing this area in Irish Public Policy

2. The second talk will place from 3pm to 4pm and will outline the ideas from his recently released book “Republic“. The sign-up page for this event is available here. A summary of the book is below. The venue is the Clinton Auditorium in UCD.

As the Internet grows more sophisticated, it is creating new threats to democracy. Social media companies such as Facebook can sort us ever more efficiently into groups of the like-minded, creating echo chambers that amplify our views. It’s no accident that on some occasions, people of different political views cannot even understand each other. It’s also no surprise that terrorist groups have been able to exploit social media to deadly effect. Welcome to the age of #Republic. In this revealing book, Cass Sunstein, the New York Times bestselling author of Nudge and The World According to Star Wars, shows how today’s Internet is driving political fragmentation, polarization, and even extremism—and what can be done about it. Thoroughly rethinking the critical relationship between democracy and the Internet, Sunstein describes how the online world creates “cybercascades,” exploits “confirmation bias,” and assists “polarization entrepreneurs.” And he explains why online fragmentation endangers the shared conversations, experiences, and understandings that are the lifeblood of democracy. In response, Sunstein proposes practical and legal changes to make the Internet friendlier to democratic deliberation. These changes would get us out of our information cocoons by increasing the frequency of unchosen, unplanned encounters and exposing us to people, places, things, and ideas that we would never have picked for our Twitter feed.

3. The third talk will place from 4pm to 5pm and will involve the presentation of the Ulysses medal to both Professor Sunstein and former US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. The sign-up page for this event is available here.

Event Description

Former US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, and renowned Behavioural Economist, Professor Cass R. Sunstein, will receive the UCD Ulysses Medal – the highest honour the University can bestow – on Friday, 10 November in UCD O’Brien Centre for Science. Following the Ulysses Medal Presentation Ceremony, Former Ambassador Power and Professor Sunstein will take part in a moderated Q+A on the topics of US foreign policy and on Professor Sunstein’s recently released book on impeachment (details here).

The schedule for the event is as follows:
4pm       Citation and Award to Ambassador Power (10 mins)
4.10pm   Citation and Award to Professor Sunstein (10 mins)
4.20pm   moderated Q&A with Amb. Power & Prof. Sunstein on U.S. foreign policy and impeachment (40 mins)
5.00pm   Q&A with the audience (20 mins)
5.20pm   Refreshments

UCD Ulysses Medal

The UCD Ulysses Medal is the highest honour that University College Dublin can bestow. It was inaugurated in 2005, as part of the University’s sesquicentennial celebrations, to highlight the ‘creative brilliance’ of UCD alumnus James Joyce. It is awarded to individuals whose work has made an outstanding global contribution.

About Cass Sunstein

Cass R. Sunstein is currently the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard. From 2009 to 2012, he was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He is the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School. Mr. Sunstein has testified before congressional committees on many subjects, and he has been involved in constitution-making and law reform activities in a number of nations.

Mr. Sunstein is author of many articles and books, including Republic.com (2001), Risk and Reason (2002), Why Societies Need Dissent (2003), The Second Bill of Rights (2004), Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (2005), Worst-Case Scenarios (2001), Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (with Richard H. Thaler, 2008), Simpler: The Future of Government (2013) and Why Nudge? (2014) and Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas (2014). He is now working on group decisionmaking and various projects on the idea of liberty.

About Former Ambassador Samantha Power

Ambassador Samantha Power is the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School. From 2013 to 2017 Power served as the 28th U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as well as a member of President Obama’s cabinet. In this role, Power became the public face of U.S. opposition to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria, negotiated the toughest sanctions in a generation against North Korea, lobbied to secure the release of political prisoners, helped build new international law to cripple ISIL’s financial networks, and supported President Obama’s pathbreaking actions to end the Ebola crisis.From 2009 to 2013, Power served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, where she focused on issues including atrocity prevention; UN reform; LGBT and women’s rights; the protection of religious minorities; and the prevention of human trafficking. Before joining the U.S. government, Power was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School. Power’s book, “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Power is also author of the New York Times bestseller Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World (2008) and the editor, with Derek Chollet, of The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World (2011). She began her career as a journalist, reporting from places such as Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe and has twice been named to Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list. Power earned a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.