APPE Conference / Conference  / Notes on the theme: Human Rights in the Professions/Disciplines

Notes on the theme: Human Rights in the Professions/Disciplines

By APPE Conference Committee Co-Chairs Dennis Cooley and Julia Pedroni

The Association for Practical and Professional Ethics is excited about its 32nd Annual International Conference being held March 2-5, 2023 in Portland, Oregon. As always there will be scholars and practitioners from a wide variety of disciplines sharing and discussing their work on a wide range of topics in a friendly, professional atmosphere. It is a conference that emphasizes APPE’s focus on engaging those who are ethically curious about applying ethics in the world in which we live.

APPE is a member dedicated and driven professional organization advancing scholarship, education, and practice in practical and professional ethics. At the suggestion of members and conference attendees, the 32nd Conference has a special focus on Human Rights in the Professions/Disciplines.

The theme is important at any time, but is especially worthy of attention right now. It took a very long time and the work is still not done, but for a number of years we saw the expansion of human rights to include individuals in groups that have historically been deprived of such consideration, on the basis of their race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, housing status, and other identities. Privacy from government intrusion, entitlement to reproductive care, the ability to marry the person one loves, and other rights to be treated in equal or equitable ways were adopted. 

What has been taken for granted, however, is now uncertain. Imperialism has come back into vogue in some areas of the world. Participating in the democratic process or politics has been made much harder in a number of ways, and has even led to death threats against some who are merely doing their jobs certifying elections. Important forms of reproductive care are not only banned in some locations, those who provide them can be criminally charged or sued. Educators are being told what they may or may not teach and how by politicians. Perhaps paradoxically, social media champions free speech but is also used to punish or discourage the expression of any contrary opinion, and can even help whip a section of a population into violence or insurrection. 

Our theme helps focus attention on how professionals in various disciplines can think about, respect, and possibly work toward addressing the concerns above through rights-oriented analyses, policies, and actions.

In addition to presentations ranging from the more theoretical to case studies and narratives of human rights in application, there is a slate of keynote, plenary, and other events focusing on human rights in international business, the media, government, non-profits, and different lived environments. Among our speakers are Cristina Eisenberg, Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence and Director of Tribal Initiatives at Oregon State University, Michael Santoro, Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University, Laquida Landford, Lead visionary for the AfroVillage Movement, and Jacen Green, Assistant Director of the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative at Portland State University. These and our other distinguished contributors can be found at

Please visit us at for additional information about the conference.