The Brady Scholars Program in Ethics and Civic Life is designed for Northwestern students who are looking for a deeper understanding of ethical, social, and political questions, who want to broaden their understanding of society by spending time in another country, and who are eager to learn about and contribute to their local civic community.
It is for students who recognize that our cities, our nation, and the world face vexing problems, and who want to make a start on addressing those problems before their undergraduate days are over. The Brady Program is committed to the idea that an understanding of ethics and of the world are prerequisites for improving it. It seeks to make students more aware of the complexity of moral issues, of the need to learn from other parts of the world, and of the value of collaborative efforts to improve the city in which we live.
Each year, we admit into the program a small number of students who take seminars together, compare their experiences abroad with each other, and work towards a common practical goal. Our aim is to foster a sense of community in which students acquire the skills and understanding that they will need to live a life of active and intelligent citizenship.
The intellectual roots of the Brady Program extend as far back as Plato and Aristotle. Plato gathered together in his Academy a small group of serious thinkers dedicated to studying goodness and justice, and to reforming society in the light of those ideas. Similarly, Aristotle held that we study how to be a good person not only for its own sake, but also in order to serve the political community. Following in their footsteps, the Brady Program is founded on the conviction that democracy needs a public-spirited and enlightened citizenry, and that the most pressing social problems can be ameliorated only in the light of a thoughtful awareness of ethical values.