The Robert R. Wilson Distinguished Lecture was endowed by a gift to Duke to highlight important conversations in public law.

Adam Benforado

How Prioritizing Kids Benefits Us All

March 7, 2024

Adam Benforado, prominent legal scholar, author, and professor known for his insightful explorations of the intersections between law, psychology, and society, spoke as part of the Wilson Distinguished Lecture Series.

Raya Salter

Energy and Environmental Justice Through Community Ownership

April 13, 2023

This lecture explored the intersections of social policy, land use, energy justice and environmental justice. The event featured Raya Salter, founder of the Energy Justice Law and Policy Center and a member of the NY Climate Action Council in conversation with William Barber III, the founder and CEO of the Rural Beacon Initiative, and Angella Dunston, member of the League of Conservation Voters and NC Rural Center. 

Read more about the lecture.

Rev. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr

Environmental Justice: Past, Present and Future

September 15, 2022

This event commemorated the 40th anniversary of protests in North Carolina. The nonviolent protests in 1982 surrounded the state's disposal of soil laced with PCBs in the predominately Black community. The protests were among the earliest for environmental justice in the United States. The Rev. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is credited for coining the term "environmental racism," which he declared from his prison cell after being arrested during the protests. Chavis was in conversation with Catherine Coleman Flowers, recent McArthur Genius Grant awardee. 

Read a student perspective on the lecture

Read more about the event

John rice

Leveling Up Leadership: Building Diverse Leaders Today for Tomorrow

March 16, 2022

The Robert R. Wilson Distinguished Lecture was endowed by a gift to Duke to highlight important conversations in public law. In Spring 2022, we welcomed John Rice in conversation with Professor Deondra Rose where they discussed building diverse leaders today for tomorrow.

Read more about the lecture.

Christine S. Wilson

Exploring Options: Overcoming Barriers to Comprehensive Federal Privacy Legislation

September 2021

In conjunction with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Christine S. Wilson, the Sanford School of Public Policy hosted an event on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, to explore federal privacy legislation titled Exploring Options: Overcoming Barriers to Comprehensive Federal Privacy Legislation. The event brought leading academic experts together for a detailed discussion of how to make progress towards a law that will provide a regulatory structure optimizing for both the innovative and ethical use of data.

Read more about the webinar

Hon. Dikgang Moseneke

My Own Liberator

January 2020

“One of the lessons I had to take in: I was born a slave, I better not die a slave. I had to be my own liberator." Dikgang Moseneke, a South African freedom fighter, became Deputy Chief Justice and helped draft the country’s interim constitution after the fall of the apartheid government.

Moseneke was arrested at age 15 for opposing apartheid, the South African system of racial segregation and oppression. He was incarcerated at Robben Island, Cape Town, alongside fellow political prisoners Nelson Mandela and Jacob Zuma.

Read more about the lecture

Ian Haney López

Dog Whistle Politics

March 2017

Political dog whistling is the use of coded, racially charged language to sway white voters by triggering fear and resentment toward minorities. Ian Haney López is the John H. Boalt Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches in the areas of race and constitutional law and is one of the nation's leading thinkers on racism's evolution in the United States since the civil rights era.