Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
Podcast icon

The Future of Ugandan Humanist Education; Educator and Member Krystal White

December 6, 2022

The Ugandan students and schools the Ethical Society supports are full of strength, resilience, and hope, and member Krystal White experienced that positive energy firsthand this summer on her month-long journey visiting the students and teaching at their schools. ​Come learn about the recent developments at the Uganda Humanist Schools and leave inspired by the schools’ promising future.

Note: The Ethical Society community currently supports 33 female high-school students with full boarding scholarships ($500/yr) and provides reusable menstrual supplies for all menstruating students in the primary and secondary schools. If you would like to make a donation to benefit the schools and you cannot attend the platform, please contact Krystal White at krystalsnowhite@gmail.com or Nancy Jelinek at njelinek@ethicalstl.org.


Unedited Video

Entangled Empathy – Exploring our Relationships with Animals; Lori Gruen, PhD

November 27, 2022

How should we think about our relationships with other animals? Entangled Empathy is one way to both motivate and improve those relationships. This presentation by Leading Scholar in Animal Studies and Feminist Philosophy Lori Gruen will describe what entangled empathy is and why it is a valuable perspective.

Lori Gruen is a leading scholar in Animal Studies and Feminist Philosophy. She is the author and editor of over a dozen books, including most recently Carceral Logics (Cambridge, 2022) co-edited with Justin Marceau and Animal Crisis (Polity, 2022) co-authored with Alice Crary. Gruen’s work in practical ethics and political philosophy focuses on issues that impact those often overlooked in traditional ethical investigations, e.g. women, people of color, incarcerated people, and non-human animals. Gruen has documented the history of The First 100 chimpanzees in research in the US and has an evolving website that documents the journey to sanctuary of the remaining chimpanzees in research labs, The Last 1000.


Unedited Video

Live Long and Prosper; James Croft, EdD, Leader

November 20, 2022

James has spent eight years at the Ethical Society of St. Louis: one year as an Ethical Culture leader-in-training; four years as the Society’s outreach director and second leader; and three years as senior leader. In this, his final Platform address, he will offer his reflections on eight years of service, thank the Society’s members and friends for the welcome they extended, and think about the future of Humanism.


Unedited Video

The Virtue of Vulnerability; Nadya Dutchin, American Humanist Association Executive Director

November 13, 2022

In this digital age, the world seems smaller and more accessible, but we seem to be more distant from one another on a personal level. Add to this the required isolation from COVID times and we are left with a pained awkwardness as we try to re-engage with society and one another. This leaves us with a unique opportunity to reset and create genuine connections. But this requires us to be vulnerable with one another as a reminder of our full humanity.

Nadya Dutchin is the executive director of the American Humanist Association with more than 10 years of community engagement, strategic partnership, youth program development, multi-method fundraising, and change management experience. She is new to the humanist movement and is working to transform the AHA and humanist movement into one that focuses on protecting civil rights and building a more youthful and vibrant humanist community. She currently serves as the Board president of Our Climate for Education. Nadya is of Guyanese descent and a proud alumna of Florida A&M University where she studied Molecular and Cellular Biology.



Cosmic Skeptic; Alex O’Connor

November 6, 2022

Alex J. O’Connor is the founder of the Cosmic Skeptic YouTube channel, podcast and blog, platforms dedicated to the publication of philosophical ideas and debates in an accessible format. A recent graduate of philosophy and theology from St. John’s College, Oxford University, Alex is an international public speaker and debater, having delivered addresses across multiple continents at conferences, universities, and local drinking groups, as well as debated ethics, religion, and politics with a number of high-profile opponents before college audiences, on radio talk shows and on national television.


Unedited Video

Solidarity over Hostility; Rev Jim Poinsett, Interfaith Partnership

October 30, 2022

When people from different backgrounds and traditions get to know one another, their community is stronger, experiences less prejudice and bigotry, and is more resilient. By building relationships across differences we can move from hostility to solidarity. We are able to recognize one another as neighbors and create community based on understanding rather than vengence, mercy rather than retaliation, reconciliation rather than violence.

Jim came to IPSTL after serving 12 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) with congregations in New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. Prior to entering the ministry, Jim spent 11 years working in politics, primarily as a lobbyist to state legislatures and Congress. Jim’s previous ecumenical and interfaith work includes serving as the Vice President of the New York State Council of Churches, and serving on Religious Leaders Council of Interfaith Philadelphia.

Jim holds a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University.

Jim is a widower, losing his wife Robin to cancer in 2009.


Unedited Video

Give Peace a Chance; Leader James Croft, EdD

October 23, 2022

Our culture seems obsessed with war – hundreds of TV shows, movies, video games, and books are written about it. By contrast, peace seems deeply uninteresting to us. We queue up to watch violence enacted, but hardly have any mental image of what peace looks like. Why is this? Why do we celebrate war but ignore peace? Why won’t we give peace a chance? In this Platform James Croft will examine peace’s image problem, and think of ways we could overcome it.


Unedited Video

Refugees In St. Louis; Ariel Burgess, International Institute

October 16, 2022

As the only resettlement agency in St. Louis, the International Institute of St. Louis welcomes and provides services to refugees coming to St. Louis. Working with the St. Louis community and other service providers, these new St. Louisans are given the building blocks for a productive and rewarding life in their new home. The presentation will focus on how refugees come to the U.S and St. Louis, refugee populations in St. Louis and services provided.

Since 2000 P. Ariel Burgess has been the resettlement director for the International Institute. In this capacity she and her team have resettled 1000 + refugees from throughout the world. Ms. Burgess is a licensed social worker, having received her MSW in 1991. Prior to working at the Institute Ms. Burgess co-founded an HIV/AIDS clinic specifically for women and children; and worked with the mentally ill.


Unedited Video

The Co-Pursuit of Dignity and the Role of Accompaniment in Asylum Seeking; Adriano Udani, PhD

October 9, 2022

How can the asylum seeking process inform U.S. citizens and public discussions about dignity, collaboration, and social change? Utilizing over three years of field work with a group of 48 Central American and Mexican asylum seekers (named Migrantes Unidos), who are committed to ending the use of ankle monitors and other forms of detention in immigration enforcement, Adriano Udani will discuss how the asylum seeking process impacts organizations, social service provision, and everyday life. In the U.S. immigration system that is intentionally designed to punish people through isolation, Adriano Udani argues that what is starkly missing and most needed are opportunities for accompaniment which provides opportunities for asylum seekers to co-pursue dignity, mutual support, opportunities for critical thinking, and collaboration for action.

Adriano Udani specializes in the study of political attitudes toward immigrant groups and policy decisions that affect immigrant treatment in the United States. He also studies public misperceptions of immigration enforcement and its impact on immigrant communities. His research is published across various fields of public administration, public policy, public policy, ethics, and race and ethnic politics. Adriano’s current work contributes to the emergence of “Civically Engaged Research” in political science, which aims to reciprocally collaborate with people and groups beyond the academy to co-produce, share, and apply knowledge related to power and politics. His current project involves partnering with immigrant service providers, attorneys, and asylum seekers to abolish detention of all forms. Adriano Udani received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, and his M.P.A. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.


Unedited Video

Modern International Conflicts and the Risk of Democratic Backsliding; Assistant Professor and Fellow Dani Belo, PhD

October 2, 2022

The presentation focuses on the ethical dimensions of modern international conflicts in which all aspects of society have become the battlefield. The modern format of international conflicts, called ‘gray zone’ conflicts, rarely involve direct military-to-military confrontation. Rather, contemporary conflicts can generally be characterized as low-intensity, perpetual hostilities that involve governments, civil society, and individuals. The media, cyberspace, educational institutions, and local organizations have become an inseparable part of the global great power competition. Illiberal regimes such as China and Russia have used these as platforms to proliferate their political interests into liberal democracies like the United States. This raises the question of how can the United States, and other democracies, counter these authoritarian influences without resorting to ‘democratic backsliding,’ for example through censorship.

Dani Belo is a teacher and scholar of international relations specializing in conflict management, diplomacy, and international security. He is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Webster University in St. Louis, MO, USA, and a Fellow and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Ottawa, Canada. Dani’s research focuses on gray zone conflict management, grand strategy and foreign policy, armed and unarmed interventions in fragile ethnically-divided societies, the impact of foreign policy crises on decision-making, causes of ethnic-based mobilization, as well an analysis of non-state actors’ role in hybrid warfare.


Unedited Video

New to the Ethical Society?
  These podcasts will help:

Discuss our Platforms on Facebook.


If you like what you hear, please make a tax-deductible donation to support the Society.




Listen on Google Play Music

Single page listing of all podcasts.