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Department ofReligious Studies


Janet Giddings Brings In Guest Speakers for Religious Ethics in Business Class

This Spring quarter, we had two interesting and provocative lectures for students considering how religious ethics might view moral issues in business: one on a moral dilemma in bioethics and the other on crypto-currencies.

Mohan Iyer

At the start of the quarter Mohan Iyer, Chief Operating Officer of Whole Biome, a leading start-up in the emerging microbiome field, came to discuss a moral issue in bioethics and generously explained the problem from both a Christian and Hindu perspective. His interactive lecture offered students much to think about and left them wrestling with the issue. Since Iyer applied the two different religious ethical frameworks onto a business dilemma, students were given a real-life, personal-professional glimpse into a decision-making process. Students were so impressed they sent Iyer many emails of thanks.

Seoyoung Kim and Atulya Sarin

The second guest lecture was with Prof. Atulya Sarin and Seoyoung Kim, both in Finance at the Leavey School of Business, and was on Blockchain and cryptocurrency. They have just published, “CryptoAssets Unencrypted” in the Journal of Investment Management. This controversial decentralized currency, outside of government manipulation and fiscal policies is said to be a positive alternative to money, as we know it. Students read an article as to how Islam is responding to cryptocurrency and they had a number of good questions for both professors and many came away with a positive view. A senior student, Caleb Cater stated,

“Given my finance background, I had some exposure to the idea of the fast-growing cryptocurrency market. I found looking at the idea from an ethical perspective was very valuable. After getting input on cryptocurrencies from Professor Sarin and Professor Kim, I find an overall benefit from the emergence of cryptocurrencies.”