Bioethics Research Showcase: Meet last year’s grand champion


Nearly twenty different majors were represented in the 2015 Bioethics Research Showcase submission pool, with students from freshmen to seniors and all four schools at Georgetown participating. An interdisciplinary panel of judges was convened from across the Georgetown community to identify the most outstanding submissions, which were judged on the basis of originality, engagement, clarity and quality of presentation, and critical analysis and contextualization of the subject matter.

Ali Carter (C’15) was honored with the 2015 Showcase Grand Champion Prize and the 2015 First Prize Win awards for her academic paper “Harmful Humanitarians? When Food Aid is Morally Problematic.”

The paper was sparked by a class on global justice and environmental ethics she took with KIE Scholar Madison Powers as part of her bioethics minor requirements, Carter was surprised to learn that hunger is responsible for more global deaths each year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Her analysis of “food aid,” which redistributes food from areas of plenty to areas of need, turned up some disturbing truths.

“[Food aid] programs are often carried out wastefully and in ways that are not necessarily the most helpful to countries in need,” Carter explained. She argued that food aid “is paternalistic, undercuts the resiliency of local markets, and does little to increase structural fairness around the world.” As a program to help those in need, she concluded, it stands in need of serious moral reform.

Her essay called for reform in food aid practice, arguing primarily for initiatives that tie food aid to various health- and human rights-based initiatives, or promote locally-sourced food production to support the receiving nation’s economy and infrastructure-building endeavors.

You can read the full paper and learn about our other past winners here.

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Submissions for the 2016 Showcase are now open!


Submit here!