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Ethics the focus of community forums

A community forum on “Lying, Secrets, and Keeping Society Safe” will be held at the Peterborough Town Library on three consecutive Thursdays, beginning Feb. 6, at 7 p.m.

Eric Bowman, a social studies teacher and Student Council advisor at ConVal High School, will lead the discussion. All members of the community are invited to participate for free.

“I hope this topic will focus on the recent controversies surrounding the NSA and racial profiling, among others,” Bowman said.

The event grew out of a program Bowman founded in the spring of 2009, when six ConVal students met at his Peterborough home for the first Summer Ethics Seminar. The idea took hold, and the meetings, which began to include discussions over one or two nights became known as the Revolution Ethics Project. High school students, as well as adults from the community were invited to attend the seminars.

“Participants in the Revolution Ethics Project build the skills and habits of moral leaders,” Bowman explained.

Weekly seminars are held during the academic year with a core group of high school participants.

The series of seminars at the library is an effort to make the conversations more available to the wider community.

Eventually, says Bowman, “I hope maybe we could grow beyond our little corner of New Hampshire … We’re trying to follow through and bring our ideas into action.”

Bowman, a ConVal graduate, studied ethics and philosophy of religion at Yale Divinity School. After receiving his master’s in religion in 1997, he moved back to Peterborough and began teaching at ConVal. He has taught many social studies classes, including advanced placement U.S. history, world religions and economics. From 1997 until 2008 he taught classes in philosophy, religion and ethics at Franklin Pierce University, Rindge.

In 2011, Bowman began teaching global economics at Phillips Exeter Academy Summer School. “This experience has helped me to develop my understanding of poor countries and the injustices that occur all over the world,” he said.

Bowman tries to promote volunteer work to his students and sets the example by serving as a volunteer with the Peterborough Fire Department.

For more information, visit revolutionethics.org.

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