Martin Wilkinson to Deliver Annual Weiss Lecture

Media contact:  Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., April 22, 2014— Martin Wilkinson, associate professor in the department of politics and international relations at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, will come to Williams College on Monday, May 5, to deliver the Annual Weiss Lecture on Medicine and Medical Ethics. The lecture, titled “The Ethics of Allocating Organs for Transplant,” will take place at 6:30 p.m. in Griffin Hall, room 3. The event is free and open to the public.

In his Weiss Lecture address, Wilkinson will discuss the dilemma of how organs ought to be allocated for transplant, recognizing that policy decisions have lifesaving or life-enhancing consequences. Wilkinson is particularly concerned with the intricacies and complications that arise in crafting an ethically defensible plan for allocation that can be widely administered. In his lecture, he will also consider as a specific problem the role of age in allocation. Currently, priority is given to children; Wilkinson will discuss whether people should be given priority based on age and general health.

Martin Wilkinson’s work centers on issues of transplantation and the politics, philosophy, and economics of health. His current research focuses on the ethics and policy of organ transplantation, public health ethics, the allocation of health care resources, and paternalism. He teaches courses on capitalism and its critics, freedom and limits of state action, and ethics and health policy.

Wilkinson is the author of numerous journal articles and the books Ethics and the Acquisition of Organs (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Freedom, Efficiency, and Equality (Palgrave, 2000). He has done work for the Australian treasury on the ethics of long-term fiscal planning. He has also been involved in policy-making, most notably as the chair of a ministerial advisory committee on bioethics.

Wilkinson received his B.A. and D.Phil from Oxford University.

The lecture is sponsored by the Oakley Center for Humanities and Social Sciences. The Andrew B. Weiss Lecture on Medicine and Medical Ethics was endowed by the late Andrew B. Weiss ’61 and his wife, Madge Weiss. The lecture promotes the discussion of medicine, including the economics of health care as well as biomedical and ethical issues.



Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.