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The Tanner Lectures were established by the American scholar, industrialist and philanthropist, Obert Clark Tanner in 1978. The purpose of the Tanner lectures is to advance and reflect upon the scholarly and scientific learning related to human values. In creating the lectureships, Professor Tanner said, “I hope these lectures will contribute to the intellectual and moral life of mankind. I see them simply as a search for a better understanding of human behaviour and human values. This understanding may be pursued for its own intrinsic worth, but it may also eventually have practical consequences for the quality of personal and social life.
Appointment as a Tanner Lecturer is a recognition of uncommon achievement and outstanding abilities in the field of human values. The lectures may be elicited from philosophy, religion, the humanities, the sciences, the creative arts and learned professions or from leadership in public or private affairs. The lectureships are international and intercultural and transcend ethnic, national, religious and ideological distinctions.