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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Frans B. M. de Waal (Credit: Frans B. M. de Waal (Credit:

Provost’s Distinguished Lecture Scheduled for Feb. 20

Primatologist and author Frans B. M. de Waal will deliver the spring 2018 lecture.
By SDSU News Team

“Dr. de Waal is an internationally recognized scholar and a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.”

View a livestream of the Provost’s Distinguished Lecture

San Diego State University will welcome the director of Emory University’s Living Links Center, Frans B. M. de Waal, to campus as part of the Provost’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

De Waal will discuss “Morality Without Religion: Empathy, Fairness and Prosocial Primates” beginning at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20, in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union’s Montezuma Hall.

De Waal is a biologist and primatologist known for his work on the behavior and social intelligence of primates. His lecture will review how empathy comes naturally to a variety of animals, including humans.

His first book, “Chimpanzee Politics,” compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. Ever since, de Waal has drawn parallels between primate and human behavior in spheres that range from peacemaking and morality to culture. His scholarship has been published in hundreds of articles in journals such as Science, Nature and Scientific American.

"It is an honor to welcome Dr. de Waal to San Diego State for our Spring 2018 Provost’s Distinguished Lecture,” said Chukuka S. Enwemeka, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs.

“Dr. de Waal is an internationally recognized scholar and a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. His lecture presents a unique opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to learn more about his research, which has revolutionized our thinking about the social behavior of primates and morality without the influence of religion."

De Waal leads The Living Links Center at Emory University. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. In 2007, he was selected by Time magazine as one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People Today,” and in 2011 he was recognized by Discover magazine as one of the “47 (all-time) Great Minds of Science.”

The Provost’s Distinguished Lecture Series provides transformational learning experiences for undergraduate and graduate students and promotes academic excellence by allowing the campus community to hear from and interact with prestigious researchers, scholars, and artists. Past lecturers include SDSU alumnus and Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal, SDSU alumnus and award-winning children’s author Matt de la Peña and Nobel laureate Richard Schrock.

The event is free and open to the public. Register for the event here.