The Cost of Conscience - The Hidden Challenges of Dissent in the Workplace

Navigating office politics can be perilous under the best of circumstances. But for people whose moral principles put them at odds with their employer and colleagues, the burdens can be especially great. Join three Open Society Fellows as they discuss their experiences working for many years inside large organizations with which they often had profound disagreements of conscience.

Now that they have left their respective institutions—the US Air Force, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Central Intelligence Agency—the panelists can speak with candor about their lives as outsiders within. What were the emotional and professional stresses they encountered every day on the job? How free did they feel to share their concerns with colleagues? And how did they negotiate the difficult transition to life on the outside?


  • Matthew Alexander, author and former senior interrogator, United States Air Force
  • Richard Cizik, President, the New Evangelical Partnership and  former vice president, the National Association of Evangelicals
  • Elizabeth MacKenzie Biedell, author and former Middle East analyst, the Central Intelligence Agency
  • Morton H. Halperin, Senior Advisor, the Open Society Institute  (Moderator)

All three panelists are Open Society Fellows.

Date: May 11, 2010
Time: 5:307:00 p.m.

Center for American Progress, Washington D.C.

Matthew Alexander, Elizabeth MacKenzie Biedell, Richard Cizik, and Morton Halperin