About The Tarrytown Meetings


The Tarrytown Meetings brought together people working to ensure that profoundly consequential new human biotechnologies and related emerging technologies support rather than undermine social justice, equality, human rights, ecological integrity and the common good. They were held in 2010, 2011 and 2012 at the Tarrytown House Estate and Conference Center in Tarrytown, New York. Over 200 advocates, scholars, policy experts, artists and other participated.



The Tarrytown Meetings were intended to:

  • Foster a vibrant network of individuals and groups across civil society constituencies and scholarly disciplines with shared concerns and perspectives about the development and use of human biotechnology and related emerging technologies, grounded in values of social justice, human rights, equality, ecological integrity and the common good.

  • Develop reports, whitepapers and other documents that present these concerns and perspectives in a compelling manner.

  • Help nurture understandings and collaborative relationships among key individuals and organizations focused on strategically important topics and issues.

  • Publicize contributions from Tarrytown Meetings participants addressing the shared perspectives and concerns via print, press, electronic, online and other media and publication outlets.

  • Help generate new sources of funding support for the work of individuals and groups participating in the Tarrytown Meetings.

While The Tarrytown Meetings as such did not take formal positions on specific issues, they did seek to encourage the development of principled perspectives and to support networks of those who share them.


Plans for The Tarrytown Meetings grew out of a consultation process that began in 2007-2008, when some sixty-five civil society leaders, scholars, policy experts and others concerned about the societal implications of new human biotechnologies participated in a series of strategy meetings in San Francisco, New York, Cambridge, Washington DC and Berkeley. The meetings were convened by the Center for Genetics and Society. Out of these discussions came a proposal for the series of annual convenings now called The Tarrytown Meetings.

It was felt that such a convening would allow participants to learn about and discuss one another's work at close hand in a focused yet convivial setting, and would facilitate planning and collaboration. The fact that it would be held annually would help foster a sense of continuity and community, would allow progress on a wide range of endeavors to be reported on and assessed over time, and would allow individuals newly concerned about these topics to connect both with the veterans and with other newcomers.


A steering committee guided the planning process for The Tarrytown Meetings. Steering committee members for the concluding July 2012 meeting were:

  • Jaydee Hanson, Policy Director, International Center for Technology Assessment
  • Richard Hayes, Executive Director, Center for Genetics and Society
  • Eric Hoffman, Biotechology Campaigner, Friends of the Earth
  • Gina Maranto, Director of Ecosystem Science and Policy, Leonard and Jayne Abess Center, University of Miami 
  • Judy Norsigian, Executive Director, Our Bodies Ourselves
  • Osagie K. Obasogie, Associate Professor, University of California Hastings College of the Law
  • Dorothy Roberts, Professor of Law, Northwestern University

Former steering committee members are:

  • George Annas, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health
  • Debra Greenfield, Fellow, Center for Society and Genetics, University of California at Los Angeles
  • Rosario Isasi, Research Associate, Center for Genomics and Policy, McGill University
  • Karen Maschke, Associate for Ethics and Science Policy, The Hastings Center
  • Lisa Ikemoto, Professor of Law, University of California at Davis
  • Stuart Newman, Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy, New York Medical College

The staff of the Center for Genetics and Society served as lead staff for The Tarrytown Meetings. CGS executive director Richard Hayes served as coordinator. Additional lead staff roles were played by associate executive director Marcy Darnovsky, finance director Charles Garzon, and policy director Jesse Reynolds. Staff associates who played key roles in organizing the Tarrytown Meetings were Emily Smith Beitiks, Jessica Cussins, Molly Maguire, Sona Makker, Spencer McFarlane, Jake Orr, Brendan Parent, Doug Pet, Daniel Sharp, Karthik Sonty, Emily Stehr and Jillian Theil. Consultants who worked in support of the Tarrytown Meetings initiative included Emily Galpern, Pete Shanks, Jean Orlebeke, Linda Ann Smith, Jane Elder, John Bianchi and Christina Desser. 

The Tarrytown Meetings were an initiative of the Center for Genetics and Society. Funding for CGS came from the Appleton Foundation, the Marisla Foundation, Changing Horizons and individual donors.