Shared Values around Ethics can transform the collective dreams of people
Dear colleagues, friends, partners and stakeholders of Globethics.net,
As we celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the Globethics.net Foundation (2004 – 2019), this edition of our Newsletter Editorial brings into focus the challenges that humanity faces at present and our attempt, leveraging on the transformative force of values to pursue the integration of ethics education as a useful response for orientation.
Each day, media reports inundate readers across the globe with bad news that describe crisis after crisis found in each country, region and sectors. These crises are financial, ecological, climatic and technological; crises are also present in the global governance structures and, more substantially, in the family and spiritual domains and the fields of education. To make matters worse, these crises are perpetuated by widespread misinformation and bias in the fake news era. This makes it difficult to distinguish between a lie and the truth, or even between virtues and vice. Such situation is a reflection of something gravely wrong in society - a crisis of values and moral uprightness.
People ask: what can be done? What solutions are available to us that will solve these crises? How can we bring about a globally accepted set of values that can help create the society of our dreams?
The answer is not far-fetched. Ethics offers a rational grounding to that which is right and which ought to be done because it is right to do so. Ethics serves the common good. Through Ethics we achieve universal and shared values for responsibility founded on respect for life, preservation of creation, working for the common good, mutual acceptance of basic human principles with access for all persons to equal rights and social justice, cultural diversity and international solidarity. Ethics is found in the lives of sages, the teachings of philosophers and religious leaders and the writings and witness of great people throughout human history. There is something ethical and persuasive in the belief and acceptance of fundamental aspects of our common humanity, which is the basis for peace, progress, happiness and development. The eradication of poverty and an orientation to the deepening of sustainability promoted within the United Nations Agenda 2030 is the way to go, but it needs knowledge and ideas to precede right action. This knowledge of sound, ethical principles helps the promotion of values that respects life, acknowledges human rights and dignity and preserves the integrity of creation.
To achieve a better world with less crisis, there is need for coalition of like-minded actors who promote ethics education with purpose. 'Alone we can do so little; together, we can do so much' - Hellen Keller. The crises cannot be fought alone. We know this and our partners know it.
More and more institutions are joining our Consortium on Ethics in Higher Education and there is a growing demand for ethics in education, especially on the African continent. Recently, The National Universities Commission (NUC) signalled agreement to co-host a high-level training of government personnel in public and private institutions from 167 higher education institutions in the country. The rising interest within Nigeria is noticeable with the growing outreach to universities in Abuja, Nassarawa and Enugu, Nsukka, Lagos and more.
Ghana is active on higher education ethics with a Bill currently being proposed to the Ministry of Education to entrench the teaching of Ethics in all educational institutions. This is a model which providers and regulators can consider seriously and implement globally. In the French-speaking African countries, there are plans at advanced stages of implementation for collaboration in Cameroon, Benin, Senegal, Congo and Rwanda.
Globethics.net is building bridges with Latin America being part of a union of 13 protestant Universities (CANAQUE) and organising a Conference and training at the centre of bioethics in October with the Catholic University of Argentina. The University is generously hosting the Regional Office in Latin America, a model which other universities can do in partnership. In Europe, the Leeds Beckett University has a partnership with Globethics.net and is at the forefront for joint collaborative research works on Responsible Leadership training. Recently at the International Telecommunications Union and the United Nations World Summit on Information Society in Geneva, Globethics.net led high powered panels of practitioners and workshops on ethics education integrated into cyber security and artificial intelligence. Activities are growing around values-driven educational models of Globethics.net in Moscow and six Russian universities.
These efforts to raise awareness and integrate ethics into higher education’s institutions have led to partnerships with our stakeholders organising conferences and training in Bangalore and Delhi in India, Abuja, Enugu and Nsukka in Nigeria; at Nairobi Kenya and in Geneva, Switzerland. Ethics is not only related to education but is built and integrated into all professions and in life. It supported efforts of several countries gathered in Kenya recently on ethical investments and asset management training for education of responsible church leaders. It continues to champion tolerance and intercultural dialogue which respects diversity, equality, human dignity and values-driven education.
Recently, we have strengthened our network by signing agreements in China with the Macau Institute to offer library content and MOOCs for Business ethics on our online academy.
Many challenges remain but as the first half of 2019 coming to a close, we will continue to strengthen our internal structure and external image and impact, and one might say that the year 2019 is the launching pad of the new Globethics.net of our dreams. There is hope. People want to create the society of their dreams, and our call is being heard, knowing fully well that shared values around Ethics can transform the collective dreams of people into reality.
Globethics.net Executive Director