null Newsletter n° 8 / 10

August 2010

In this issue

Editorial by Christoph Stückelberger

Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church: Trento, Italy July 24-27, 2010

Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church” was the common interest of 600 catholic ethicists, all professional academics and researchers from all over the world, who met in Trento/Italy from 24-27 July 2010. More than half of the participants came from the global South, there were 90 female professors of catholic ethics and 150 PhD students/new scholars. Together they looked at the past, present and future of Catholic applied ethics in a globalized context.

The conference was a fascinating example of serious and open minded efforts in responding to the need for value orientation while being faithful to history. Political Ethics, Health and Family Ethics (including sexuality, family, HIV), Gender Ethics and the (often delicate and sometimes painful) relationship between academic ethics and the church hierarchy were major issues of this event. There was less focus on Economic and Business Ethics.

The poster and online library found great interest and many participants registered at and are further exploring cooperation between and their respective universities, ethics centres and publication programmes. The conference was a living example that it is possible to have a global perspective on ethics while being rooted in a great diversity of contexts. We hope to build similar synergies with ethics conferences of other backgrounds such as Philosophical, Orthodox, Protestant or Muslim Ethics.

26 August 2010 
Christoph Stueckelberger, Director and Founder of

The Library

Global Theological Library

The success of the online library on ethics has attracted the interest of other scientific fields. The Program for Ecumenical Theological Education of the World Council of Churches and theological institutions in the Global South asked to explore ways to establish an online global theological library, especially for ecumenism and contextual theologies. An international workshop will be held in Geneva at from 17-18 September 2010. A concrete project proposal will be discussed and its outcome will be communicated in the next Newsletter.

The Network

HARC Network is pleased to announce a new collaboration with the HIV, AIDS and Religion Collaborative HARC which was launched this summer at the International Aids Conference in Vienna in July 2010 and at the conference for Catholic Theological Ethics which took place in Trento end of July 2010.

The collaborative was initiated by Julie Clague from the University of Glasgow, Dr. Gillian Paterson from Heythrop College at the University of London and Dr. Beverley Haddad from the University of Kwazulu Natal (South Africa), and aims at connecting those working at the interface of religion and HIV & AIDS.

What is HARC?
HARC is a community which brings together individuals, organizations and institutions engaged in research, practice, religious leadership and policy-making, who are in communication with one another, and are committed to increasing the effectiveness of their own and each other’s work, in order better to respond to the needs of people and communities affected by or vulnerable to HIV or AIDS, and to develop a deeper understanding of the theological and religious insights that have flowed from faith-related responses to the HIV pandemic.

What are HARC’s goals?

  • Encourage multi- and inter-disciplinary networking between specialists (such as theologians, anthropologists, sociologists, ethicists and epidemiologists) with a shared interest in the impact of religion and faith on the epidemic;
  • Build knowledge-transfer by increasing the dissemination and sharing of research resources in the field;
  • Forge better links between scholars from the North and South, East and West, and foster a greater awareness of their diverse contexts;
  • Promote inter-religious dialogue and cooperation in relation to HIV and AIDS;
  • Provide a forum of academic freedom to discuss difficult, sensitive and controversial issues;
  • Ensure the relevance of academic research on religion and HIV and AIDS through contacts with those working in the field and organizations of people living with HIV or AIDS;
  • Resource organizations and practitioners engaged in grassroots responses to the epidemic who are encountering difficult religious, theological and ethical issues in the course of their work;
  • Inform the work of policy-makers through evidence-based research;
  • Counter inaccurate, distorted or ideologically-driven narratives that can mar or hinder global, national and local dialogue on and responses to HIV and AIDS
  • Raise the profile of religious and theological research and improve the impact and public usefulness of scholarship in this area.

Who can join HARC?
You can join HARC if you are an individual academic, a practitioner, policymaker or a religious leader who is engaged in or wishes to promote research, teaching, curriculum development or greater understanding at the interface of religion, HIV and AIDS. Thus participants will come from a variety of academic, disciplinary, organizational, institutional and religious backgrounds.

What does HARC offer?
The HARC website offers members:

  • a secure, moderated, free forum for researchers, practitioners and policymakers to come together around their particular research and curricular interests;
  • a ‘safe-space’ to work collaboratively on projects, documents or process-planning.
  • the opportunity to link those working on similar issues and to facilitate inter-disciplinary research contacts.
  • an online library of resources (free to members) such as e-journals, and teaching resources, documents and publications, enabling members to extend their outreach and impact while retaining copyright
  • the opportunity to initiate or join working groups that are autonomous, password-protected and separately moderated.

News from the International Secretariat

Reports from Beijing and Yogyakarta

We have asked’s regional coordinators in Beijing and Yogyakarta, Stella Yang and Ninik Wafiroh to share their experiences of promoting in their country. CHINA
Regional office in Beijing,
Project Executive Stella Yang:
“We’ve promoted at various events, such as conferences, exhibitions and at the students’ summer camp.
The most useful contribution makes to the research and study of ethics in our country is the free download of papers from its library. Students and researchers find it difficult to find papers without having to buy a database service. Furthermore, once they register at, they can ask other users for more interesting resources and exchange experiences. offers a great platform for communication in an international context especially through its workgroups. This form of discussion among people from different cultures gives participants a precious opportunity to learn and enlarge their experience in the field of ethics.

My work involves Business Ethics and I am particularly interested in case studies and papers related to Corporate Social Responsibility, Labor rights and interests, and Environment.

I would like to encourage participants to get active on the website and have the following ideas:

  • On the forum experts can regularly launch online discussions on a hot/current issues (such as the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico), and give a review at the end. This could attract people who pay close attention to events and engage them into the discussion. Experts can recommend reading lists in their specific field. currently has 109 registered participants from China and had over 6200 visits on its website coming from China since January 2010. INDONESIA
Regional office in Yogyakarta,
Project Executive Ninik Wafiroh:
“I started working with in February 2010 and can already see a great personal benefit from being involved in such an outstanding institution such as Indonesia. As a Ph.D. student I need references and bibliographies relevant to my research and provides articles and journals for free from which I profit myself. ICRS (Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies) where I currently study is a postgraduate school which focuses on religious matters and interfaith dialog. A further motivation to join is the fact that last year I setup a community library in my hometown of Banyuwangi. By working at, I can learn more about how to deal with an e-library and can share my experiences with the wider public.

I started off promoting among a list of groups and organizations that I felt would be interested in and benefit from These were mostly NGO activists, publishers, researchers, lecturers and students. I focused on Yogyakarta at first and gave various short presentations on at local universities. A second focus was put on Indonesian academic journals which could be integrated in the library so I contacted various publishers and NGO leaders. Only then I started promoting Yogyakarta.

It is important to stay in contact with participants and to network with new potential participants. Since the beginning of my work with Indonesia I have encountered many interesting and also challenging things. Some participants for instance are interested in topics that go beyond’s focus and another time I received an email from an American researcher interested in Indonesia who thanked because she finally found very useful articles on Islam in Indonesia.

In the next couple of months we are planning on enhancing the library collection of Indonesia. I think that the library collections should reflect the diversity of Indonesian participants. Furthermore, I hope that participants from Indonesia will become more active in the future.” August 2010 currently has 500 registered participants from Indonesia and had over 8400 visits on its website coming from Indonesia since January 2010.

News from the ICRS-Yogya

The Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies ICRS in Yogyakarta has appointed Dr. Siti Syamsiyatun as its new Director. She will take over this position in December from Prof. Bernard Adeney-Risakotta who has been serving as Director since 2006. She has been programme leader of Indonesia since January 2010 and has been working closely with the secretariat in Geneva and will continue her cooperation for the further development of Indonesia. congratulates Dr. Siti Syamsiyatun on her new appointment and wishes her all the best for this new challenge! 

News from participants

Newly registered participants

Throughout the summer has continued to increase the number of registered participants that has reached over 7000, with a 10% growth in only one month (July). Especially the number of new participants from Asia especially from Malaysia (220) and the Philippines (131) was impressive.

If you are interested to find out more about other participants you can search by country, subject of interest and activity and get an idea of this truly global and amazing ethics network.

Make sure you are registered to have access to other participants’ profiles. We would also like to encourage you to update your profile with information about your work, your interest in ethics, research topics etc. and if necessary your new email address. You can access your profile from the dashboard My (first page you arrive on after login) and then click on profile in the horizontal navigation bar or you can click on My Profile at the very top of the page next to the language symbols.

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