null Newsletter No 1/2011

January 2011

In this issue

Editorial by Christoph Stückelberger

Communicating across borders

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers." This Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations is violated in many parts of the world, sometimes in a latent way, sometimes very obviously. This is the case in Egypt at the moment. If people are cut off from information and communication, from internet, mobile phone, radio or television, it is like starving from hunger.

Information and communication in a modern interdependent world is not just a luxury good, but is necessary for survival. A mother in Haiti, who lost everything during the earthquake there was asked what she needed most urgently. Her answer was her mobile phone, in order to seach for her children and contact her family. The people in Cairo who are cut off from communication may know less about their situation than we know abroad.

The  317 registered participants of from Egypt have visited the library and news sections of our website 2'194 times during the last two months. Between last Friday, 28 January and today, 31 January, no people from Egypt have visited the website. It seems that access is cut; the human right to information is violated. The email that I sent today to Randa Ali Hamdy, Professor of Management and Ethics in Cairo and coordinator for business ethics, remains unanswered so far. Let us care about communication that is open, fair and sensitive.

Saju Chackalackal, Director of India, underlines these opportunities for networking in his contribution in this newsletter. Let us use our network to share the food that we all need; information and communication. Let us go on our website to 'network', then to 'participants', select 'Egypt' under countries and send an email to one of the 317 participants from Egypt. Become friends across borders and political divides. This way we become a sharing and caring community.

31 January 2011 
Christoph Stueckelberger, Director and Founder of

The Libraries

New reference books in your library is happy to announce that we have purchased new reference books for you. You can now access the following new titles:

· The Ashgate Research Companion to Ethics and International Relations

· The Ashgate Research Companion to Federalism

· The Ashgate Research Companion to the Politics of Democratization in Europe

· The Ashgate Research Companion to Corporate Social Responsibility

· The Ashgate Research Companion to Multiculturalism

You can access those titles either from the menu Ethics Library > Search the library > Reference Books or in Ethics Library > Reference Books. It is the same content but a different display. You can also carry out an overall search (i.e. you search the whole content of the library, including reference books) in Ethics Library > Search the library > Overall Search.

During 2011 more titles will be made available, among them the following ones (new ones will be announced in forthcoming newsletters as soon as they are available):

· The Ashgate Research Companion to Political Leadership

· The Ashgate Research Companion to Political Violence

· The Ashgate Research Companion to Human Ecology

· The Ashgate Research Companion to Cosmopolitanism

· The Ashgate Research Companion to War

· The Ashgate Research Companion to Modern Theory, Modern Power, World Politics

· The Ashgate Research Companion to International Trade

· The Ashgate Research Companion to the Globalization of Health

· The Ashgate Research Companion to Religion and Conflict Resolution

· Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History, Second Edition

· Berkshire Encyclopedia of China: Modern and Historic Views of the World's Newest and
  Oldest Global Power

· Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: The Spirit of Sustainability

· Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: The Business of Sustainability

· Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: The Law and Politics of Sustainability

· Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Natural Resources and Sustainability

· Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Ecosystem Management and Sustainability

· Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Measurements, Indicators, and Research
  Methods for Sustainability

· Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: China and India: Assessing Sustainability

· Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: The Americas and Oceania: Assessing

· Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Afro-Eurasia: Assessing Sustainability

· Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: The Future of Sustainability submitters / reviewers

Hélène Coetzee and Helena Coetzee have both been submitting and reviewing content for during 2010. They now want to invest their time in other professional activities. We warmly thank them for their work and wish them all the best in 2011.

Please do not forget to apply to the open positions for joining the submitters and reviewers team of The application phase is open until today, 31 January 2011. Please see more details here:  

Establishment of the GlobTheoLib

As announced in the Newsletter N°8 (August 2010) is working on a project to establish a Global Digital Library on Theology and Ecumenism otherwise known as GlobTheoLib or GTL. The pre-project phase ended in September 2010 with an international workshop in Geneva with participants from library related networks and organizations from each continent. 

GTL is being hosted by in partnership with the World Council of Churches and its Ecumenical Theological Education programme. As of 1 January 2011, the GTL project has formally entered the implementation phase with the signing of a Consortium Agreement by a number of partners around the world. The full list of Consortium members will be made public in subsequent newsletters and elsewhere on the website.

It is also planned that an e-Librarian dedicated to managing content in the new GTL library will be appointed during the next month or so. 

The Network

16'000 registered participants!

This month we have more than 16'000 registered participants. A warm welcome to the 2'431 new participants who have joined us in January 2011! It is encouraging to see the growing interest in ethics across a variety of sectors, countries and backgrounds. Do please feel free to join in the different workgroups and discussions and do keep your profile up to date. 

We are also active in different social networks for which we invite you to visit our pages: Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, and Koprol.

News from the International Secretariat

Global Ethics Forum 2011

As announced in the November newsletter (N°11) the Global Ethics Forum 2011 is set to take place in Geneva, Switzerland from Thursday 30 June to Friday 1 July 2011. The Forum is being co-organized by and Paris-based conference specialists  EIE Global. This is the second Global Ethics Forum; the first Forum took place in Geneva in 2009.

More information about the Global Ethics Forum including the program can be found here.

Workgroup on Gender Justice and Power

Gender Justice and Power is the first workgroup of the World Council of Churches to be opened on Gender Ethics. This workgroup serves as a platform for analyzing, theologizing and communicating as well as taking stock of expressions of power relations in the ecumenical movement and in society at large. It aims to raise awareness and work towards the transformation of gender relations through the creation of a just peaceable mutual community of women and men that forms a movement of gender justice for partnership and peace.

The Gender Justice and Power workgroup was launched during the United Nations 16 Days of Activism in solidarity against violence against women and addresses challenging questions such as ‘Is there gender inequality in our time?’, highlighting troubling issues for participants’ particular regions in the world. All are invited to participate in this workgroup. To make your request, login and go to the workgroup page and click on join.

News from the Regional Programmes China: Welcome to Samuel Li China has received a grant from FTESEA (Foundation for Theological Education in South East Asia) to add more Chinese content to the library. Samuel Li has been given the mandate to fulfil this mission during the year 2011. He is working in the Hong Kong offices that are affiliated to the Beijing office of China and is working under the supervision of Prof. Tobias Brandner.  

Reflections on networking from India

Director of India, Prof. Dr Saju Chackalackal has prepared the following reflection on networking for a humanity with value consciousness. 

"Indeed, attaining truth is both hard and easy. Aristotle said that: “No one is able to attain the truth adequately; however, we do not collectively fail, for everyone says something true about the nature of things.” He continued: “While individually we contribute little or nothing to the truth, by the union of all, a considerable amount of knowledge is attained.”

In our search for truth, especially in the domain of ethics and moral action, we encounter the same difficulty that Aristotle cited thousands of years ago. However, that is not a reason to be sceptical or pessimistic about the possibility of attaining moral truth. For, as everyone is able to contribute a little at least towards the understanding of what is truly moral, naturally we could maintain a reasonable hope that humanity as a whole will not fail. It is in this context, I find the relevance of human networking.


The ability to consciously initiate a network is a unique ability of human beings. This ability, I believe, is contributive to our search for and realization of truth. As one or the other may not be able to perceive situations as they are and the proper or right response to them, as a human being he or she could take their cues from the already existing networks and identified right responses. For, despite the overabundance of different theories and the confusion that can arise from the presence of those multiple theories, a network of human beings will facilitate a better perception of the right responses even to intricate moral dilemmas.


The beginning of the twenty-first century is marked by advances in networking, as we witness the ongoing transformation of networking itself – from physical and spiritual networks to social and virtual networkings and even to cloud computing. Although there are negative consequences identified, the advances in virtual and social networking are said to be offering the human society a new platform as well as new dynamics in perception and understanding of realities and values; they even tend to be revamping the dynamics of the already existing physical and spiritual networking.


The advantage of a virtually networking society is the fact that the personal as well as the social presence and impact of everyone can be meaningfully made. Indeed, everyone matters; yet, everyone is in constant touch with the other, without being a limiting or threatening factor. Even in the issue of value perception, a network can facilitate better perception of values, although, at the same time, we must beware of the manipulations that can also be easily incorporated into these networkings.


Given these facts, the initiatives of through its networking of (registered) participants constitute a great feat. The attempts of in making available scientific resources on ethics are praiseworthy. As every participant has to register to have access to the resources, it not only takes away anonymity among the participants, but also infuses the network with mutuality and responsibility, which are two necessary ingredients of any valid ethical theory. Moreover, as operates on its basic philosophy of “give and take,” it is not merely a content provider, but a collaborator who offers a dynamic platform for critical and creative deliberation, which can be carried out on an individual basis and on a collective format. The fact that it has an ever widening network of participants and that the resources are contributed by the participants themselves, the future of is quite bright. Its impact factor is indeed promising.


I am sure that, in the course of time, will give a lead in the much needed ethical direction, without being coercive at all, to humanity at large, of course, through the networking of its registered participants. In the context of the rapidly progressing understanding and dynamics of networking itself, I wish that would catch up with the emerging trends in thought and technology and try to make the best use of both for the betterment of humanity and the rest of the creation.' East Africa

We are pleased to announce that the leadership group of the new East Africa regional programme has been selected following an open tender process that was launched in October 2010. The leadership group will be composed of three people, all based in Nairobi, Kenya as follows:

- Sr Dr Elisabeth Nduku, Director of the Centre for Social Justice and Ethics of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi

- Prof. Dr Jesse Mugambi, Professor for Religious Studies, University of Nairobi and Director of the Program for Ethics in Eastern Africa (PEEA), Nairobi and

- Prof. Sarah W. Kibugi, Head of Department of Information and Liberal Studies, Polytechnic University, Nairobi.

We extend a warm welcome to all of them and look forward to working with them during the next months and years. It is planned that the East Africa regional programme will start operations in March 2011. 

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