null Newsletter No1/2021 - New Beginnings - Growing amidst Thorns


New Beginnings - Growing amidst Thorns

By Amélé Adamavi-Aho Ekué

Cactus Thorns

Like a thorn in the flesh – uncomfortable, painful and disruptive – the coronavirus has held us firmly in its grip for many months now. And we begin to realise that it will most probably remain part of our lives much longer than we had hoped for. The invisible virus has made the vulnerability of the world visible. There is probably no other moment in recent history that has so profoundly marked our lives on a global scale, literally in every corner of the world.

In my engagement with students at university, it dawned on me that young people may be considered in this situation as vulnerable populations too, and are deserving of our specific attention. How do they experience the pandemic and the restrictions impinging upon their mobility, creativity and intellectual development? What do they have to say and contribute? How do they look into the future at the beginning of this new year? Therefore, I invited them to write short essays on living with the pandemic. "This is exciting! Nobody ever asked us," they welcomed this opportunity to express themselves, and I am already looking forward to being able to learn from their insights. We have so many reasons to welcome 2021 with particular hopes and aspirations.

These are no times for a shallow and self-appeasing rhetoric. It is rather a time for a renewed and reflective collaboration, between all those who believe that there is indeed hope for bridging the gaps that existed before, which have recently become even more apparent. People around the world have demonstrated through acts of resilience, considerateness and solidarity that the necessary social distancing measures to keep abreast with the propagation of the pandemic does not translate into social indifference. From home schooling and higher education e-learning models, online reading clubs to assistance offered to vulnerable groups in local neighbourhoods, examples of the powerful attitude of caring for one another are manifold.

At, we fully embrace this attitude as we embark on this new year together with our regional office representatives, our students, instructors, experts and partners. In our most recent publication, we illustrated how we care about ethics. For us, and all those who journey with us, ethics provides the necessary depth and quality in higher education, which lies at the heart of preparing future leaders to make appropriate discernments and offer creative solutions.

We hope that we will be able to intensify our international collaboration in research, course development and on joint publications, to invite new partners to join our network and to increase the visibility of our courses, library and publications. We want to build upon the encouraging experiences from last year in the Academy with the launch of four new courses. In April, we will introduce a new concentration area on intercultural and interreligious ethics, with the first instalment of our course on Interreligious Cooperation for Peace. At this decisive time, as the world grapples with accentuated polarisations and divisions, we are convinced that this course programme will stand all those in good stead who seek to make a difference in our wounded world.    

Growing as an organisation constitutes a continued aspiration, which we will continue to pursue in 2021. We endeavour to provide conducive learning environments for our participants, but we also wish to continue learning ourselves, remaining alert and open for new developments, improving our offer, and continuing to establish as an academic institution with a unique value proposition. In this regard, blended-learning represents one of the avenues we would like to take to establish bridges between onsite and online course components.    

The year 2020 has taught us important lessons. We have been able to develop resilient capacities under adverse circumstances. Strengthened by this experience, we would like to move forward this year, seizing the opportunities presented to us in partnership with so many around the world who make a vibrant network for ethics in higher education. We are aware that our aspirations may not all be fulfilled, but the companionship of our collaborators and partners continuously inspires and motivates us to hold fast to our ambition. Knowing that the beauty of new beginnings lies in the unexpected discovery of growing amidst thorns.   

Amélé Adamavi-Aho Ekué
Academic Dean


Academy - THE Spring Semester is Open

Ethics in Higher Education for Teaching Professionals
Learn to recognise, understand and address ethical issues in personal, institutional and professional contexts. This course will also ask you to reflect on existing policies and practices within your institution.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development
Discover how the societal engagement of companies across diverse sectors can make a difference in today's world.The course focuses on the different definitions and approaches and on the application of CSR within organisations. 
Starting date: 15 March 2021
Registration: Open - Freemium Model
Starting date: 15 March 2021
Registration: Open - Freemium Model
Interreligious Cooperation for Peace - Part A: Religion Studies
This course is the first part of three online courses that shape the Executive Certificate Programme on Interreligious Cooperation for Peace. You will undertake a unique learning journey where you will learn about religion and religions and how religious communities can engage and learn from one another.
Responsible Leadership 
Develop critical thinking about the theory and practice of responsible leadership. This course will examine different theories and will focus on dialogical leadership, which enables transparent and effective deliberation.
Starting date: 12 April 2021
Registration: Open - Freemium Model
Starting date: 12 April 2021
Registration: Open - Freemium Model

Celebrating the Achievements – Looking Forward to a New Year of Learning Opportunities

As we start our new Academic Year 2021, we have organised an online ceremony to recognise participants' achievements in our courses on Ethics in Higher Education for Teaching and Administrative Professionals, Cyber Ethics and Responsible Leadership, and to convey our gratitude to our dedicated course participants, instructors and supporting team members.

 Discover the Academy »


Library - Access to Knowledge

Intercultural Ethics Collection

This collection focuses on the diversity of values, as a result of our personal attachment to our linguistic, geographical and cultural communities of origin. This collection explores how culture impacts ethical practice. 

Macau Ricci Institute
The Macau Ricci Institute Collection has been developed by the Library, in collaboration with the Macau Ricci Institute. The collection contains over 300 items, focused on the history of Christian missions in China.

Ethik und Gesellschaft 
The journal is edited twice a year, and provides an interdisciplinary approach focusing on the political issues shaping our society. The journal is sponsored by the 'Stiftung Zukunft der Arbeit und der sozialen Sicherung', and items are available in German.

Library tip 

Our Librarians have made a short tutorial to help you subscribe to new content and become acquainted with the most important functionalities, alongside tips and tricks to improve your search. 


Publications - Read everywhere

Who Cares About Ethics?

Ethics is a universal concern for all people around the world, and this book explores how and why ethics is still relevant today. Who Cares About Ethics? is made up of selected essays from participants in the Network, capitalising on their diverse knowledge and life experiences. Topics range from ethics in the cyberworld, the role of religious ethics in advocating for the environment, explorations of ethics in health and well-being to redefining the concept of homesickness.

 Check all the publications »

Events - Coming soon...

Online webinar on Corporate Social Responsibility

Together with our partner Milpark Business School,South Africa we are organising an online webinar in February 2021. The webinar will focus on the role of ethics in corporate social responsibility and sustainable development.

More information coming soon! 


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