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null Newsletter n°6 – August 2007 is buzzing!

A consultation in India, a digital library in the design, a workshop in the Swiss mountains, a publication freshly printed, an international conference in 2008… is buzzing with activity!

Long, silent months have gone by since our last newsletter, while the secretariat has been busy as a bee designing’s 2007-2008 programme of activities, ensuring a steady start for the coming Global Digital Library on Ethics, and giving the last hand to the first volume of the GE Series on “Responsible Leadership”. More in this newsletter…

Networking >
1. Global Digital Library on Ethics making progress

Research >
2. International consultation on “Engendering Ethics”
3. ‘Responsible Leadership’ now out of press!
4. Cycle on ‘Sharing Values’: experimental workshop in the Swiss Alps
5. Cycle on ‘Sharing Values’: international conference to be held in Nairobi’s life >
6.’s Networking Specialist wins IFLA/OCLC Fellowship
7. Please don’t forget to…


Global Digital Library on Ethics making progress

Partner selected

Over the summer, selected
Metaversum AG, an IT solution provider based in Zurich out of several bidders for implementing the ethics digital library. also consulted with various institutions and individuals on this project, and based on their feedback, the project’s scope and coverage have been expanded substantially. Discussion with content providers - both commercial and non-commercial - are currently underway.

Commitment from Linsi Foundation is happy to note the commitment and renewed support from Swiss-based Linsi Foundation. The great support of CHF 300’000 will be primarily invested to cover GDLE’s development costs.

All participants are invited to and explore ideas and submit proposals of cooperation with


International consultation on “Engendering Ethics”

Over 30 people from different regions of the world met in the premises of the Ecumenical Resource Centre at the United Theological College in Bangalore, India from 28-30 May 2007 for a consultation on ‘Engendering Ethics. Renegotiating the Values, Rights, and Agency of a Woman’s Body’

The consultation was organised by Board member Rev. Dr. Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar, a Professor in Theology in the Department of Women’s Studies at the
United Theological College, Bangalore, and Coordinator, Gender Ethics Research for The event was supported by as a part of its programme to offer space and opportunity for individuals and institutions to work for common good and promotes research and sharing of resources.

The objective of the consultation was to intentionally bring together voices from different faith backgrounds to wrestle with the question of ethics and social values regarding women. The framework for raising the question of ethics was the experiences of women across cultures, regions and religions in this world. Violence against women itself was chosen as a framework to study how a community/religion learns to absorb, tolerate, accommodate, challenge or resist the violence done to women in their ‘cultures’ and contexts. The role that the State, the law and order, the judiciary and the media play in the context of violence, also served as ‘a lens’ to analyse the nodal points of patriarchal power that perpetuate the domineering values at home, in the larger family and in society. Violence against women in society functions like a mirror to show how a society/community values or devalues the woman, her body, her personhood in society.

Case studies on issues of rape, prostitution, domestic violence and stories of discrimination of women who are affected with HIV/AIDS were passed around in advance so that participants could prepare for the consultation and raise new questions as well as case studies from their context to shed further light on the study. The consultation functioned as a collective study making all participants feel responsible for the outcome of the whole conference rather than focus only on how his/her paper presentation was received.

Participants included experts in varied fields who serve as ethicists, researchers, grass root workers, those from women’s movements, sociologists, theologians, activists, academicians, consultants on Gender, HIV-AIDS education, media persons, and from law school. They came from Taiwan, India, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Kenya, Lebanon, and the USA.

A publication compiling different contributions delivered at the consultation will be issued. Some of the contributions can already be found on the
Documents section of the website.


‘Responsible Leadership’ now out of press!

“Responsible Leadership: Global and Contextual Ethical Perspectives” has just come out of press. Co-edited by
Christoph Stueckelberger, Founding Chair of, Professor of Ethics at the University of Basel and Director of the Institute for Theology and Ethics of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, and by Jesse N.K. Mugambi, Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Nairobi, Professor Extraordinarius at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, and Member of the World Council of Churches Working Group on Climate Change, Responsible Leadership is an augmented edition of the volume published on the same theme in 2005 (Acton Press, Kenya).

At the origin of the book stands the observation that leadership models and values change in a fast globalising world. The responsible use of power is a key factor to good governance and a human life in dignity in all sectors of society. How can the respect for the cultural and religious diversity of values be combined with common perspectives of responsible leadership in the one world? In 40 contributions, ethicists and other experts from 21 countries on the five continents give surprising and challenging answers in the field of family leadership, religious leadership, business leadership and political leadership.

“Responsible Leadership” comes as a reader for church and business leaders, for politicians and journalists, for teachers, students and scholars – and parents.

In accordance with
goals and principles, the content of the volume is accessible online to the network’s participants. The full text of the book can be freely uploaded from the Publications section of the’s website.

To order print copies (CHF 32), please contact


Cycle on ‘Sharing Values’: experimental workshop in the Swiss Alps is organising a workshop on 24-27 September 2007 to launch its research cycle on ‘Sharing Values. Methodologies for Interreligious Research in Applied Ethics’.

The objective of the workshop is to initiate a reflection on how to share values across different systems of knowledge (theological-dogmatic, mystical-revelatory, mythical, scientific-logical, intellectual-critical, etc.) while giving full credit to these systems’ richness and internal coherence. Planned as an experiment including brainstorming and dialogue testing, the workshop will prepare the 2008 Conference by defining the axes of reflection and research necessary to formulate a methodology blueprint for interreligious research and dialogue on global ethics.

Background rationale

On moral epistemology, the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy reads: ‘When we do practical or applied ethics, we attempt to find out which actions are right and which are wrong. The epistemological question these areas of philosophy raise is this: How can we know any of that? Traditionally, philosophers have attempted to answer the questions of ethics via intuition, a priori reasoning, and the consideration of hypothetical cases. Some philosophers […] consider this approach misguided because they think that it is unreliable and liable to produce results that merely reflect our own cultural and social biases. […] Finally, a further important question is whether moral knowledge is at all possible. Knowledge requires truth and thus objective reality. According to [some], there is no objective reality of, and thus no truth about, moral matters. Since what is known must be true, it is not easy to see how [in this case] there could be knowledge of moral matters.’ (Article on ‘Epistemology’) In spite of this view, human history has witnessed many attempts to codify what they claim were universal values into reference texts which have assumed diverse forms, from early sacred texts up to contemporary initiatives such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But now that we have grown in awareness of cultural and religious diversity, we can only take stock of the baffling multiplicity of – and sometimes contradiction between – these references. So the questions are raised again: ‘Do universal values exist at all? If yes, how do we need to share our values to be able to identify, or recognise, such universal values?’


A limited number of participants (15-20) from various regions of the world, stemming from the academic sector and/or representing different cultures and religions, will meet for 4 days. They will test interreligious/intercultural dialogue about ethics, and reflect on the potential as well as the challenges posed by this dialogue. Special attention will be devoted to the processes through which values are appropriated, formulated, and conveyed, and where it is relevant, to how these processes help or hinder a sound understanding of others’ values. Participants will be invited to hear and get acquainted with foreign ethical languages, and a special emphasis will be placed on personal openness to different ways of communication as well as on the personal atmosphere of the meeting. Observations made during the meeting will help identify important points of reflection to be taken up by participants to the 2008 Conference. Participation to the workshop is upon invitation only.

So far, confirmed participants include:


1. Dr. Octave Nicoué Broohm, Lecturer in Ethics and Politics, University of Lomé
2. Rev. Canon & Prof. John Mbiti (Kenya), Professor Emeritus of the University of Berne
3. Prof. Nkiru Nzegwu (Nigeria), Professor & Chair, Department of Africana Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton


4. Dr. Ashgar Ali Engineer, Director of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism in Mumbai
5. Prof. Asa Kasher, Laura Schwarz-Kipp Professor of Professional Ethics and Philosophy of Practice at Tel-Aviv University
6. Prof. Kim Yersu, Rector of the Global Academy for Neo-Renaissance, Kyung Hee University (Korea) and Former Director of the UNESCO Division for Philosophy and Ethics
7. Dr. Pragati Sahni, Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of New Delhi


8. Prof. Gerhold K. Becker (Germany), Chair Professor of Philosophy (ret.) and Founding Director of the Centre for Applied Ethics, Hong Kong Baptist University
9. Venerable Helmut Gassner (Austria), Monk of the Rabten Choeling Center for Higher Tibetan Studies (Switzerland)
10. Dr. Geraldine Smyth, Senior Lecturer in Ecumenical Studies at the University of Dublin’s Irish School of Ecumenism
11. Rev. Prof. Christoph Stueckelberger, Founding Chair of and Director of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches’ Institute for Theology and Ethics.

Latin America

12. Prof. Paulo Fernando Carneiro de Andrade, Professor of Ethics at the Department of Theology, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
13. Prof. Maricel Mena López, Professor of Theology at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia) and Coordinator of the Latin American branch of the Association of Third World Theologians
14. M. Carlos Eloy Viteri Gualinga (Ecuador), Indigenous Peoples Specialist at the Office of the Vice President for Sectors and Knowledge, Inter-American Development Bank

North America

15. M. Willie Ermine, Assistant Professor, First Nation University of Canada
16. Prof. Heidi Hadsell, Professor of Social Ethics and President, Hartford Seminary (USA)
17. Prof. Sumner B. Twiss, Distinguished Professor of Human Rights, Ethics, and Religion, Florida State University

Participants will stay at the former Caux-Palace, the main conference centre of
Caux-Initiatives of Change, an international network open to people of all cultures, nationalities, religions and beliefs, who work locally and globally towards change. The organisation kindly put the Palace at our disposal for the workshop. Caux’s beautiful situation above Lake Geneva offers an ideal environment for reflection.


Cycle on ‘Sharing Values’: international conference to be held in Nairobi

Dates and location

The 2008 Conference on ‘Sharing Values. Methodologies for Interreligious Research Partnerships on Applied Ethics’ will take place on 24-29 August in Nairobi, Kenya.


About 50 participants from every region of the world, representing a variety of academic, religious and cultural backgrounds will participate in the conference. The
Programme for Ethics in Eastern Africa will assist us with the African participation as well as with local logistics.


The thematic focuses will be defined by the group of experts convened at the September 2007 workshop, whose mission is to identify axes of reflection and research for the 2008 conference. A call for contributions will be issued during the coming fall. Participants who are not directly invited to give a keynote contribution will be selected on the basis of their research proposal. International and/or interreligious and/or intercultural research projects will be favoured over individual contributions.

Towards the conference will put its electronic platform at the disposal of participants who have been selected for a common research project, in order to facilitate their communication.

Nature of contributions

Unlike traditional conferences where contributions are mainly delivered in the form of speeches or conferences, contributions of alternative nature will be encouraged: participants will be free to have recourse to other means of communication to present their contribution (e.g. fine or performing arts, multimedia, story-telling, ceremonies), and will even be encouraged to resort to unusual mediums of communication if they feel they better convey their identity.

More details will be communicated once the workshop is over and the research themes are defined.

________________________________________’s Networking Specialist wins IFLA/OCLC Fellowship’s Networking Specialist
Atanu Garai from India was just selected as one of the five 2008 Early Career Development Fellows by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). Congratulations Atanu!

As a Fellow, Garai will participate in the five-week program including lectures, seminars and mentoring, both in Dublin, Ohio and in Leiden, Netherlands. Topics and issues include information technologies and their impact on libraries, library operations and management, and global cooperative librarianship.

Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio (USA), OCLC is a non-profit, membership, computer library service and research organisation dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s information and reducing information costs. Founded in Edinburgh in September 1927, IFLA was established as a small association of mainly national library associations and academic libraries.

The IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Program supports library and information science professionals from countries with developing economies.


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