13th GCGI International Conference and the 3rd Joint GCGI and SES Forum
Why Values Matter
The Power of Purpose and Values: The Path to a Better World
Wednesday 31 August- Sunday 4 September, 2016
Hosted at Waterperry House, Nr. Oxford
Building a better world, the world of values in the interest of the common good is indeed a holistic journey. It encompasses all our relationships in our daily lives, from how we interact with each other, across diversity, to how we care for the planet and steward our resources and how we relate to a faith or spiritual values and envision a future bigger than ourselves. Our Conference this year, similar to the previous ones, will take participants on a journey into building and co-creating the better world we are all yearning for.
What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to live a life of meaning and purpose? What does it mean to understand and appreciate the natural world? ...To forge a more just society for the common good? In what ways are we living our highest values? How are we working to embody change we wish to see in the world? What projects, models or initiatives give us the greatest hope?
How can we do well in life by doing good? How can we become agents of change for the common good? How to spark a new public conversation framed around human dignity and the common good? Human beings have explored these many questions of value through religion, philosophy, the creation of art and literature, and more. Indeed, questions of value have inaugurated many disciplines within the humanities and continue to drive them today. Questions about values and valuing are fundamental to being human, but rarely are the subject of explicit public reflection. The Conference will explore how values-led action can be a resource for renewal.
Please see the link below to discover more about our forthcoming Conference, theme and sub-themes, submitting abstracts, registration, fees, travelling to Waterperry House, the GCGI Award and the Gala Evening: GCGI-SES Joint 2016 Conference
Photo: Anne Mofid
“Father, Forgive” - these two words which I discovered at the ruins of Coventry Cathedral in 1973 changed the course of my life.
This is the story I must tell.
It is 42 years since I first visited Coventry Cathedral. It had a profound impact on me, hugely influencing and inspiring me to be who I am and what I now do.
It was, if I remember rightly, on an early morning in November 1973. A few months earlier, I had met a wonderful girl from Coventry in Oxford, where we were living and studying, a girl who later became my dear wife, Annie. In July 1974 we were married at the old, historical Saint Osburg’s in Coventry.
In November 1973 Annie had invited me to her home town of Coventry, so that she could introduce me to her parents. It was a memorable occasion for me, leading to a long and loving relationship between us, which I cherish dearly.
We visited the cathedral. I can recall it was a cold grey day. I was only 21 years old, and had arrived in England, only a couple of years earlier from Iran, as a student to further my studies. I did not know anything about Coventry, its bombed and destroyed Cathedral, its industrial heritage, and moreover, I did not know much about Christianity, except what I had heard about Jesus and Mary, which in Iran I knew as ”Hazrat-e Isa” and “Maryam-e Moghadas” (Prophet Jesus and Holy Mary).
To cut a long story short, Annie gave me a quick tour of the Cathedral, the old, destroyed one and then took me down the stairs to the new one.
For sure, I didn't understand every word Annie was telling me. Indeed, I suspect I was lost at times but, as I recall, I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing.
Later on, in my search to learn more about what I had seen in Coventry Cathedral on that November day, I discovered:
First written on 11 April 2011
Updated on 9 November 2015
Small is Beautiful:
The Wisdom of E.F. Schumacher
16 August 1911-4 September 1977
"Perhaps we cannot raise the winds. But each of us can put up the sail, so that when the wind comes we can catch it."
- E. F. Schumacher,Small Is Beautiful: a study of economics as if people mattered
Kamran Mofid- (Written in appreciation of E.F. Schumacher and in celebration of his centenary)
It is 38 years since the publication of a slim volume of articles and essays titled Small is Beautiful: Economics as if people mattered. The year 1973, as Martin Hodgson writing in the Guardian has noted, was a timely one for radical environmental thinking. The first UN conference on sustainable development had been held the previous year, and soon after, within months of each other, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the UK Green party were founded.
Small is Beautiful rapidly became a bestseller and the ideas that Schumacher popularised helped shape modern environmentalism, development theory and the global justice movement.
Equal parts economic analysis, spiritual tract and radical manifesto, the book reflected the contradictory nature of its author - a patrician academic who was also passionately interested in Eastern philosophy. What bound his work was a central belief that modern society had lost touch with basic human needs and values - and in doing so had failed both the planet and its people.
In the name of profit and technological progress, Schumacher argued, modern economic policies had created rampant inefficiency, environmental degradation and dehumanising labour conditions. "Ever bigger machines, entailing ever bigger concentrations of economic power and exerting ever greater violence against the environment, do not represent progress: they are a denial of wisdom. Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the non-violent, the elegant and beautiful," he wrote.
The remedy he proposed - a holistic approach to human society, which stressed small scale, localised solutions - flew in the face of economic orthodoxies of the time: "I have no doubt that it is possible to give a new direction to technological development, a direction that shall lead it back to the real needs of man, and that also means: to the actual size of man. Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful."
To give a Nobel Prize In Economics, year in, year out, mainly and predominantly to a male economist from the United States’ Ivy League Universities, regurgitating the same mathematical/neo-liberal nonsense is neither Noble nor clever. Is it?
“Facing a similar crisis of legitimacy, the prize needs to prove it is much more than an award for stockmarket speculators”
“There is no doubt that, as noted by scores of observers around the world, the reputation of the Nobel Prize in Economics, as well as the economists themselves are in urgent and desperate need of repair and building up, not only in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008, but even well before that. As much of mainstream economics became obsessed with navel-gazing esoteric mathematical models or theories designed to justify market liberalism, the public became relatively more alienated from the activities of economists. In such a context, the Nobel Prize has been a useful tool not only to proclaim the conceptual advances supposedly made by "the dismal science" but also to encourage certain types of economic analysis and research. So its power extends beyond public recognition, altering the very production of economic knowledge.”…**
How to make the Nobel Prize in Economics Noble?
The answer lies in simplicity, wisdom, the common sense and the common good
Nobel Prize in Economics in the Interest of the Common Good
Sustainable Development Goals: Where is the Common Good?
Prof. Kamran Mofid*
Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI)
(This article is dedicated to the children of the world, the torch bearers of the next sustainable agenda, who are the unfolding story of the decades ahead. May they rise to the challenge of leading our troubled world, with hope and wisdom in the interest of the common good to a better future)
"Already a billion of us go to bed hungry every night. Not because there isn't enough, but because of the deep injustice in the way the system works."-OXFAM International
In the year 2000, the world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration: A commitment to a peaceful, prosperous, and just world. The declaration included a set of targets for development and poverty reduction to be reached by 2015. These came to be known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
A cursory look at the world today can easily show that the MDGs journey has been nothing but a big disappointment: Where is “a peaceful, prosperous, and just world “? Hopes were raised and hopes have been dashed.
These goals will expire on December 31, 2015, and will be replaced by yet another set of gaols, namely the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
"The Value of Values to Build a World for the Common Good"
Prof. Kamran Mofid*
Founder, Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI)
World Congress of Faiths
Annual General Meeting
LondonSchool of Economics, University of London
The Alumni Theatre, New AcademicBuilding (NAB)
Wednesday 20 May 2015
Photo: Albert Ceolan, Bountiful Earth
Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today, and for giving me the opportunity to share with you my journey for the common good, a journey which I began many years ago, when as a young man I left Iran for England in 1972 in my search for life’s bigger picture.
Friends, I very much like to set the scene by reading a short statement, giving you a brief background to my presentation, my abstract, if you will:
This presentation is dedicated to the youth of the world, our children and grand- children, who are the unfolding story of the decades ahead. May they rise to the challenge of leading our troubled world, with hope and wisdom in the interest of the common good to a better future
Our country, the United Kingdom, like all nations of the world, despite many good works, deeds and actions by so many individuals, organisations, civil societies and more, is facing a number of major socio-economic, political, ecological, moral, ethical and spiritual crises.
However, I wish to argue that:
Youth Mental Health Matters:
There are 1.2 Billion Youth Aged 15-24 Years in the World
"Youth and Mental Health": The shocking statistic is that 1 in 5 young people suffer from mental illness. Many more suffer from mild depression and loneliness. This is a plea to all youth workers, social/health-care workers, academics, teachers, the youth themselves, parents, schools, colleges, universities, civil societies dealing with youth, politicians, media, business community, religious and spiritual leaders, all the people of good will: Make 2015 a year where you purposefully ensure that a permanent, safe, creative space is made available for all young people to speak their heart, anxiety, worries, hopes and dreams. Let us all become a vehicle of hope and ensure young people are transformed into responsible global citizens, having overcome any disadvantages that they might have faced in the past. This is a true Common Good Vision.
A Plea to address Global Youth Depression
“Values represent our guiding principles: our broadest motivations, influencing the attitudes we hold and how we act.”
‘Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value’- Albert Einstein
As it has been observed throughout history, in action and thought, people are affected by a wide range of influences. Past experience, cultural and social norms are some of the most important ones. Connected to all of these, to some extent, are our values, which represent a strong guiding force, shaping our attitudes and behaviour over the course of our lives. Our values have been shown to influence our political persuasions; our willingness to participate in political action; our career choices; our ecological footprints; how much money we spend, and on what; and our feelings of personal wellbeing, contentment and happiness; as well as our relationship with others, with nature and the Mother Earth, to mention but a few.
At a recent seminar I was asked by one of the participants if I could explain, in simple, jargon-free language, what I meant by “an economy that serves the common good”, and also what I meant by “sustainability, social justice and ecology”.
I was excited by these questions, as they are very close to my heart. Although, I have written extensively on these issues*, here, now was my chance to engage, face-to-face, with some interested and well-informed people, who wanted some clear explanations. Thus, I began to explain and the dialogue started:
First, I said, in order to see what an economy for the common good might look like, it would be helpful to consider what globalisation for the common good might look like. This is important, as an economy for the common good needs a fertile ground in which to develop. Thus, I began telling them about the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI), where we connect our intellect with our humanity on our path towards the common good.
I explained that to understand and face the challenges of the contemporary world requires us to view the big picture. Whatever we are considering, whether it is war and peace, economics and environment, justice and injustice, love and hatred, cooperation and competition, common good and selfishness, science and technology, progress and poverty, profit and loss, food and population, energy and water, disease and health, education and family, we need to keep the big picture in mind to understand and solve the many pressing problems, large and small, regional or global.
This big picture is also the context in which we can most productively explore the perennial questions of life – its purpose and meaning, the relevance of values, justice and our relationship to the ecosystem which supports all life.