Group photos from GCGI Conferences
“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.
Let us pause for a moment and focus on some fundamental and enduring questions of human meaning and value. Questions such as:
1. What does it mean to be human?
2. What does it mean to live a life of meaning and purpose?
3. What does it mean to understand and appreciate the natural world?
4. What does it mean to forge a more just society for the common good?
By their very nature, these questions lend themselves to thought and discussion around ethics, morals and values.
At the GCGI we are delighted and honoured that since 2002 we have been at the forefront of activities to highlight, address and analyse these and other relevant questions.
We recognised that building a better and more harmonious world will demand challenging and novel ways of thinking, perspectives that encompass the broad swath of human experience and wisdom, from the natural sciences and all the social sciences, to the philosophical and spiritual values of the world’s major religions and of indigenous peoples as well. The task before us is a daunting one, and wisdom in how to proceed will come from a multiple of sources, and must embrace the panorama of cultural and disciplinary perspectives. We appreciate that we should not carry on constructing a global society that is materially rich but spiritually poor. We did know that we must be led by values, and must uphold them at all times.
Thus, in 2002, we began to construct globalisation for the common good, as a path to build a more just and sustainable world.
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.
Photos: Courtesy of GNNSJ Audio Visual Department, Birmingham, UK
Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI)
School of Economic Science (SES)
12th Annual GCGI International Conference and the 2nd Joint GCGI and SES Forum
“The Value of Values: Spiritual Wisdom in Everyday Life”
31 August- 4 September, 2014
A Report and Reflection by: Steve Szeghi, Professor of Economics, Wilmington College, GCGI Senior Ambassador, GCGI Board of Advisers, Co-Editor GCGI Journal(GCGIJ)
From August 31 Until September 4th, around sixty individuals from many countries gathered at Waterperry House near Oxford for the GCGI Conference. The conference attendees came from diverse backgrounds, divergent spiritual traditions, many distinct cultures, and philosophical points of view. Many were teachers and professors, some were entrepreneurs, social and business, some were lawyers, and some were accomplished spiritual, political, and community leaders, to name but a few. All were united by a desire to make this world we live in more just, more equal, more ecological, and more relational. For it is in relationships with one another and in our relationships with the earth and all the species and elements of nature that human beings find happiness, peace and purpose.
This year, we once again found a unity with one another, we found connection. We found it in our search for truth and in our hopes to build a better world in ways both large and small. We listened intently to each other’s presentations. We engaged in dialogue during the formal sessions, and again more informally as we ate together and shared perspectives. What we hope for the world, we found in a special way, this year at Waterperry House.
The Third GCGI Award for Public Service in the Interest of the Common Good was presented to Bhai Sahib Bhai Dr. Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, Birmingham, UK, at the 12th Annual GCGI International Conference and the 2nd Joint GCGI and SES Forum, held at Waterperry House, School of Economic Science, Oxford.
The Award is given in recognition of Bhai Sahib Ji’s extraordinary and tireless work for peace and justice, and his selfless service in helping to build a better world. He exemplifies the great peace potential inherent in religious traditions to more fully engaging nationally and globally to build trust, foster understanding, and revitalise public policy discussions for the common good.
He continues to encourage and empower others to discover their own potential for change and to evoke their hidden strengths to bring more goodness into the world.
The Award was presented to Bhai Sahib Ji at a special ceremony during the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative’s Twelfth Anniversary Gala Dinner hosted at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford, on the evening of Wednesday 3 September 2014.
Previous GCGI Award recipients: