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Book of Abstracts

Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI)

And

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

Hosted at

Waterperry House | School of Economic Science

From Oxford 2002 to Oxford 2014: Portrait of a Great Journey for the Common Good

 

Plater College, Oxford (2002)- St. Petersburg, Russia (2003)- Dubai, UAE (2004)- Nairobi and Kericho, Kenya(2005)- Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA (2006)-Fatih University, Istanbul, Turkey (2007)- Trinity College, University of Melbourne, Australia (2008)- Loyola University, Chicago, USA (2009)- California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California, USA (2010)- Alexandria Bibliotheca, Alexandria, Egypt (2011—Postponed, due to the Revolution in Egypt)- School of Economic Science, Oxford Campus, Waterperry House, Oxford, UK (2012), Cité universitaire internationale, Paris, France (2013), and School of Economic Science, Oxford Campus, Waterperry House, Oxford, UK (2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI): Where we connect our intellect with our humanity

To understand, appreciate, and face the challenges of the contemporary world requires us to focus on life’s big picture. Whether it is war and peace, economics and the 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 the big picture in order to understand and solve the many pressing problems, large and small, regional or global.

The “Big Picture” is also the context in which we can most productively explore the big perennial questions of life - purpose and meaning, virtues and values.

In order to focus on life’s bigger picture and guided by the principles of hard work, commitment, volunteerism and service; with a great passion for dialogue of cultures, civilisations, religions, ideas and visions, at an international conference in Oxford in 2002 the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) and the GCGI Annual International Conference Series were founded.

We recognise that our socio-economic problems are closely linked to our spiritual problems and vice versa. Moreover, socio-economic justice, peace and harmony will come about only when the essential connection between the spiritual and practical aspects of life is valued. Necessary for this journey is to discover, promote and live for the common good. The principle of the common good reminds us that we are all really responsible for each other – we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers – and must work for social conditions which ensure that every person and every group in society is able to meet their needs and realize their potential. It follows that every group in society must take into account the rights and aspirations of other groups, and the well-being of the whole human family.

One of the greatest challenges of our time is to apply the ideas of the global common good to practical problems and forge common solutions. Translating the contentions of philosophers, spiritual and religious scholars and leaders into agreement between policymakers and nations is the task of statesmen and citizens, a challenge to which Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) adheres. The purpose is not simply talking about the common good, or simply to have a dialogue, but the purpose is to take action, to make the common good and dialogue work for all of us, benefiting us all.

What the GCGI seeks to offer - through its scholarly and research programme, as well as its outreach and dialogue projects - is a vision that positions the quest for economic and social justice, peace and ecological sustainability within the framework of a spiritual consciousness and a practice of open-heartedness, generosity and caring for others. All are thus encouraged by this vision and consciousness to serve the common good.

The GCGI has from the very beginning invited us to move beyond the struggle and confusion of a preoccupied economic and materialistic life to a meaningful and purposeful life of hope and joy, gratitude, compassion, and service for the good of all.

Perhaps our greatest accomplishment has been our ability to bring Globalisation for the Common Good into the common vocabulary and awareness of a greater population along with initiating the necessary discussion as to its meaning and potential in our personal and collective lives.

In short, at Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative we are grateful to be contributing to that vision of a better world, given the goals and objectives that we have been championing since 2002. For that we are most grateful to all our friends and supporters that have made this possible.

School of Economic Science: A Brief Introduction

The School of Economic Science (a registered charity, founded in 1937) is a centre for spiritual and practical knowledge and enquiry. Our aim is to help anyone who seeks it to lead a fuller, richer and more useful life and to evolve the spiritual aspects of their being in accordance with natural laws.

This aim is pursued mainly by offering innovative courses in practical, living philosophy inspired by the philosophy of advaita or unity, and economics with justice.

Philosophy and economics are directly related because, ultimately, economic life depends on the philosophy underlying economic systems and on the philosophic culture of the people living and working in an economy.

The School offers a wide range of other courses, inspired by the broad principles of practical philosophy & economics, as well as seminars, workshops, concerts and lectures.

Origins in the economics of Henry George

The School of Economic Science has its origins in the 1930s, against the background of severe economic depression. Its founder, Leon MacLaren, was inspired by the work of the nineteenth century economist Henry George. George held that everyone owns what they create, but that everything found in nature, most importantly land, belongs equally to all humanity.

In 1937 MacLaren founded the Henry George School of Economics, the first public courses being held in the same year with the active support of his father, Andrew MacLaren MP. The school was renamed the School of Economic Science in 1942.

Development of Philosophy

Leon MacLaren continued to develop the courses in economics, writing ‘The Nature of Society’ as a text book. The last chapter of this book reflects his search for something not altogether accessible within the realm of economics. This lead to an interest in philosophy – ‘the love of wisdom’ – as a means of gaining deeper insights into the natural laws governing humanity and the origin of those laws.

After coming in contact with the Study Society in the early 50s, he discovered the teachings of Ouspensky and Gurdjieff. He was taken by the similarities between diagrams developed for the economics courses and those used by Ouspensky.

The first public courses in philosophy started in 1954, and within a few years philosophy became the central subject of study and practice within the School (economics courses have continued and there remains today a thriving economics faculty within the School).

Meditation

The arrival of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in London in 1959 brought the next stage of development, meditation. This was soon taken up by longstanding students of the School.

Maharaja Shri Shantananda Saraswati

In the mid 60s, the School made contact with a leading figure of the Vedantic tradition in India, Maharaja Shri Shantananda Saraswati, from whom it received invaluable guidance in the study and practice of philosophy for over 30 years.

Through this connection with the School was introduced to the universal teaching known as Advaita, which means literally ‘universal’ or ‘devoid of duality’. Since his death in 1997, similar guidance has been provided by his successor, Shri Vasudevananda Saraswati.

St James Schools

The St James Schools in London were established in 1975 as new venture aimed of providing a complete education for boys and girls from the age of 4 to 18.

Run by a separate charity and governed by an independent board, they all flourish. The approach has subsequently been followed by Schools in the USA, South Africa, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Art in Action

Art in Action began in 1977 and is held every year. Run and staffed by people studying in the School, plus a growing number of other volunteers, it is now a major art event – a showcase for over 250 demonstrators from around the world.

Later growth

The School has expanded geographically so that courses in philosophy, and sometimes other subjects, are now available through more than 40 branch locations in the UK in the UK. During the same period a number of associated overseas schools have been established. Each of these overseas schools is legally independent, but they share a common interest and bond through the same philosophical teaching.

Leon MacLaren died in 1994 and was succeeded by Donald Lambie, a barrister.

The Book of Abstracts

See the Final Programme:

12th Annual GCGI Conference and the 2nd Joint GCGI and SES Forum: Final Programme

Prof. Luk Bouckaert

 

Can Spirituality save the World?

Is the world driven by politics of power, economics of greed and a cultural ethos of consumerism?  At first glance, it seems that many political and economic events can be explained by these narrow drivers of individual and collective ego-centrism. However, there are countervailing powers at work.  A growing number of people from different religions, nationalities, political parties, scientific disciplines or social classes become aware that we reached the limits of our current system of ego-centric growth.  In interviews enlightened business leaders speak about their interest in Zen or other meditative practices.

In this paper I will focus on the shift from business rationality to business spirituality? Is it only a change in vocabulary or does it reveal a deeper (r)evolution? Although spirituality clearly implies an inward movement unlocking the inner self in depth, it simultaneously reconnects the self to the outer world generating a personalized sense of responsibility for the whole. How can we integrate this spiritual sensitivity in a theoretical framework that can support a sustainable and coherent managerial practice?

We will first explore some paradoxes in current economic rationality such as the ethics management paradox,  the happiness paradox and the sustainability paradox. Second, we will elucidate the distinction between rational and spiritual knowledge and explain why spiritual knowledge can help us to understand and solve these paradoxes.  In the last section I will propose some reflections for a spiritual-based theory and practice of leadership linking spirituality to the work floor of daily life.

Luk Bouckaert (°1941)is emeritus professor of ethics at the Catholic University of Leuven (K.U. Leuven, Belgium). He is a philosopher and an economist by training. His research and publications fall within the fields of business ethics and spirituality. In 1987 he founded with some colleagues the interdisciplinary Centre for Economics and Ethics at Leuven. In 2000 he started the SPES Forum (Spirituality in Economics and Society) and some years later the international European SPES Forum. Recent publications in English include: Spirituality as a public good (co-edited with L. Zsolnai, 2007), Frugality. Rebalancing material and spiritual values in economic life (co-edited with H.Opdebeeck and L.Zsolnai, 2008) and The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business (co-edited with L.Zsolnai, 2011).

www.spesforum.be

www.eurospes.be

Dr Peter Bowman

The Value of Values in Economics

 

The financial and economic crash of 2008 and its aftermath has seriously called into question the usefulness of conventional economics as taught in the majority of universities. Since that time there have been a number of initiatives to re-formulate the subject. The School of Economic Science is an educational charity that has been offering courses in value-based economics for over seventy years, most recently under the title: Economics with Justice. Its courses offer an ethical approach to economics that could provide an example of an alternative approach to the subject for those seeking a reformulation. The present course is offered in three termly modules. The first unit introduces the basic elements of the subject but from the perspective of justice.  It explores issues such as employment, land tenure, banking, credit creation not just dealing with the mechanisms in operation but also from the perspective of their inherent justice or injustice. In the second unit the history of the development of economic ideas is followed. As in the first module the approach is not just to look at the content of these ideas and their effects but also to consider how they relate to justice. The third module explores recent developments in economics beyond the neo-classical model. By including the topic of human development it opens for consideration the need for man’s inner growth as well as the satisfaction of his outer needs. The paper will describe this example of a values based approach to economics.

 

Dr Peter Bowman is Head of Economics at the School of Economic Science, a centre for spiritual and practical knowledge and enquiry based in London where he has studied for over thirty years. He is also a director of the Henry George Foundation and Vice Chairman of the Coalition for Economic Justice.  His formal education is in physical science; he gained a doctorate in organic chemistry at Oriel College Oxford, spent many years teaching in secondary education and is now Science Coordinator for the Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate in Science & Engineering at Centre for Language & International Education, UCL.

Michael Britton, Ed.D.

 

Developing a Gentle Heart

After trauma, the first task is to get up and get life going.  And so we did after World War II, not stopping to think:  after experiencing such violence, after realizing how dangerous the world can be, after mobilizing our own combativeness to handle it, after all the loss, after stiffening up enough to go on anyway, how could the people of those times be anything but off balance when it came to love and marriage and parenting?  The emotional impact of world-warring has cascaded down through generations.  In business, government, education we act on the toughness needed to make it through those times.  Empathy for the sweatshops that make information-age lifestyles possible does not happen; invisibility handles it.  Drones make for feeling powerful; the realization that people on the other end are people with whom we must one day work out enduring relationships does not dawn.  The relentless pace of work is accepted as part of the toughness of life. Many around the world carry hatred and urges to violence, bred of experience; those urges do not vanish the moment any of us choose goodness.  We need all of us on the spiritual journey toward gentler hearts, including those who carry great anger.  As a therapist I will reflect on how hearts used to toughness grow softer, and on what to make of hatred and urges to violence when they exist within us as we hold to the intention of growing gentler and more compassionate in shaping our world.

Michael Britton, EdD, is a psychologist and psychotherapist, a Board Member of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Network, a consulting psychologist and speaker on deep cultural change in the US and internationally.  He has worked with issues of trauma and love for three decades.

Deon Cloete

Organisational Spirituality: Exploring and re-purposing identity in complex organisational systems

The study applies a critical complexities thinking approach to Organisational Development (OD) and Organisational Spirituality (OS) by exploring identity formation in complex organisational systems. The co-operative inquiry action research method is chosen as congruent with the ontological and epistemological assumptions. Seven research participants (co-researchers) have been selected according to convenient sampling principles. The researcher has facilitated eight action and reflection cycles through a process of iteration of the cycles. Co-formulated research questions that follow on the participatory action plans have resulted in a launching statement of the research: “What is my spiritual identity in my organisational development practice and the organisations I work in?” All the participants are as fully involved as possible as co-researchers in all research decisions - about both content and method - done in the reflection phases (meetings). There is an intentional interplay between reflection and making sense on the one hand, and experience and action on the other. Explicit attention is given to appropriate procedures regarding the validity of the inquiry and its findings to allow the research to be both informative about and transformative of the aspect of the human inquiry implied by the research. The study draws on the academic literature of OD and OS. The anticipated contributions of the research are: (i) exploring what is meant by organisational spirituality; (ii) re-purposing organisational identity praxis and (iii) developing OD praxis regarding spiritual identity formation in organisations.

 

Deon Cloete is a full-time PhD candidate at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) in Cape Town, South Africa. Deon holds an Honours degree in counselling psychology from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and a Masters degree in Clinical Pastoral Psychology – Practical Theology (M.Th) from the University of Stellenbosch. His work experience includes high pressure business management roles, implementation of quality business management systems, the facilitation of psycho-spiritual formation and transformation in multi-cultural and inter-faith group contexts, mentoring and coaching in the area of workplace spirituality, entrepreneurial business development and spiritually centred business consulting.

Prof. Jamshid Damooei

Economic Efficiency and Ethical Behavior: Exploring Ideas on Creation of Economic Values, Working of Virtuous Market, and Role of Profit

This paper takes a brief look into a number of important issues that each requires a much deeper level of inquiry and analysis. The core issue is based on a fundamental assertion that ethics is an inherent component of a well-run economy and successful business. In recent years business increasingly has been viewed as a major cause of social, environmental, and economic problems. This paper questions the sustainability of recent economic and business practices. It shows that the cost of economic crisis, the fallouts from unfair business practices and the emergence of uncertain future for human and other living beings on earth are some of the more obvious costs of the inefficiencies caused by unethical behavior. The issue of profit maximization as a concept that works against its stated objective by bringing a fall in profit in long term will be looked into closely. It also questions the validity of a number of long held economic principles of the neoclassical economics. Finally, this paper looks into some of the existing ideas and practices that can lead to emergence of policies that envisages the intersection between society and corporate performance through creation of shared values in companies and societies for a sustainable economy and business.

Jamshid Damooei is Professor and Chair of Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting and Co-Director of the Center for Leadership and Values at California Lutheran University. Prior to joining California Lutheran University, Dr. Damooei was the Director General of the Department of Economic Studies and Policies of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance of Iran. He served as Senior Economist for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

During the last fifteen years he has become more focused on the economic analysis of social issues and published in professional and popular journals as well as books edited on such subjects/issues. His research endeavors on the topic of investing in youth resulted in publication of multiple pioneering studies on the economic impact of Boys & Girls Clubs of America in a number of states and metropolitan areas within the USA.

His earlier scholarly work includes a broad spectrum of current social and economic issues such as: project design and evaluation, methods of capacity building during time of crisis, crisis prevention and recovery, causes of economic imbalances, aid coordination, privatization of industries, monetary and financial problems, and economic and social impact assessments of policies or institutional establishments.

Dr. Gerrit De Vylder

Kautilya versus Thiruvalluvar: Ethical Pragmatism versus Ethical Spirituality

In our contribution we compare the socio-economic ethical approaches expressed by Kautilya, the advisor to the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta during the fourth century B.C., and its South Indian counterpart Thiruvalluvar, who was a poet and philosopher, born in Mylapore, near present-day Chennai, possibly in the year 31 B.C.  Being an administrator, Kautilya wrote pragmatic rules down in Arthashastra, his treatise on economics and politics. Thiruvalluvar was possibly a weaver but when he took his great poetic work, Turukkural, to the assembly of Tamil scholars at Madurai for their approval, his fame immediately eclipsed that of other scholars in ancient South India. Whereas Arthashastra was pragmatic, Turukkural seeks truth in religion and is consequently much more ethically oriented in a spiritual sense. Thiruvalluvar agrees with Kautilya in emphasizing that corruption is unethical and consequently that businessmen and government officials should not abuse their position. However, he believed that only individual transformation could solve the problem: “The enlightened and unblemished in positions of power dare not misuse their privileges to baser ends”. We argue that the difference between Thiruvalluvar and Kautilya reflects the present difference between ethical approaches in India and worldwide. One approach seeks to formulate pragmatic norms and rules while the other approach is more flexible relying on a change in the philosophical and spiritual make-up of a person.

Dr. Gerrit De Vylder, after finishing MA-studies (Modern Economic History and Development Economics) at Leuven University (KUL) and Gent University (UG) in Belgium, he obtained his Ph.D. (Economics) from Tilburg University (UvT), The Netherlands. He presently teaches Economic History and International Political Economy, and supervises post-graduate students in the fields of comparative business culture, history, and ethics, at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, Leuven University/Antwerp campus, Belgium. He has been guest-lecturing on “India” and the ethical and philosophical aspects of globalization and economic growth in a number of institutions in different countries, especially in Asia. He is currently working on the history of globalization (an Asia-centric point of view) and on the relationship between religion (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism/Taoism, Islam, Christianity) and economics, and between Orientalist literature and economics.

Rosemary Dewan

 

A Call For Wholesome Schooling

 

Amongst the topmost concerns in schools today are the wellbeing of everyone making up the community, including teachers, pupils and their parents and carers, and the growing number of students who are ‘successful’ in terms of exam results but who are disengaged from and demotivated by the process of schooling.

Education serves multiple objectives, coloured not least by global, political, economic, social, cultural and personal influences.  For young, global citizens-in- the-making to achieve their full potential and contribute to the wellbeing of the world now and in the future, the whole school community needs to provide schooling that nurtures the growth of the whole person – intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional and social.

Values Education is a worldwide, contemporary phenomenon but a greater understanding is needed of its vital role in effective schooling and how the explicit promotion of values literacy throughout a child’s school career is a means to holistic student, teacher and society wellbeing.

For the past 20 years, the Human Values Foundation has been a modest catalyst for young children and teenagers developing a fluency in values, particularly in the UK but a comprehensive, joint strategy involving all stakeholders is needed for values education to merit being an integral part of the curriculum mix due to the quality and richness it adds to learning journeys and the good of society.

Rosemary Dewan, Chief Executive Officer, Human Values Foundation, UK

  • Left school aged 17 and then spent a year on Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) teaching in the Solomon Islands
  • BSc in Mathematics with Computer Science, University of Bristol, UK
  • Technical Author – wrote manuals on how to use computer systems
  • Chartered Secretary – Assistant Company Secretary of Reed Elsevier plc
  • General Manager of a start-up company in the Health Insurance sector
  • Secretary of the Human Values Foundation since it was established in 1995
  • Appointed CEO of the Human Values Foundation in May 2009

Website:        www.humanvaluesfoundation.com

Prof. Ulrich Duchrow

 

Overcoming the Spirituality of Money by inter-religious solidarity for the Common Good

We are facing a global crisis created by the climax of our capitalist money civilization. The world religions are well suited to serve as resources in the face of this crisis because they emerged during the Axial Age: the same time period when money and private property began to penetrate everyday life including the spirituality of people. As our modern economy, culture, and political systems are rooted in the Axial Age, then the religions and philosophies that emerged during that period may well give us clues to cope with today’s crises. They are precisely a common good response to the negative consequences of the new money-property economy.

Modernity as a civilization driven by money structurally, culturally, and psychologically subjects the whole of life to functional mechanisms geared toward the accumulation of capital, which can be defined as greedy money. In the face of globalization as the climax of this development, how can the common good again become the yardstick for economy? A crucial part of this struggle is the rediscovery of the commons, and to rediscover the commons we need a vision of a new money and property order guided by public interest.

The hope for a new vision and practice is grounded on social movements as the historical subject of the necessary changes. Engaging in social movements can enable individuals from all classes to join in solidarity and shake off the fetters of the fetishism of money and capital. It is here where the faiths of the Axial Age as well as non-Western cultures can experience a genuine revival in contributing to the vision of a new culture of life in just relationships serving the common good.

Ulrich Duchrow is Professor of systematic theology at the University of Heidelberg/Germany, specialised in ecumenical theology and theology-economy issues; Co-founder and moderator of Kairos Europa, an ecumenical grassroots network striving for economic justice. Member of the Scientific Council of Attac Germany

 

Prof. Rita Ghesquiere

 

Literature as a mirror for leadership

 

Contemporary philosophers and educationists like Martha Nussbaum, Richard Rorty and Jill Kerr Conway, believe in narrative ethics. They consider literature as an appropriate avenue to the spiritual self. While philosophy by nature argues and teaches, literature demonstrates. Narratives hold up a mirror and confront the reader with otherness that questions his self-evident norms and values.

In this paper I will focus on three literary models that might help entrepreneurs and leaders to reflect on their position and  to make conscious choices.

The fable has its roots in the popular tradition. We find fables in all cultures often with a similar message.  The fable is by nature didactic. The story, often with animals as protagonists, brings forward the proof while a saying recapitulates the message in a nutshell. The fable pushes forward some practical wisdom by connecting concrete events with a general rule. The other side of this simple and successful formula is that its message is often black-and-white and open for manipulation.

The novel is far more complex. Novels like War and Peace (Lev Tolstoj) and Freedom (Jonathan Franzen ) offer a broad panoramic view of society (politics, economy), enhance our awareness of the possibilities of life and provide an accelerated insight. By reading novels the reader develops the capacity to see the world from the view-point of other people (Nussbaum). Hence he or she can counter stereotypes about other groups (racial, religious and sexual minorities; disabled people).

With the autobiography we reach the border of fiction. Reading about other people's life holds a specific attraction. It means a continuous reflection on our own modest existence.  Ingrid Betancourt was for six and a half year the hostage of the FARC. She reported on this difficult period in Even Silence has an End. My six Years of Captivity in the Columbian Jungle. Although most readers will never be confronted with similar extreme circumstances,  these autobiography makes them aware of the resilience and the deep inner strength that kept this woman on her feet. The unseen power of this and similar life stories can be compared to the message of religious texts like the gospel, the life of Buddha or Ghandi, stories of saints. Even if they confront their readers with an unattainable ideal, they inspire and arouse positive energy

Rita Ghesquière (°1947) is emeritus professor of comparative literature at the Catholic University of Leuven (KULeuven, Belgium). She holds a degree in philology and has written her PhD on Phenomenology and Literary Theory. Her research and publications fall within the scope of the history of European literature, juvenile fiction and spirituality. She published a Dutch literary companion on the history of European Literature: Literaire Verbeelding. Een geschiedenis van de Europese literatuur tot 1750 and Literaire Verbeelding. Een geschiedenis van de Europese literatuur en cultuur vanaf 1750 (2 vol. Leuven, Acco 2006 and 2008). Het Verschijnsel jeugdliteratuur (20007) now revised as Jeugdliteratuur in perspectief (2009) is a well known manual on Children’s Literature. Together with Knut Ims she is the editor of Heroes and Anti-heroes. European Literature and the Ethics of Leadership (2010)

 

 

Dr. Gherardo Girardi, LondonMetropolitanUniversity

Dr. Fabio Petito, University of Sussex

 

Postsecular Reflections on the Value of the Stakeholder Approach in Business

The business strategy literature considers two types of corporate objectives or, as companies like to call them, 'missions', namely the shareholder and stakeholder approaches. According to the shareholder approach, companies exist to maximize the return for shareholders, and all other stakeholders (workers, managers, customers, suppliers, etc.) are instrumental in achieving this purpose. On the other hand, the stakeholder approach believes that companies exist to benefit all stakeholders (including the shareholders, though, unlike for the shareholder approach, these are not given priority over other stakeholders). In this paper, we argue that the common good is consistent with the stakeholder approach, but not with the shareholder approach. We underpin our argument by referring to the growing and broader discussion on the normative implications for modern societies of living in a post-secular era where, contrary to the prediction of secularization Jürgen Habermas has argued, the moral intuitions of religions and spiritualties becomes important resources to cure the pathologies of modernization, including the crisis of an individualistic system of relations which prevents the construction of real and strong communities. This philosophical argument reinforces the case for a stakeholder approach as the best corporate mission to foster the common good of our contemporary societies.

 

Peter Holland

 

Family Businesses- Spirituality at Work

Family businesses are characterised by a long term view, of being very aware of their place in the community, treating employees fairly and being aware of and responding to a greater duty than just “making money.” They tend to be self -financing, using “patient capital” instead of bank loans, and do not have to satisfy voracious shareholders, analysts and the wider economic community. In some countries they do not even need to publish accounts. Family businesses tend to exhibit mutual loyalty between staff members and generate a feeling of belonging, resulting in low staff turnover, high continuity and a recognisable company culture and spirit. All this is a far cry from the behaviour of and work experience in most multinational companies. This paper looks at and contrasts family businesses in Germany, Italy and Russia, and examines how this model could make work experience in the UK a more spiritual experience.

Peter Holland, an honours engineering graduate with an economics subsidiary, Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and life-long economics student at the School of Economic Science. Ended  many years in  major corporations in the telecoms industry as a Vice President in Nortel Networks, then helped a start –up company from infancy to prosperity, now an independent consultant and responsible for economics events at the School of Economic Science. Recent Papers given include: Europe, Locational Advantage and the Euro, One World One Wealth –Is there enough? A Fair System of Public Revenue, Industry Counts-the Current Situation, Economics for the Common Good-Happiness and Economics, Energy Counts-What Should We Do? Land Matters-Better Livelihoods for Poor People

Prof. Farhang Jahanpour

Walking the Mystical Path with Practical Feet: Iran's Mystical Legacy

Although Sufism emerged out of Islam its message is universal and appeals to the followers of all religions and of none. Its message is a message of love, spirituality, unity and rejection of all forms of religious, and intellectual idolatry. At its best, it is a positive and life affirming, rather than an otherworldly and ascetic ideology. Attar, Rumi, Sa’di and Hafiz are regarded as some of the greatest Persian Sufi poets. English translations of the works of these poets have attracted a great deal of attention in the West. The lecture will try to explore Iran’s mystical legacy, especially as represented by the works of these poets, and its lessons for the contemporary world.

Professor Farhang Jahanpour is a British national of Iranian origin. He received his Ph.D. Degree in Oriental Studies from the University of Cambridge where he taught Persian language and literature for five years. He served as dean of the Faculty of Languages at the University of Isfahan, and also spent a year as a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar at Harvard. He has been a part-time tutor at the Department of Continuing Education at the University of Oxford since 1986, and a member of Kellogg College, Oxford. He is also a Fellow of Royal Asiatic Society.

Dr. Audrey E. Kitagawa

Loving Kindness and Compassion in Daily Life

 

In The Essence of the Heart Sutra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote, "According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It's not passive -- it's not empathy alone -- but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and loving kindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is loving kindness).

“Loving kindness and compassion play such an important role in the Buddhist approach to spirituality that we can say that a genuine practice of the Dharma is actually based on the development of these qualities. The teachings always emphasize that, unless we practice and integrate these qualities into our everyday lives, it will be impossible to attain to enlightenment.

Love is the foundation from which compassion and loving kindness arise, and it is what gives life meaning, and what makes life worth living. It is the resonant field of connectivity that lives within the sacred chamber of our own hearts, and will help jus to overcome the obstacles and challenges in life which everyone must face along the way.

Obstacles and challenges should not be feared, for in some mysterious ways they help to deepen ourselves as human beings, and help us to appreciate even more, all of the many beautiful people and attributes in our lives with which we are amply blessed. The power of love helps us to not only endure, but to reframe what may seem to be negative experiences to the positive  and to come to the state of understanding that nothing in life is ever wasted, pointless, or meaningless. We should always remember that it is in the darkest of nights that the stars shine most brightly.

Audrey E. Kitagawa, JD, is President/Founder of the International Academy for Transcultural Cooperation, President, Light of Awareness International Spiritual Family, Founding Trustee, New York City Peace Museum, and host of Our Sacred Journey on World Talk Radio, VoiceAmerica 7th Wave Channel, USA

Laurent Ledoux

Letting “it” lead through us- a brief account of the first spiritual steps of an ordinary manager

It all started when I was seven years old. My judo instructor showed me a photo of Master Awa, a Japanese master archer, drawing his bow. Despite his more than 80 summers and being nearly blind, Master Awa never missed his target. His secret: Don't shoot. Let "it" shoot for you.

My philosophical and spiritual journey over these last 40 years could be summarised thus: learning to let "it" shoot through me. This means removing myself as much as possible to become a channel, a tool, through which "it" can be expressed. Over time, I learnt to think of the "it" of Master Awa in the same way as the “whole of reality”, which some philosophers call “Nature”, and not simply as a separate part of this or of us. "Letting 'it' shoot" therefore requires understanding that everything is one. For Awa, the man that he is, the bow, the arrow and the target are one single thing. The true target for him is beyond the straw target that the arrow will embed itself in. It is in the realisation of this unity, expressed in these words: "One arrow, one life".

In this presentation I will attempt to explain how these ideas coupled with spiritual exercises have gradually shaped my life and practice of management so far.

 

Laurent Ledoux is President of the Belgian Ministry for Mobility & Transports. He has a varied experience in the private and public sector and specializes in modernizing business units and administrations. He worked previously as a manager in various countries for BNP Paribas Fortis; Arthur D. Little, the European Commission, ING and Doctors without Borders. He was also the Chief of Staff of a Minister. He holds a Master in Economics and a post-graduate Master in Business Administration. He lectures on Business Ethics, CSR and Leadership in various universities. He also leads the associations Philosophie & Management and Face2faith.

 

Ian Mason

 

Economics Unbound: the science of hope and prosperity

For far too long Economics, the dismal science has been the servant and slave of vested interests and power elites. As a result Economic laws have been misrepresented, misunderstood and misapplied to the detriment of millions of people and the natural world of which they are part. Guided by nature’s laws and principles derived from them, Economics can be the science of hope and prosperity offering sustenance and fulfillment to the Earth’s human population in a mutually enhancing relationship with nature.

This paper aims to show that, by reconnecting with its origins in the human relationship with nature, Economics can be and is, the art and science of humane living.

Ian Mason is a practising barrister and is Principal of the School of Economic Science, UK. He is the author of One World, One Wealth, a collection of lectures on Economics-with-Justice and writes and lectures frequently on ethical economics and Earth Jurisprudence including a recent contribution to a United Nations seminar on Harmony with Nature. He sees both Economics and Earth Jurisprudence as the natural and inevitable expression of a philosophic understanding of the unity of life with profound implications for human life and development.

Dr. Shirish Nathwani

EXAMINATION OF MODERN & ANCIENT VIEWS ON THE VALUE OF MEDITATION IN PROMOTING HEALTH, GROWTH AND BALANCE ALONG WITH A PRACTICE SESSION ON "SAMARPAN MEDITATION"

The workshop presentation aims to show how one's state of health and happiness is highly influenced by thoughts that arise from one's innate tendencies and life experiences. Purification of thinking is given importance in all religious and spiritual traditions and various methods such as prayer and penance have been used for this from times immemorial. Meditation is often said to be the royal path and many simple methods are freely available to all.

The Principles and Practice of Meditation and its overall effect on human physiology is examined. The four types of meditative practices viz: 1). Concentrative or focus based. 2). Receptive or mindfulness based 3). Self Transcendental type 4). Assisted Ego-Surrender-based are examined.

Each of them being as helpful as any, according to an individual's nature, aims to bring about a state of thoughtless absorption or total awareness with regular practice. The Various parameters of body metabolism and brain imaging studies are examined.

An energy based model of the human phenomenon is presented. Aura images to show human energy fields, energy channels and centers are examined and discussed.

This is concluded by a ten minute practice of one simple type of meditation, called Samarpan Meditation and further discussion, if time permits.

Dr. Shirish Nathwani, a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and a graduate of the University of Glasgow. After practicing medicine and surgery in Kenya and Scotland, he settled and live in Newfoundland for thirty-five years, before retiring to Waterloo in Canada, with his wife, some five years ago. He has conducted workshops on Meditation in Canada, Mexico and India. He is also a member of the Spiritual Heritage Education Network (SHEN) His interests include neuro-physiological changes in the brain during meditation.

Paul Palmarozza

 

The Value of Values in Business

The key elements in the presentation are based on 50 years of practical experience in global business, academic study- an MBA degree, plus more than 40 years studying and teaching the practical applications of the spiritual values of eastern and western traditions.

The conclusion drawn from this experience is that if a business works to fine principles, then long term sustainable profits will result, employees will gain greater satisfaction as will clients and the needs of society will be naturally served. The key values that are highlighted are: Truth, Love, Justice and Freedom which were the ones proposed by the World Parliament of Religions in 1999 when considering this very issue of Values in Business. The full case is presented in a book which I co-authored,  ‘From Principles to Profit’ .

While examples of the current lack of values and the decrease of public trust in business will be highlighted, the main focus will be on showing why values are important, offering suggested ways to implement them in an organisation and a recommended decision-making process for individuals so that they are better able to make the right decision, a decision that is Ethical and Effective.

If we are to change the current laissez-faire attitude towards morality in business, there will need to be greater emphasis on values in the education system, from primary school right up through university, including business schools. Some examples of how this might happen will be highlighted.

Paul Palmarozza, Head, Philosophy in Business group, School of Economic Science,has worked in management positions for 46 of his 50 year work career; initially employed by a global corporate, later as a self-employed consultant and then 25 years ago he founded a UK based training company now listed on the London AIM Stock Exchange. With a long-time business partner, Chris Rees, he has authored a book, From Principles to Profit and founded Principled Business, focusing on drama based Ethics training. His education includes a BSc, an MBA and a Diploma in Educational Studies from Oxford. He also founded If I can… which offers a free Values App to business and schools.

 

Dr. Walter Schwimmer

 

The spiritual heritage as a source of wisdom in the age of globalization

 

The biblical words: 'Man shall not live by bread alone …”, spoken 2000 years ago are even more valid in the time of globalization. Human beings are not just tool using animals, ruled by biological drives only, but vision creating beings. Human beings have goals, certainly materialistic ones too, but the visionary goals are idealistic and very often selfless. They are related to religious beliefs as well as to humanistic movements. However, no matter whether a human being considers him or herself as religious, for everybody exists something which is “holy” or “sacred” in his or her mind, may it be some principle, some objective, some relation, e.g. such as family. Mankind cannot exist without spiritual dimensions.   Spirituality is releasing blocks, leading to new ideas and guiding people when they need it. But what is most important is the desire which is based in spirituality to help people and make a difference in the world. When the world is going through tremendous changes, the process which is called globalization, we need desperately this desire for reaching out to other people, for solidarity, for a global sister- and brotherhood. When economic models have reached their height of evolution and technology has evolved, does spirituality need evolution too? Our spirituality, no matter in which civilization, goes 3000 years ago. With spirituality came morals and better ways of thinking. It is part of our collective memory. It is there, everywhere in mankind’s mind. All what we need is dialogue among civilizations to unite the spiritual forces for a better world.

Walter Schwimmer was born on June 16, 1942 in Vienna, Austria where he studied law at Vienna University and graduated doctor of law in 1964. He engaged himself in the movement of Young Christian Workers (YCW).

In 1971 he was elected to the Austrian Parliament (Nationalrat). He was re-elected seven times to the parliament.

He was also the Chairman of the Inter-Parliamentary Union friendship group Austria-Israel of the Austrian Parliament from 1976 to 1999,

When the Berlin Wall fell and the division of Europe into West and East came to an end, Walter Schwimmer started to work for the integration of the new democracies as equal partners into Pan-European structures. He became Member of the Austrian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 1991 and became Chairman of the Group of the European People's Party-Christian Democrats in1996,

In June 1999, he was elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe (September 1999 - August 2004). One of his political priorities was the inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue. He established close relations with the League of Arab States and was the first Secretary General of the Council of Europe to attend a ministerial conference and a summit of heads of state of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation.

In 2005, after his mandate in the Council of Europe was ended, Walter Schwimmer was invited by Vladimir I.Yakunin, the president and founder of WPFDC, to join the World Public Forum – Dialogue of Civilizations and chair its International Coordination Committee. In October 2013, during the 11th annual Rhodes Forum of WPFDC he was appointed at the meeting of the founders Co-Chairman of the organization.

Walter Schwimmer is the author of several books and articles, in particular of “The European Dream”, published also in German (“Der Traum Europa”), Italian (“Sognare Europa”), Russian (“Мечты O Европе”) and Serbian (“San Evropa”).

Prof. Steve Szeghi

Economics without Homo Economicus:  Why it is needed and what it would look like

 

For thousands of years we had an economics that studied what was produced, by whom, and for whom, without the rationality postulate.  We need once again an economics that is not limited in conception and burdened with such an unrealistic assumption as constant and continuous rational behavior.  This paper will describe the reasons why such an economics is needed. Such an economics is needed in the interest of realism.  It is also needed to move beyond the straight jacket of efficiency both in terms of how it is defined, and the tendency to ignore or downplay far more important considerations than efficiency.  It is needed to escape the enshrinement of greed and self-interest as a virtue.  Finally it is needed to move beyond the moral equivalency of all human actions.  Ethics and spiritual values do matter for the sake of both personal happiness and the ability to be a community.

In addition to establishing the need for such an economics, this paper will lay out a sketch of what Economics will or could look like, once it moves beyond the rationality postulate.

Professor Steven Paul Francis Szeghi is a Professor of Economics at Wilmington College in the USA, since 1987.  In 2009 He co-authored with Peter Brown, Geoffrey Garver, Keith Helmuth, and Robert Howell, Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy.   Szeghi’s article, Lessons in Sustainable Development on the Navajo Nation, appeared in the 18th Journal for Economics and Politics.  He is today an international speaker and author on many topics including social justice, ecological economics, primers in economics for social activists, and the economies of indigenous and aboriginal peoples as alternative economic systems.

Pendar Vatanian

 

Mind Your Footprint

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela

“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” Victor Hug

The problems are:

A- the education system fails to engage children properly so they don't really learn that much.

As Benjamin Franklin quite beautifully said: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -

And

B- most of the stuff children learn from more interesting mediums such as internet, computer, games etc is not that beneficial.

Video game for example, is one of the most engaging mediums we know. And war games are one of the most popular categories in gaming. It's been very successful in engaging children But what they learn includes violence and harshness.

So we need to improve the education system in order to make it more interesting and engaging so children learn what they are supposed to learn. And of course we need to radically change the values and trends of the game industry so children learn good and beneficial things while playing and having fun which is when they really learn the most, not when they are bored sitting in classrooms.

“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Pendar Vatanian, Co-founder, MindYourFootprint CIC

 

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