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First Announcement of 3rd GCGI-SES Joint Forum

Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI)

and

School of Economic Science (SES)

invite you to participate in the

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 | School of Economic Science

Waterperry House

From Oxford 2002 to Oxford 2016: 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 (2012) - Cité universitaire internationale, Paris (2013)- School of Economic Science, Oxford Campus, Waterperry House, Oxford (2014 and 2016)

We are delighted to announce that the 13th GCGI International Conference and the 3rd Joint GCGI and SES Forum will be hosted at Waterperry House. This major global conference is being convened by Prof. Kamran Mofid, Founder, Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative and Mr. Ian Mason, Principal of the School of Economic Science.

Why Values Matter

The Power of Purpose and Values: The Path to a Better World 

Saint Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle spoke of meaning in life when they respectively noted that: ‘He that seeks the good of the many seeks in consequence his own good’ and ‘What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good’. Albert Einstein spoke about values when he said: ‘Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.’ The philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich also similarly noted that: ‘We have to build a better man before we can build a better society.’ Gandhi also spoke of meaning in life with his famous phrase: ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’  And the wonderful woman Helen Keller noted that ‘the only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.’

This is only a selection – there are thousands of superb quotations and proverbs about values, ethics, morality and spirituality that can be helpful and inspiring to each of us. But finding quotations can also be a bit like looking for needles in a haystack. We also know that humane and humanistic values can change our hearts and nourish our minds – prompting us to take action in the interest of the common good and literally improve the world.

Today, in many parts of the world, the so-called ‘free’ market, the consumerist culture, and ‘Black Friday’ sales, have become increasingly dominant, and are now seriously threatening our global future, both in terms of our care of the planet and in increasing societal rivalry and conflict.

Today’s world, it seems, has become a world of continuing and deepening crises. Wisdom, must surely compel us to ask: Why?

Is it lack of money or resources? Or Lack of technology and IT? Or Lack of people holding PhDs and MBAs? Or lack of goals set by this organisation or that? No. What we lack is moral and spiritual imagination and compass.

Our crises can only be addressed, reversed and resolved, and our goals can only be achieved, if we change direction, adopt new values and become concerned with life’s bigger picture. If we want to realise anything good in life, including any goals we may set ourselves, we must begin, first and foremost, by focusing 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?

5- In what ways are we living our highest values?

6- How are we working to embody the changes we wish to see in the world?

7- What projects, models or initiatives give us the greatest sense of hope?

8- How can we do well in life by doing good?

By their very nature, these questions involve thought and discussion around spirituality, ethics, morals and values.

This means that our lives are connected not only to knowledge, power and money, but also to faith, love and wisdom. Unless the questions we ask encompass the full spectrum of these emotions and experiences, we’re unlikely to find the answers we are looking for, or to understand them in any depth, let alone solving problems and attaining goals.

How can we become agents of change for the common good?  How can we spark a new public conversation framed around human dignity and the common good? 

In seeking to answer these and other pertinent questions, and to understand the world better, we need to discover the world not just as it is, but also how it ought to be.  Indeed, the deepest and most difficult questions with which we wrestle are problems of value — right and wrong, beautiful and ugly, just and unjust, worthy or unworthy, dignified or abhorrent, love or hatred, cooperation or competition, selflessness or selfishness, prosperity or poverty, profit or loss. 

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 and conversations about values and valuing are fundamental to what it means to be human, but rarely become the subject of explicit public reflection.

The Conference will explore how values-led action can be a resource for renewal. Moreover, it will also look to nature as a source of wisdom and consider the potential of this vision for management theories and practices. The Conference will also seek to help participants find answers to questions such as:

How do we regain the basic values of a healthy society? How do we integrate the values of finance, business and economics, with those of families and communities? Can we discard market-fundamentalism, the false belief that market knows best, and accept that ‘The market was made for human beings - not human beings to serve the market’? How can we discard the false values of modern economics and deepen our understanding that the only things that have value in themselves are love, beauty and the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom?

Applying our common spiritual and humane values as sources for renewal is, in large part, a matter of how this Conference hopes to respond to the economic, social, and ecological agenda now placed before us by the converging crises of our time. This is our moral assignment. As a matter of personal and societal responsibility, we can enter fully into reshaping economic policy and economic behaviour on behalf of the common good.

Kamran Mofid and Ian Mason

For the details on how to submit abstracts, the selection procedure, accommodation, registration and fees please see:

Why Values Matter:GCGI-SES Joint 2016 Conference

First Joint GCGI and SES Forum- Waterperry House

GCGI 2012 Oxford: A Report and Reflection- Prof. Steve Szeghi

Second Joint GCGI and SES Forum, Waterperry House

GCGI 2014 Oxford: A Report and Reflection by Prof. Steve Szeghi

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