The Story of the GCGI
Kamran Mofid, Founder, Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI)
We live in difficult and troubling times, facing unprecedented global challenges in the areas of climate change and ecology, finance and economics, hunger and infectious disease, international relations and cooperation, peace and justice, terrorism and war, armaments and unparalleled violence. It is precisely in times like these – unstable and confusing though they may be – that people everywhere need to keep their eyes on the better side of human nature, the side of love and compassion, rather than hatred and injustice; the side of the common good, rather than selfishness, individualism and greed.
People need to see there are serious alternatives to the current failing policies, rules and institutions, which govern the world these days. There is hope in likeminded global citizens who share a vision of common values. Such a vision can lift us out of the deep sense of powerlessness and despair that is now affecting so many parts of the world.
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.
The Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative Annual Conference series have ranged far across the world through Oxford, Saint Petersburg, Dubai, Nairobi/Kericho, Honolulu, Istanbul, Melbourne, Chicago and Thousand Oaks, California. The 10th Annual Conference, once again, is returning to Oxford in September 2012.
The GCGI conferences have created and continue to create an ever-widening international community of scholars, researchers and experts, forging links and establishing dialogues across national, cultural, religious, and academic boundaries, and putting into practice the movement’s core philosophy: that globalisation need not be defined merely in terms of impersonal market forces, but that an alternative type of globalization can be a power for good, building spiritual bonds that can unite humanity and bring different cultures, civilisations, faiths and academic disciplines closer together.
Today the GCGI is considered a leading progressive think tank, producing cutting-edge research and innovative policy ideas for a just, democratic and sustainable world. For the last 10 years, GCGI has helped shape the progressive thinking that is becoming the political centre ground. Independent and radical, we are committed to combating inequality, empowering citizens, promoting social responsibility, creating a sustainable economy and revitalising democracy. Best known for our influential work on Globalisation for the Common Good, Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, Value-led Economics and Business Education, Ecology, Environment& Sustainable Development, Interfaith Dialogue and more, we now have significant cooperative projects with a number of universities, think tanks and civil societies in many countries around the world. GCGI’s media programme and its influential online Journal, Journal of Globalisation for the Common Good, hosted at Purdue University, has since its inception in 2005 made significant contributions in furthering progressive goals in education and media policy.
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 is a non-profit making initiative with no formal income, capital, seed money, or endowment. It has no bank account, cheque book, team of fund-raisers or accountants. This self-sustaining funding mechanism has been a key lynch pin of our independence and integrity. At no point in our history has the GCGI been so reliant on external sources that if external funding is removed, the GCGI cannot continue.
The most precious capital of the GCG is the calibre of its friends and supporters, including the universities that have hosted our annual conferences, and more. With their love, trust and goodwill many have committed themselves as partners in shared vision, to support the work of the GCGI in a spirit of moral, spiritual and intellectual collaboration.
Reflecting upon our shared journey for the common good, it is amazing to me that ten years have gone by so quickly. What began as a simple idea to share the practical wisdom of the common good, dialogue, love, generosity, kindness, and more has blossomed into an internationally recognized non-profit organization that has become a leading resource “inspiring people to do great things for the common good”.
From the very beginning, I was confident of ultimate success. If we could reach-out to people around the world and become an all-volunteer network of individuals, I thought growth would follow organically by focusing on our vision and mission. And it has.
As you might imagine, in the initial days when we began sharing our vision of doing things for the common good, we were met with a great deal of scepticism, apprehension, and thankfully, some warm embraces and love. We were energized by all of those early experiences and continued to find ways to build ideas, programmes and initiatives around our main message and theme of Globalisation for the Common Good.
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 the last ten years, so similar to all those who have taken a values-based-journey of self-discovery, I too have realized, “From the great oceans, vast plains and highest mountains that sustain our fragile and vital ecosystem, to our village friends and city dwellers that bring meaning to our common journey, we are quickly realizing that everyone and everything is interconnected and interdependent.
With each passing day, it is also increasingly evident in every corner of our world that great change is upon us and that by standing together in mutual respect, honour and dignity for one another, we will answer this call with creative, viable and sustainable solutions.
We must take the necessary steps now to reach out to our fellow humans and extend our hand in forgiveness, acceptance and genuine friendship. Our choices shall be made from compassion while embracing the richness of our amazing diversity. The love and acceptance we have for ourselves will be the source of our strength to assist others. Together we can and will make a difference through love.
These necessary changes may challenge us to the depths of our courage and test the very essence of our personal character, yet with each ensuing breath we shall remain in love and this love will be the very basis of a new era of peace and abundance, equality and goodwill for all”.
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.
Therefore, yes, it is true: “Love, Trust, Respect and Gratitude Trumps Economics”.