Corona Virus – The Agape Response

It is threatening. The Corona Virus has changed–within days and weeks–life on the whole globe: over 1400 deaths (as of 13 Feb), over 60,000 people infected, and hundreds of millions of others are confined to their homes. Fear is growing and the economy in China and internationally have been negatively affected, as travel, communication, business, and teaching etc. are limited.

The positive side: I am really impressed by the enormous speed of measures taken in China. In my country Switzerland it would be very difficult -with all respect to critique- to handle 1.4 billion people, 175 times the population of Switzerland. It is an immense task and I deeply respect the Chinese efforts. The World Health Organisation (WHO), whose headquarters in Geneva can be seen from my GAF office, is also very fast and indispensable for coordinated research, action, and standards. Such a crisis shows that the multilateral UN system is absolutely necessary for humanity. This pandemic also makes us aware that life remains very vulnerable, even with all technologies and modern medicine.

The negative side: International solidarity actions are still limited. If America supports China with a hundred million dollars, it is good, but this (in fact modest) help would be linked with the political remark that US is the greatest contributor among the helpers, although the US has cut the budgets of most of the UN agencies, including the WHO. Governments, NGOs, and philanthropic initiatives must abstain from exploiting humanitarian catastrophes for their own political or economic gain. “Hunger as weapon” was used throughout history but does not justify this abuse.

Corona Virus – The Agape Response: Agape – the lead value in the name of the Geneva Agape Foundation – means unconditional love, compassion, and empathy. Agape means to place the needs of the other, the suffering, and the Common Good at the center–not one’s own short-term interests. Agape means to abstain from the temptation to exploit the dependency of the other in a situation of disaster and despair for one’s own benefit. Agape means reciprocity to love the other as oneself: It then creates the confidence that others would also unconditionally support me if I need them. Agape does not mean to forget about my own needs, but to be assured that my own long-term interests will be reached best when I serve the other in the best possible way. Agape for Christians means to remain aware of the vulnerability of life even with all technological progress, but that confidence and hope remain vital as we trust that we can fall, but only in God’s hand. We already know that climate mitigation and disaster management will require much of this attitude and value. Agape Climate Action will be a motto for Geneva Agape Foundation. But firstly, we want to express our compassion with our dear GAF friends in China and all people suffering from this situation.

Further Reading

Globethics.net President awarded among top 100 leaders in education

Globethics.net President and Founder, Dr Christoph Stückelberger, received an award among the ‘Top 100 Leaders in Education’ at the Global Forum for Education and Learning (GFEL) that took place in Dubai from 16-18 December 2019.

GFEL, now in its 2nd year, strives to unveil groundbreaking innovations and to delve into the depths of knowledge sharing to build the future of imparting education.

The conference featured over 50 speakers, composed of educators, CEOs and consultants from around the globe working in the domain of education.

In accepting his award, Dr Stückelberger gave recognition to Globethics.net’s global community’s engagement with ethics in higher education and its motto “Together to the Top”.

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First International Conference on Ethics in Higher Education in Latin America

Globethics.net and the Catholic University of Argentina (la Universidad Católica Argentina, UCA) organised the First International Conference on ‘Ethics as a transversal dimension in higher education: Challenges for Latin America’ at UCA in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 21- 22 October 2019.

Latino America covers more than 13% of the Earth’s land surface area and has a population of more than 642 million people. According to the Transparency International Perception of Corruption Index (PCI), the ratings of a number of Latin American countries in 2018 have declined. There is particular concern about levels of corruption in the political and economic spheres. The Conference took place as Argentinians were set to go to the polls for a national election on 27 October with the middle-class shrinking due to evaluation and better governance and values-driven leaders in demand.

It was against this background that Globethics.net and the UCA organised the two-day Conference on Ethics in Higher Education in Latin America, with speakers from government, civil society and academia to address the needs of society and the desire for change.

The first day was open to the public and focused on the interdisciplinarity of ethics and its role in different sectors of society, such as governance, the economy, education and technology. The conference was organised around discussion panels with a moderator accompanied by well-known experts on each area for each group.

Dr Pavan Duggal, Globethics.net Board Member, brought up the right to be forgotten on the Internet. The importance of ethics evolving in the process of regulating the Internet, highlighting the work Globethics.net on this field with its last book on Cyber Ethics 4.0: Serving Humanity with Values.

The programme on the second day led to a more in-depth conversation on ethics in education. Globethics.net President, Christoph Stückelberger and colleagues from the Latin America Regional Office (Deivit Montealegre) and from Head Office (Academic Dean, Amélé Ekue) had the opportunity to listen to the challenges that universities and institutions are facing in their attempt to build values-based learning environments. They shared information on how Globethics.net integrates ethics in the different topics discussed during the two-day conference through its resources.

Further Reading:

Reaching technoutopia through cyber ethics

Cyber Ethics: Humanity is living between technoutopia and technophobia. Technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) drive daily human lives, and it is causing ethical dilemmas: is AI being used to protect human beings or can it harm them? How can we reduce the risks of military applications of AI and improve the cause of peace through global governance on AI and technology within an ethical framework? Are ethical considerations brought into play when decisions on the development and deployment of technology and AI are being made in an attempt to strike the balance between beneficial progress and actual and potential harm?

Globethics.net organised a workshop panel moderated by the Executive Director, Dr Obiora Ike, on ‘Cyber Ethics, Education and Security: Serving Humanity with Values to address some of these questions at the 10th World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland on the morning of 11 April 2019.

Humanity has to use technology and AI as a tool to teach decision making and critical thinking skills. Society has to make ethical use of technology and governments have to provide the correct frame for that to happen. It is interesting that, both when it comes to giving up personal freedom and privacy as well as environmental sustainability, the public tends to ‘stick their heads in the sand’ and is compliant with legal and commercial practices that are sometimes violating human rights or contributing to global warming. Moving from ‘money-driven’ to ‘ethics-driven’ investments in technology and AI as well as having a critical dialogue to discuss the impact of technology and AI innovation have on humans, and on the planet will move humanity from technophobia to technoutopia.

These were some of the conclusions reached by the six panellists from four continents representing business, academic, legal and NGO sectors speaking to a full room at the WSIS Forum 2019.

The workshop was based upon the issues raised by contributors to the book ‘Cyber Ethics 4.0: Serving Humanity with values‘ published by Globethics.net in 2018. Panellists addressed the topic from their particular perspectives, from the point of view of ethics, law, education and/or security. The workshop ended with a book launch and an open invitation to the participants present at the the workshop to contribute to the next volume on cyber ethics.

Further Reading

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