The Post-Pandemic World: The Globalance Response

The Covid-19 pandemic is shaking the world. Over 2.6 billion people around the world have been locked in their homes for weeks. Never seen in human history. 8 million infected, more than 440’000 dead, 1.25 billion people either out of work, on reduced salary or without unemployment insurance, mainly affecting tourism, hospitality, and manufacturing – this, all within four months of our last newsletter in February. People are asking: What will be the post-corona-world?We are asking: How can we strengthen our ethical values and thus contribute to a less polarized and more balanced world?

In the last GAF-newsletter I wrote about the Agape-Response. Now I continue with the Globalance Response. At hand, polarization between those in favor or against masks and vaccines, populist leaders who do not care for their people, and an accelerated trade war between US and China instead of needed cooperation that could spare human lives. Asian countries with a high level of discipline seem to have mastered the pandemic better than western countries with emphasis on freedom despite the pandemic or countries with chaotic governments.

But now, as the end of the first wave of the pandemic nears, the thirst for freedom and fairness has resurged in Asia – the hunger for community is back. This shows: in the post-pandemic world we need to better balance freedom and fairness, individual self-expression and collective discipline, caring for ourselves and caring for others and caring for our health and caring for the environment.

We need a global balance of values, between east and west, north and south, old and young, believers and non-believers. The pandemic teaches us: not America first or China or Uganda or Brazil first, but Humanity first. Because we all are first humans. This is the Globalance Response.

Further read: www.gafoundation.world

#BuildingNewBridgesTogether: Strengthening Ethics in Higher Education after COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has an enormous impact on the higher education sector. Many challenges, and ethical questions, result from the current crisis: transitioning to online learning has created physical distance and exposed or widened the gaps concerning access to technology. New questions of quality assurance in teaching and assessment arise. New foci enter into the content and methodologies of teaching, research and learning. Institutions, students and teachers can play a leading role in creating new visions for changing society.

#BuildingNewBridgesTogether conference on the 25 June 2020, and its pre-conference 17-24 June 2020, provides a guiding image for us. It is essential to create ethical learning processes by facilitating international exchange and thus drawing from different contextual experiences and knowledge. This conference is the first step of a process that is designed to put participants into closer contact, share their problems, realities, needs and solutions in the different contexts and, together, begin to construct the future for ethics in higher education that we want.

With a focus on strengthening ethics in higher education, the event will be a unique sharing and learning experience built on four thematic tracks:

  • Track 1: Creating New Societal Visions in Higher Education: Values for Living Together
  • Track 2: Bridging the Gaps: Ethical Foundations of Online Teaching and Learning Pedagogies
  • Track 3: Online Education for a Sustainable Future: Quality and Ethical Standards in Higher Education
  • Track 4: Ethics and Skills for a Responsible Global Citizenship

Pre-conference: 17-24 June 2020

Participants are invited to engage in deeper and structured thematic conversation between higher education professionals. Throughout the pre-conference period, we will propose different online activities to discuss among your peers, share the challenges you are facing during this pandemic and view and discuss digital posters and virtual papers submitted by registered participants of the conference.

Conference: 25 June 2020, 15:00-18:00 (CET)

The conference programme will feature seasoned speakers from within the Globethics.net networks working in tandem with emerging educators, researchers and leaders, to present and facilitate the thematic tracks during the conference. The best digital posters and virtual papers will be presented during an award ceremony on 25 June 2020.

Reserve your place for free now!

Cyber Ethical Learnings from the Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic the Internet is enabling vital services to provide information and to communicate and manage emergencies. At the same time cyber ethical challenges are emerging, including threats to cybersecurity, increases in cybercrime, governments collecting more personal data and information than before, voluntary or compulsory tracing and the deepening of inequalities in education and in work for those without Internet access.
Keynote speakers addressed these critical cyber ethical challenges and engaged with participants during the free web meeting on 19 May 2020.
Keynote speakers:
  • Prof. Dr Christoph Stückelberger, Globethics.net President and Founder, and Globethics.net Board of Foundation member,
  • Dr Pavan Duggal, Honorary Chancellor of Cyberlaw University,
  • Prof. Cui Wantian, Founder of Bringspring Company and former Globethics.net Board Member, and
  • Zibuyile Jafta, Ethics Officer at the University of South Africa

 

 

Cyber Ethical Challenges of COVID-19 web event draws full house

Globethics.net/Lucy Howe – The web meeting co-organised by Globethics.net and the Cyberlaw University on the afternoon of 12 May 2020 on the topic ‘Cyber Ethical Challenges of COVID-19′ drew a full house of 100 participants from four continents with more participants waiting in the wings.

The three keynote speakers – Globethics.net President and Founder, Christoph Stückelberger; Globethics.net Board of Foundation member, Honorary Chancellor of Cyberlaw University, Pavan Duggal; and the founder of Bringspring Company and former Globethics.net Board Member, Cui Wantian – addressed critical ethical challenges related to emerging security, social and technical issues posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and engaged with participants during the web meeting.
The web meeting was organised in light of the fact that during the COVID-19 pandemic the Internet is enabling vital services to provide information and to communicate and manage emergencies. At the same time cyber ethical challenges are emerging, including threats to cybersecurity, increases in cybercrime, governments collecting more personal data and information than before, voluntary or compulsory tracing and the deepening of inequalities in education and in work for those without Internet access.

“As a cyber hospital we store the health date of many customers in a database… we do not have the right to use these customers’ data… Chinese society is increasingly concerned about the protection of the privacy of individuals”, observed Cui Wantian in his presentation, based on experience at Bringsping, which provides over 3,000 hospitals and medical care institutions with scientific products and services in China and other countries. Another concern that he flagged was fake news that “has misled a lot of people, with extremely serious consequences. There is a communication vacuum that needs to be addressed. So far I haven’t seen a good solution for it”, he said.

Moderator and presenter at the web meeting, Christoph Stückelberger stated that “The perception of the Covid-19 virus is different across cultures… there is a distinction between discipline versus freedom cultures”, referring to the comparison of different leadership, strategy and results in response to the pandemic around the world. He asserted a cultural influence in the development and use of tracing apps in the level of control used and the level of privacy tolerated, citing findings of the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report of 5 May 2020. In the Report globally on average 61 per cent of respondents were willing to give up their personal health and location data to help contain the spread of the virus with the percentage ranging from 45 per cent in France to 91 per cent in China. Stückelberger concluded his presentation with a focus on equality of access to the Internet during the pandemic with the need to increase support for the estimated 40 per cent of students without access and unable to continue their education.

Pavan Duggal tackled ethical challenges of cyber crime against a background of increasing cyber security breaches targeting companies, medical and educational institutions and individuals. With the Covid-19 pandemic vulnerability is augmented by the massive move to online meetings, homeworking and schooling. “The use of tracing apps to intercept and monitor has impacts on freedom of movement when citizens are obliged to download apps”, Duggal informed participants. ” When one talks about the intersection between cyber security and ethics, privacy plays an important role… it is imperative that people need to appreciate that they need to respect data privacy and personal privacy of various person”, he said. “COVID-19 is a game changer… there will be a new world order post COVID-19 that will have an impact on digital liberties”.

Further: You can read the presentations made during the web meeting.

COVID-19 and the ethical responsibility of universities

Fist published here: https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20200410080845845
Vietnamese translation: https://nghiepdoansinhvien.org/2020/04/13/covid-19-va-trach-nhiem-ve-dao-duc-cua-cac-truong-dai-hoc
Quote: https://www.kath.ch/newsd/pandemie-wird-individualismus-herausfordern/

The global emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic confronts us all with unpredictable, disruptive situations which have changed our daily lives, economies, political decisions – and universities. Important changes have been made in terms of online teaching and admission and exam schedules and have stirred discussions about what a post-coronavirus university landscape might look like.

Amid all the uncertainty and shock, universities are obliged to stick to their basic values and ethical responsibilities, which give academics a sense of direction and credibility. The following 10 ethical issues are valid across continents and political systems, according to our global ethics network Globethics.net.

Ethics under emergency orders

Emergency orders, which have been used in many countries for the first time since the Second World War, have been necessary and give much greater powers to governments in this global war against a common enemy, a virus.

Borders are closed, people must stay at home in ‘self-isolation’ and many companies and some universities may collapse if financial help from governments is not provided very soon. Values such as solidarity are impressively practised. The emergency does not mean that ethics are overridden and disabled. On the contrary, they are needed more than ever.

Leaders with academic integrity

Universities and academics are seen as credible, independent voices. Such academic integrity is even more important in emergency situations. Virologists are the new stars with their analyses. Researchers work around the clock on vaccines and other solutions; but social sciences and all other disciplines are needed now to uphold academic integrity.

It is likely the pressure to issue manipulated certificates or let students pass exams will increase under emergency rules due to strong financial pressures at all levels. Extraordinary situations need flexible solutions in terms of assignments, admissions dates, academic schedules, exams and publications.

The likelihood of students losing a semester may be unavoidable in some countries, but, even in such extraordinary situations, the academic integrity of teachers, students, researchers and university leadership must be upheld. The pandemic shows the crucial importance and need for leaders with integrity, honestly serving the people with power entrusted in them and not primarily serving their own political or economic interests.

Equal treatment

Online teaching is a smart solution and is much needed. Many universities have developed creative solutions at short notice, but complaints about educational inequality, especially in developing countries, are increasing. Full equality may not be possible as technological conditions vary too much, but all possible efforts to promote equal treatment should be made.

Truthfulness in an infodemic

‘Facts, not fear’ is a key message of our governments. We, as academics, are crucial contributors to factual dialogue and should resist ideological pressure. After the crisis and sometimes in the midst of it, politicians are tempted to re-interpret facts and re-write history in order to prove that they have taken the right decisions at the right time for the best results for their country.

Resisting conspiracy theories

Uncertainty, a lack of information and-or political interest often lead to all kinds of conspiracy theories as has been the case in history. For example, during the Black Death or Great Plague of the 14th century, which killed many millions of people, Jews were scapegoated with false claims that they had started it by poisoning wells. Violent attacks on Jewish communities ensued and thousands of Jews were murdered.

Conspiracy theories are increasingly circulating on social media during this pandemic. Some see the virus as a biological weapon of one of the superpowers who are supposedly seeking to destroy other superpowers (lawyers in the United States have launched a class action lawsuit against China seeking US$20 trillion compensation for damages caused in the US); others blame 5G technology; others see some populations or ethnic groups as immune to the coronavirus.

Ethical academic behaviour means resisting conspiracy theories through careful independent scientific research. Conspiracy theories can lead to the persecution of political, ethnic and religious groups.

Character building and self-reliance

Homeworking, self-isolation and exclusively online communication are very difficult experiences and will become tougher with the extensions likely over the coming months. They show that social, emotional and mental strength are as necessary as intellectual capacity. Character building and self-reliance are becoming an ever more important part of academic education.

The ethics of debt

The extreme economic turbulence caused by the pandemic will also lead to very serious financial challenges of students and higher education institutions. Post-coronavirus finance ethics will bring a need to critically review the level of individual and institutional academic indebtedness. Political and economic decision-makers will need to contribute to innovative solutions to reduce and share the burden of these economic effects.

Balanced globalisation

Student mobility has reduced and national protectionism has increased as a result of the pandemic. Pre-COVID-19 globalisation was vulnerable because of its interconnectivity. Travel and trade restrictions show that we cannot solely depend on a global economy; we also need local and regional supply chains. On the other hand, the cyber world and internet connectivity offer ways of adapting quickly to new situations.

Let’s learn from this pandemic how to achieve a healthy balance between globalised and localised economies. Academic work must be globally connected, but in a sustainable way. The pandemic also confirms the key role of multilateral institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO), but also multilateral academic institutions and networks.

Religions matter

Most humans would describe themselves to some extent or other as religious and their values and ethics come from their faith. The religious part of existence needs to be integrated into the academic world – with scientific objectivity and openness.

Religious fundamentalisms and false prophets (of denial, trivialisation or apocalyptic exaggeration of the pandemic) need to be addressed in order to give solid ethical answers – possibly informed by religion – to the current challenges.

Solidarity and speed when addressing SDGs

This pandemic shows that humanity is able to stand together – in spite of justified national interest – and to act with speed and determination. These characteristics are often missing when facing other global threats.

Climate change is a process as dramatic as the pandemic, which will cost even more lives, but it is happening at a slower rate and therefore the political will to act in time is missing. Millions of children die every year of hunger and because of a lack of clean water – why not act with the same determination and speed when it comes to climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

Trillions of dollars have been approved within days to support the victims of the pandemic and to stabilise the economy. Why not for achieving the SDGs?

«In the Corona Crisis, the Golden Rule Counts even More»

I was interviewed by “reformiert.”, the magazine for all protestant households in German speaking part of Switzerland (1 million copies), for its online edition. Topic was the voice of ethics in the current corona virus crisis. Here’s the English translation. For the link to the German text, see below.

Why is the voice of ethics needed in the current corona crisis?

The pandemic immediately raises the question of what we should do and orient ourselves as a society. The first answer comes from medicine, from virologists. But how should we deal with it? Whether you call it ethics or not, there are always questions of values, such as: What is health worth to us? Who should be protected? How are scarce resources to be distributed? The current crisis is particularly about balancing priorities: Which values are most important in which situation? In the early days of the pandemic, health was paramount and everything else had to take a back seat. After two three weeks, a second wave begins. The economy in terms of financial ability, jobs and purchasing power is now back. In the medium term, profitability is also a question of life and death – having nothing to eat means it can threaten life. The new debt crisis can cost millions of lives worldwide. 

There are economists, but also virologists, who would prefer controlled infection to shut down. What do you say as an ethicist: is it important to save every life at all costs, even if it results in immense economic damage for the whole of society?

There is no doubt that we should try to save and preserve life extensively. At the same time, the protection of life cannot be weighed against the economy. Because economy should enable life. When the financial system collapses, the number of victims is even greater. Health and economy both play a major role; one has to weigh the relevant goods carefully. Unilaterally relying on measures of health or of economy means that additional victims are accepted or produced.

The decision about life and death suddenly seems omnipresent in this crisis. Doctors have to decide who should be ventilated and who should be let die.

Resources should be distributed fairly in order to preserve the lives of as many people as possible. This is how the ethical guidelines of the Swiss Society for Medical Sciences SAMS set it. Particularly important in the pandemic is the additional remark in the guidelines that a person’s money, status or fame should not play a role in the distribution of resources. In practice, we constantly make decisions about life and death, not only in the extreme situation of the pandemic. How much development aid we provide and ultimately how much we pay for a mango from Ghana has a concrete impact on the viability and the life of others. So we are not suddenly confronted with a new question, but it is much more conscious and obvious because it directly affects us in the idea that we have to go to hospital and cannot expect to get to the machine. The access to and distribution of resources is the most important question of justice.

What do you mean?

I give an example. When my father, who was living a fulfilling life as a Reformed pastor, was in the elderly people’s home, he suffered a lot from the question of justice. He had a guilty conscience because his nursing home cost a total of around ten thousand francs a month and that money could have cured a hundred blind children from their eye disease every month. But the life of a very old and or sick person is also valuable and meaningful.

The value of vulnerable life is in everyone’s consciousness these days. We practice solidarity: everyone has to stay at home to protect old and weak people. Can that go well in the long-run?

It is impressive to see how solidarity is there and how it works. Through the threat, we rediscover virtues, exercise self-discipline and modesty. These are good signals. However, the question arises whether solidarity is deeply rooted in us or is only a pragmatic necessity. This would not last long. As soon as it becomes materially difficult, solidarity is exposed to an extreme burden – this is where the belief that solidarity is a life task comes into play. We are still comfortably on the move in Switzerland. Worldwide, for example in Africa, people are already at the limit of material possibilities. A picture comes to my mind that I received yesterday: someone is sitting on the corrugated iron roof of a hut and doing social distancing. Often ten people live on six square meters. In such situations, entirely different dimensions of solidarity are required.

In other words: as long as there is prosperity, solidarity is noticeable, when resources are running out, there is a risk of argument and even violent conflict?

Signs of de-solidarization can be seen even before we get into a fight. Conspiracy theories quickly emerge in the pandemic. You try to maintain solidarity by creating enemy images. For example, the Chinese are to blame for everything. Or: Why should we take patients from Alsace in nearby France with us in Basel when we may soon need the space ourselves?

In the solidarity question, one can go back to a simple ethical principle, the golden rule that applies in all world religions (Bible Mt 7:12): Treat the other as you want to be treated yourself. Whoever helps the other can also count on help. Helping is not only altruistic, but win-win.

You address conspiracy theories. In certain religious circles, the pandemic is seen as God’s punishment. What do you think of it as a theologian?

The Bible has a different approach, especially the New Testament: “God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn people, but to save / heal them.” (John 3:17). This is an important message that should be a priority for churches and believers. It is also the essence of the Easter message: We no longer need scapegoats, but once and for all Jesus has taken the cross upon himself and freed us from the constant mechanism of looking for guilty parties. God does not want to harm us, but to help us.

A related aspect: The belief that faith protects us from all evil is unfortunately widespread: the virus spread explosively in South Korea because a mass church continued to worship against warnings. We also experience this in Africa. Up to the Zurich auxiliary bishop, who wants to stick to the award of the host. This is negligent. It can become a crime as it can kill lives – and it is unchristian. I see it like John Calvin. The Geneva Reformer in the 16th century was in poor health and was often dependent on medicine. The believers in Geneva wanted to test him; they asked him to stop taking medication and instead trust in God. But he believed that medicine was sent by God. Doctors, nursing staff, medication and vaccinations are talents and instruments of God and not of the devil

What do you think: is the crisis causing a change in values?

Yes and no. We interpret the pandemic through the glasses of our worldview. A nationalist becomes even more a nationalist, one who is open to the world demands even more global solidarity. The pandemic can only have a positive impact if we are prepared for it from our inner order of values. Otherwise, there is a rapid relapse into the old patterns. At the same time, I’m sure that the exaggerated individualism of the past decades will be challenged. We recognize the value of community. We recognize how dependent we are on the smallest communities such as core families. I think there will be significant shifts in perception. Especially as a result of the economic collapse. Global indebtedness will take on mass as it did in the 1980s. It will take enormous effort to overcome this and restore a reasonably functioning world economy. The digital technologies will increase in importance. The sustainability goals are more difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, I am confident. One will recognize the importance of multinational organizations and know that WHO plays an incredibly important, not only coordinating, but also predictive and helping role. We rely on international structures.

If we are on the chances of the crisis: Maybe the current recovery of nature through rigorous measures to renounce nourishes the hope that society and politics can actually do something about climate change?

It is good to see nature’s relaxation as an encouragement. It shows, for example, that we can also live with limited flight options and can cope with larger restrictions in air or car traffic in order to get a reasonable last-minute solution for climate change. Now we have the experience that the effects are immediately visible, now we need the appropriate balance with the economic considerations, such as massively higher flight and gasoline prices. The pandemic shows that we have far more financial options than previously thought: we will also need trillions to achieve the climate goals.

www.globethics.net

www.christophstueckelberger.ch

The Text was first published in German in the Online Edition of the Church magazine ‘reformiert’ on 3 April 2020. https://reformiert.info/de/recherche/ldie-goldene-regel-ist-jetzt-wichtiger-denn-jer-18750.html

Read the reprint with Sallux: https://sallux.eu/news/in-the-corona-crisis-the-golden-rule-counts-even-more.html

Coronavirus COVID-19: Let’s stay together – at a distance

Dear Globethics.net Participants

I address this message in the form of a personal letter to all of you, the 200’000 in 200 countries and territories around the globe who are registered participants in our global family of Globethics.net. The global pandemic of the Coronavirus is now hitting people on all continents, within only three months.

I express first of all my compassion for and solidarity with those of you who have already lost a person close to you, who have lost your income and your job, who are separated from your family in another country or home, who suddenly have to teach your children at home, who fear to lose a semester of your studies, who do not have reliable electricity for online learning, you as university and business leaders who do not know how to overcome the financial challenge of your institution and you who tirelessly work in hospitals.

“It is war” said the Swiss government yesterday. A global war against a common enemy, a virus. Borders are closed, people have to stay at home in ‘self-isolation’ and many companies may collapse if financial help by governments is not provided very soon. My generation and our children grew up without war. My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents all experienced war in their lifetime. Many of you live in countries where you have experienced epidemics, war, droughts and disaster. For all of us, a global pandemic with this speed is new.

Coronavirus: Challenges and chances

What are the ethical challenges – and chances? How can we as a global network on ethics provide ethical leadership and orientation in promoting life, in higher education and in all the sectors that are affected? Let me share with you ten concerns from an ethical perspective and I invite you at the end of this letter to share your views:

  1. The Responsibility to Protect: as expressed in the recent Globethics.net statement, responsibility is first of all an individual task for each of us in order not to expose others and ourselves to infection in an unnecessary way. It is equally a responsibility of employers, governments and all sectors of society. Two extremes have to be avoided: panic and trivialization. ‘Facts, not fear’ enables the right balance of calm and reason and at the same time tough and courageous decisions where and when necessary;
  2. Speed, Slowdown and Self-management: for action, every day counts in this explosion of the spread of the virus, as the curves show. We are thankful to the authorities who have the courage to make timely, although tough decisions. On the other hand, many personal and professional activities have to slow down. A chance for new life balances. We can exercise and appreciate the value of self-discipline. Home-office and daylong studies at home can much better be managed with a disciplined structure to the day;
  3. Transparency is Compulsory: facts are key. Hiding or exaggerating facts for personal, political or economic reasons is criminal. Fake news can lead to panic or trivialization and can cost lives. All in all, the quality and speed of information sharing is impressive. The pandemic confirms the key role of multilateral institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and is a warning not to further weaken such institutions as some governments have done over the years;
  4. Faith Matters: two thirds of humanity would describe themselves to some extent or other as religious. What does this pandemic mean for faith in God or for trust in karma as a way of existence? Many religious communities care deeply for the sick and lonely. Prayers, meditation and encouragement with hope matter. The worst thing religious communities could do now is to increase the suffering by preaching that such a pandemic is a punishment of God for individual or collective misbehaviour or a result of behaviour in former lives or if they disrespect state orders and continue worshiping, arguing that they place their trust only in God. So-called trust in God while disrespecting medical advice and caring is unethical and irresponsible. Medical staff and researchers who develop a vaccine are gifts of the Almighty;
  5. No Place for Conspiracy: uncertainty, lack of information and/or political interests often lead to all kinds of conspiracy theories, and this is the case also during this pandemic. Some already see the virus as a biological weapon of one of the superpowers to destroy the other power; others blame the 5G technology; others see some populations or ethnic groups as immune to the corona virus. Ethical behaviour means resisting such conspiracy theories, not sharing them on social media. Conspiracy ‘news’ – during and after the pandemic – undermine effective, facts-based solutions and can as a consequence lead to unnecessary persecution of political, ethnic and religious groups;
  6. Encouraging Innovative Solidarity: it is impressive how much solidarity is visible during this pandemic. The trade war is suddenly replaced by the need to help each other. Neighbourhood solidarity and young people helping older persons in buying food can be observed and encouraged;
  7. Economic Victims: the number of people who will die as a result of the economic turbulences caused among others by the pandemic may be much higher than the deaths caused directly by the virus. Political and economic decision-makers are now asked to contribute to innovative solutions to reduce and share the burdens of these economic effects;
  8. Globalization Revisited: The pandemic makes the positive and negative side of globalization a daily experience of billions of people. It shows our vulnerability through interconnectivity. The travel and trade restrictions show that we cannot depend only on a global economy, but need also local and regional supply chains. The pandemic will have a profound impact on future supply chains and will modify the way of globalization. On the other hand, the cyber world and internet connectivity offers fast adaptation to the new restrictions, e.g. by distant education, online conferences, tele-medicine etc. Let us learn from this pandemic to achieve a more healthy balance between the globalized and localized economy;
  9. Ethical Leadership: the pandemic shows the crucial importance of leaders who have integrity, honestly serving the people with the power entrusted to them and not primarily serving own political or economic interests. The pandemic shows the urgent need for such responsible leadership, which is something that we strive for and promote at Globethics.net;
  10. Lessons for other threats: this pandemic shows, that humanity is able to stand together and to act with speed and determination, characteristics that are often missing when facing other global threats. Climate change is a process as dramatic as the pandemic, but it is happening at a slower rate and therefore the political will to act in time is missing. Millions of children die every year of hunger and because of lack of clean water – why not act with the same determination and speed that is being used to tackle this pandemic to slow down climate change and to manage other global threats?

Globethics.net is – fortunately in this situation – to a great extent a virtual community with our online library, online publications, online network and online academy. We invite you to use our platform as much as you can from home or wherever you have to stay, in a time where many universities are closed and online is the main way to continue studies, research and communication.

We wish you the necessary health and strength, ethical commitment and hope that we can overcome this challenge. Let’s stay together – at a distance. With physical distance and emotional proximity we can support each other. I invite you to share your values, experiences, thoughts, fears and hopes in this tough time of the global pandemic by sending a message to infoweb@globethics.net and we will upload a selection of them on our website www.globethics.net.

Take care, God bless you, paix avec vous, namasté, 安宁, kedamaian, мир, paz, amani, لسلام

Prof. Dr Dr h.c. Christoph Stückelberger
Globethics.net President and Founder

Related: Corona Virus – the Agape Response

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”.

Further Information