One World – Diverse Systems …

OF Discussion Board n°15 – 23 April 2021

Question asked : “Does the world need to contain China and how?“

My answer: “… One World – Diverse Systems … ”

How should be the role of China in the world? Three options: 1. China is disconnected from the world, sealed off, as it was to some extent 1949-1979, based on self-reliance and autonomous development. 2. China is fully integrated in the globalized world and follows the Western model of so-called capitalism and democracy as many powers in the West hoped that China, with its Open Door Policy since 1979, would develop. 3. China is integrated in the world, but with its “Chinese Characteristics” of “third way” combining planned and market economy, socialist one party system with elements of consultative participatory processes and controlled civil society.The Ethics of International Relations needs to respect the diversity of systems as in option 3 while encouraging each other to become “better socialists” and “better capitalists” serving humanity.

Read the full discussion here.

Money and Morality in Higher Education. Seven Countries Case Studies.

How does the attribution of funds and their origin impact ethics in higher education? 52 This main question of this research paper leads us to ask three secondary questions: What is the evolution of the higher education domain? Who funds higher education and through what means? Is ethical commitment part of the funding strategies?

This research paper proceeds in a succession of two moments: 1. Identifying global trends related to higher education. 2. Focusing on some case countries, trying to compare them with the global situation. 3. Conclusions. The paper works with data from the World Bank and UNESCO. However, an important challenge was missing data for some aspects and countries.

The World Bank provides on its website a table with all the data they have on each country, until 2015. This was very interesting as I wanted to do a time series analysis, to see the evolutions in higher education over time. This proved to be impossible as there were many countries that did not have any data available, or only had data for one year instead of twenty. Developed countries had a complete panel of data, while the data from the developing world was pretty scarce. The conclusions, therefore, would have only applied to developed countries and would have been pretty useless for our efforts to identify the places where gaps between the local and average international situation exist.

The gaps would have most likely been even bigger if developed countries were only taken into account. This was even more problematic as the data missing was from the specific countries we wanted to use as case studies. Therefore, the methodology had to be adapted. Since sufficient data was not available, we switched to a more qualitative study; doing a lot of readings on governmental and international reports on the global trends in higher education. Data was cross-referenced to see if information was confirmed by other reports. Main sources used were studies by UNESCO, the British Council and the UN to get a general overview, but many other sources have been integrated on specific topics. This study had to differentiate between general data on education that focused mainly on primary education and the data on higher education. The responses to SDG4 seem to concentrate on primary education and this can be understood, as it is the unavoidable basis for further education and essential to the improvement of alphabetization rates. However, the fact that investment in primary education creates not only the biggest social, but also economic returns might also have something to do with the choice in priorities.

Data were also directly drawn from governmental national reports, by accessing their online archives. This was somewhat complicated, as sufficient understanding of each education system was required in order to make data comparable. For instance, some countries consider high schools part of higher education, which increases the numbers of students enrolled in classical tertiary education. We then had to subtract high schoolers from the overall number. In addition, sometimes linguistic problems occurred as some reports are published in national languages, and not readily available in English or French. However, with translations and additional research, reports could be understood.

Reasons for missing data in databases of international organisations such as the World Bank and UNESCO can be manifold: some data are sensitive and countries are not keen to share in an open international database for political and social reasons. In some cases, data are really not available or not reliable.

Most of the data collected in this study are analysing the evolution of higher education between 2000 and 2015, although where data were available, we went further back in the past. According to each situation, historical moments that were significant, were identified. Country progress data are based on information from the World Education News + Reviews.

This text is an abridged version of the following article:

Money and Morality in Higher Education. Seven countries case studies
2021, Leadership with Integrity: Higher Education from Vocation to Funding, Globethics.net Leadership with Integrity No. 8, Geneva, 81-125.

Download the full book via globethics.net here

Hans Küng and Prince Philip – two outstanding champions of global values

Tribute to Hans Küng …
Hans Küng was a pioneer of global ethics and thus a key inspirational source for Globethics.net. He died on 6 April 2021 at the age of 93. Hans Küng, professor of ecumenical theology, was one of the most outstanding Catholic theologians of the 20th century worldwide. He became famous with his harsh critique of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican and made many proposals for church reform, especially in line with the Second Vatican Council. In the context of the search for global values, I especially honour him here for his outstanding pioneer work for global ethics, a World Ethic as he called it. He proposed a set of five core values to serve as common ground within and between religions and with the whole of humanity. His sharp theological and analytical skills and global knowledge led him also to apply these values to the global economy and politics.

Hans Küng grew up in Sursee in Switzerland, only twenty kilometers from where I grew up. For him as for myself, it was a fertile ground for ecumenical openness and for gaining a global horizon. Even though deeply rooted in the Catholic faith and church, he worked for ecumenical cooperation since his PhD on the Protestant theologian Karl Barth. When I founded Globethics.net in 2004 during a founding one-week consultation in Bossey near Geneva, Switzerland, I invited Hans Küng as the Founder and Director of his Global Ethic Foundation in Tübingen, Germany. As he could not participate, he sent his General Secretary with whom we explored from day one ways of cooperation. The approach was complementary, global, ecumenical and interreligious in both foundations. However, the Global Ethic Foundation promoted mainly Küng’s very rich and important concept of a world ethics, whereas at Globethics.net we developed a global network and movement with a global platform for dialogue, research and action and with an emphasis on the Global South and cultural diversity.

Küng invited me to the founding event of the World Ethos Institute (WEIB) at the Peking University in Beijing, China in 2012. Another common ground of Hans Küng and Globethics.net was to promote global common ethical values across cultures and continents, including China. Globethics.net owes much to Hans Küng and I warmly recommend that his numerous books continue to be studied as source of ongoing inspiration for a values-driven world in peace.

…and Prince Philip
On 9 April 2021, only three days after Hans Küng, another outstanding champion of global values died: His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh. He died at the age of 99 years. He was not only the modest husband of Queen Elizabeth and thus to a large extent in her shadow, he was also a great humanist and early pioneer for environmental protection. He was especially engaged in mobilising the world religions as key supporters and drivers of environmental protection. As international President of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), he was in 1985 instrumental in inviting conservation organisations and faith leaders to Assisi in Italy. “He was the first world leader to understand that the religions of the world could be natural partners for the conservation movement”, wrote Martin Palmer in his tribute to Prince Philip. Palmer worked with Prince Philip for 36 years on this subject. Martin Palmer, Founder and Head of the FaithInvest Foundation, was inspired and supported by Prince Philip to continue to mobilise world religions and faith communities for development and the environment. FaithInvest is strategic partner of the Geneva Agape Foundation and also involved in Globethics.net.

Hans Küng and Prince Philip have been two outstanding pioneers and thought leaders for global values and peaceful cooperation for humanity and for creation. Their lives encourage us to continue building on these legacies for transformation.

Christoph Stückelberger
President Globethics.net and
Executive Director Geneva Agape Foundation

Higher Education as Noble Vocation

The relation between academic and vocational education leads to a key ethical question: what is the value and the reputation of a profession in society? In ancient Greece, the philosopher was higher than the slave; in the middle age the priest was higher than the trader or teacher; in 2019, the CEO of an IT or Artificial Intelligence company is more reputable than the farmer. And from the perspective of Christian faith? Christian work ethics is revolutionary for education and the job market: what counts not is the reputation of a profession in society, but rather work executed for the glory of God (Soli Deo Gloria) and as service to people in need/to the society. And if work is only done for personal benefit, it often leads to exploitation of others. Therefore, in the light of Christian faith, a righteous farmer has higher reputation and dignity in front of God than a corrupt billionaire or a famous researcher who develops the newest autonomous weapons/drones to kill innocent civilians. An honest cleaner in this university has higher status in front of God than a selfish professor or pastor or priest!

“Vocation of the Business Leader: A Reflection” is an excellent document of the Vatican, published by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace under its president Cardinal Turkson from Ghana. Not only does a pastor, a deacon, a nun or a bishop have a vocation, but every profession. “When businesses and market economies function properly and focus on serving the common good, they contribute greatly to the material and even the spiritual well-being of society.…The alternative path of faith-based “servant leadership” provides business leaders with a larger perspective and helps them to balance the demands of the business world with those of ethical social principles, illuminated for Christians by the Gospel.”

Courage to remain truthful can be (sometimes) costly. Some time ago I met two friends: The first has a high-ranking position as head of a public company in Africa. He resigned voluntarily as he was not given the chance to implement the value-based integrity as discussed above. He had given up his position and the privileges thereof, the money and the politico-economic power in order to keep up with his principles of integrity. He thereby enhanced his reputation as a truthful and trustworthy person, a moral quality of which the people in his country were yearning for. The second is a friend from Asia, who had accepted a promotion for a top academic position in an institution, provided he could replace the corrupted elements within it, and build thereupon a culture of integrity with more transparency. He declared that he would resign without the instrumental support of the auditing authorities. These two examples show that one needs not only the necessary bravery, but also a sufficiently sound safety net to avoid falling into the insecurity gap upon leaving a position out of ethical conviction! Many more examples of personalities known for their integrity could be mentioned. Africans like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Kofi Annan are only three.

This text is an abridged version of the following article:

Leadership with Ethics and Integrity. The noble vocation of higher education ethics
2021, Leadership with Integrity: Higher Education from Vocation to Funding, Globethics.net Leadership with Integrity No. 8, Geneva, 37-54.

Download the full book via globethics.net here

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

Corona year two: remembering the values of year one.

Let’s stay together – at a distance: This was my blog message last year – re-issued by the team at Globethics.net and still relevant.


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

Bombay Management Association: Global Conclave on Ethics

Video

Ethics forms the bedrock of principles based on which long lasting businesses are built. Business Ethics is a moral compass that guides the conduct of any business. It is a system of moral and ethical beliefs that guides the values, behaviour and decisions of a business organisation and the individuals within that  organisation.  It requires common sense and not rocket science, to understand that Purpose driven organisations command greater respect from all stakeholders including regulators and society at large and last longer. There is enough empirical evidence around the world to prove that companies, which have survived beyond 100 years are the ones that have a strong culture and Ethics deeply embedded in their organizational DNA.

However, it is unfortunate that in last two decades there has been a significant erosion of Ethics and value system in governing of countries by politicians as well as in governing & managing of companies by corporate leaders. Sample some of the top scams and frauds like Enron (2001), Lehman Brothers & Madoff (2008) in USA, and 2G spectrum scam (2008), Satyam (2009), the coal allocation scam popularly called ‘Coalgate’ (2012) in India and not to forget the Financial Frauds, trade based & other economic crimes in Asia. The root cause for all this is extreme greed and deep erosion in Business Ethics & Value system.

Therefore, BMA along with its partner organisations decided to organise a “Global Conclave on Ethics”, to reinforce the practice of Ethics in business decision making and sensitise business leaders & managers.  

Creation, Cross and Holy Spirit

A glass window, done by Christoph Stückelberger in France and shipped to China. The window arch frame, to fit the church window, was complemented by Cui Wantian (Moses), artist and friend.

The Art Work shows the four elements (bottom up): Earth (soil) in brown, Water in blue, Fire in red, Air in grey.

They express the beauty and abundant diversity of creation. The circle in the centre includes the cross and the circle as expression of the Holy Spirit. They are made of white Cristal agate stones symbolizing purity and light. A line of Cristal stones like the DNA file of life flows from the very top to the very bottom and through the cross (of life) from very left to very right and back. The art work therefore expresses the Trinitarian God: God the Creator in the four elements, God the Liberator in the Cross of Jesus Christ and God the Transformer and Innovator in the Holy Spirit. The red horizontal and vertical lines in the window arch are the Chinese characters for “China” and include the cross. Together the work expresses the Christian God of wonderful Life, abundant Forgiving and Blessing and joyful Beauty. – Creation Art for God’s Glory.

The Work

Over 800 precious stones (Agate, a quartz mineral, from Brazil), cut in 2-4mm thin pieces, are composed, framed with lead, soldered to fix and put in iron frame and fixed with pins. Total 13 pieces. All hand-made. The technique is the same as in medieval large churches in Europe since over 1000 years. Innovative is the use of Agate precious stones instead of stained glasses. The work was done in the holiday home of the artist in Cuiseaux/France 2015-2017.

Final Destination: Wuhan City / China, Church of the New Zhongnan Theological Seminary

The China Christian Council CCC is the officially recognized and registered protestant church of China with a provincial Councils in the provinces. The provincial church (TSPM/CCs) of Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Hainan and Guangxi province run since 1984 a theological seminary for the formation of pastors and deacons. A new campus of the Theological Seminary with lecture rooms, dormitories and apartments for students and a large church with 2000 seats was built 1995-2000 in the centre of Wuhan City, next door to famous public universities.

The artist transported the art window from his holiday home by car to Geneva, from where it was professionally packed for air transport to Wuhan. In September 2017, the artist with the church leadership, lecturers and cam-pus managers opened the window and the iron frame.

Globalance: Strategies of geo-political de-escalation

The escalation of conflicts is not a fate to be accepted. The ethics of Globalance requests to develop strategies of de-escalation: understanding the other is the first step – which means to be fair to others in recognizing their humanity.

Encounter through dialogue is one of the most important steps to counter prejudices, which are often built on missing experience.

Based on these fair perceptions, fair information is possible, opposite to hate speech and fake news.

Peace trade means to expand trade to people which otherwise are deprived from cooperation. It is a key element in peace building and conflict resolution.

Peace economy means to tame the economy where growth is too fast, not culturally embedded or too one-sided. Economic policies as well as investment strategies have always been reflected under the aspect of contributing to peace or conflicts.

The same is true for the financial sector, where fast insertion and fast extraction of capital in a country can be a short-term benefit, but can make the country vulnerable and result in conflicts.

Finally, peace politics must deal with avoiding military violent conflicts by peace diplomacy, alliances and all other means.

‘-Isms’ as threats to Globalance

Most of the worldviews ending with ‘-ism’ represent one-sided, ideological perspectives with a totalitarian tendency. An ideology is a worldview of ideas, values and beliefs, which is interpreting all aspects of reality in a way, which fits into one system and denies other parts of reality.

The core values of these ideologies are ethically speaking very positive, but they turn into a negative, unethical system by maximizing and absolutizing one value and thus contributing to polarization. They then become a threat to Globalance as a relational worldview.

These ‘-isms’ claim to give clear, simple solutions, security and order. But since they are exclusive and not inclusive and deny the existence or right of existence of opposing aspects, they in fact create conflicts, disorder and insecurity instead.

Read about those ‘-isms’ in my latest book “Globalance”: https://www.globethics.net/globalance

Globalance: Covid Balance of Freedom and Discipline

The Covid-19 pandemic is shaking the world. At hand, polarisation between those in favour or against masks and vaccines, populist leaders who do not care for their people, and an accelerated trade war between US and China. 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 at the end of the first wave, the thirst for freedom and fairness has resurged in Asia – the hunger for community is back. 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.

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.

Read and download for free my latest book “Globalance. Ethics Handbook for a Balanced World Post-Covid: https://www.globethics.net/globalance