The article is the editorial in the Globethics.net Newsletter Jan. 2018
Let me start the first editorial of the New Year by wishing everyone in the Globethics.net community a values-driven year for 2018!
In a time of technological disruptions, public figures promoting vices instead of virtues, an increase in the number of natural disasters as a result of climate change and of volatile financial markets, we need benchmarks, guidelines and values more than ever in our societies.
Globethics.net is now focused on Ethics in Higher Education, as a way to meet this need, by equipping students through their teachers and institutions to address ethical problems with the tools, resources and knowledge that they need to make responsible choices and to recognise and live with the consequences of their decisions as citizens and as future leaders.
Our watchword and method is ETHICS, which stands for ‘Empowerment’, ‘Transformation’, ‘Holistic’, ‘Integrity’, ‘Competence’ and ‘Sustainability’. By promoting ETHICS in higher education, we aim to achieve our vision to build sustainable, just and peaceful societies. I will explain each of these concepts individually and why we chose ETHICS as the way:
Empowerment: Those who resist unethical practices in higher education often feel isolated and find themselves among a small minority of people who are concerned and want to act. Knowledge, wisdom, character education and mutual support is empowering.
Transformation: Higher education is not a goal in itself. It has to serve in transforming human beings and societies towards a life of dignity, justice, equality, peace and ecological sustainability for all.
Holistic: The current high level of specialization is a necessity and a danger for effective transformation. Higher education has to become more holistic. The Fourth Industrial Revolution shows that the border between humans and machines is questioned and biology, chemistry and the humanities become very interdependent. Science and the humanities have to interact and ethics is a benchmark for both.
Integrity: The findings of the latest trust barometer shows a marked decline in trust in leaders in all sectors. Only around half of the government, non-governmental organizations, the media and business institutions across the world are trusted by the public. A key priority of higher education must be to build leaders in which people can trust. Integrity character education is the answer!
Competence: Professional, social, emotional, intercultural and religious competence – as a holistic set of competencies – is key for performance, integrity and sustainable transformation. It is better to have a competent person with integrity than a crooked graduate student or teacher with a fake certificate.
Sustainability: The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are built on clear SDG core values. Ethics in higher education directly contributes to the implementation of these SDGs, which are so vital for humanity.
In order to bring ETHICS to teachers and students, we support higher education institutions in their efforts to ensure that they have good, credible standards and rigorous ethical practices. Many institutions of higher education are affected by unfair fees policies, absenteeism of teachers, plagiarism, nepotism in the selection of leadership, teaching and administrative staff, bullying, financial or sexual corruption and pressure from politicians when selecting students or from investors to maximize profits, sometimes at the expense of quality education. We provide support, materials and training for teachers, who bear the responsibility of imparting ethical values, practice and knowledge to their students in their particular disciplines.
We invite you to be a part of this endeavor, to demand that ethics be taught, that ethical values be lived and developed in a life-long process of growth. Join our network of nearly 193’000 registered participants around the world, with over 40’000 teachers, 60’000 students and 66’000 researchers, not to mention those who are registered as public officials, private sector workers, policy makers, advocates and others.
Let us stand up and stand together for values transformation!