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Book of Abstracts

Dream world painting by Jacek Yerka


Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI)


School of Economic Science (SES)

13th Annual GCGI International Conference and the 3rd Joint GCGI and SES Forum

Why Values Matter

The Power of Purpose and Values: The Path to a Better World

31 August- 4 September, 2016

Hosted at

Waterperry House | School of Economic Science

From Oxford 2002 to Oxford 2016: Portrait of a Great Journey for the Common Good

Plater College, Oxford (2002)- St. Petersburg, Russia (2003)- Dubai, UAE (2004)- Nairobi and Kericho, Kenya(2005)- Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA (2006)-Fatih University, Istanbul, Turkey (2007)- Trinity College, University of Melbourne, Australia (2008)- Loyola University, Chicago, USA (2009)- California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California, USA (2010)- Alexandria Bibliotheca, Alexandria, Egypt (2011—Postponed, due to the Revolution in Egypt)- School of Economic Science, Oxford Campus, Waterperry House, Oxford, UK (2012), Cité universitaire internationale, Paris, France (2013), andSchool of Economic Science, Oxford Campus, Waterperry House, Oxford, UK (2014& 2016)

Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI): Where we connect our intellect with our humanity

Light at the end of the tunnel: The Path to Wisdom- Embracing empathy and kindness and taking action in the Interest of the Common Good

Photo: theworldgeography.com

To understand, appreciate, and face the challenges of the contemporary world requires us to focus on life’s big picture. Whether it is war and peace, economics and the environment, justice and injustice, love and hatred, cooperation and competition, common good and selfishness, science and technology,progress and poverty, profit and loss,food and population, energy and water, disease and health, education and family, we need the big picture in order to understand and solve the many pressing problems, large and small, regional or global. 

The “Big Picture” is also the context in which we can most productively explore the big perennial questions of life - purpose and meaning, virtues and values.

In order to focus on life’s bigger picture and 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.

We recognise that our socio-economic problems are closely linked to our spiritual problems and vice versa. Moreover, socio-economic justice, peace and harmony will come about only when the essential connection between the spiritual and practical aspects of life is valued. Necessary for this journey is to discover, promote and live for the common good. The principle of the common good reminds us that we are all really responsible for each other – we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers – and must work for social conditions which ensure that every person and every group in society is able to meet their needs and realize their potential. It follows that every group in society must take into account the rights and aspirations of other groups, and the well-being of the whole human family.

One of the greatest challenges of our time is to apply the ideas of the global common good to practical problems and forge common solutions. Translating the contentions of philosophers, spiritual and religious scholars and leaders into agreement between policymakers and nations is the task of statesmen and citizens, a challenge to which Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) adheres. The purpose is not simply talking about the common good, or simply to have a dialogue, but the purpose is to take action, to make the common good and dialogue work for all of us, benefiting us all.

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 has from the very beginning invited us to move beyond the struggle and confusion of a preoccupied economic and materialistic life to a meaningful and purposeful life of hope and joy, gratitude, compassion, and service for the good of all.

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 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.

GCGI- Annual Conference Series

The Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative Annual Conference Series have ranged far across the world through Oxford, Saint Petersburg- Russia- Dubai- UAE- Nairobi/Kericho- Kenya- Honolulu-USA- Istanbul- Turkey- Melbourne- Australia- Chicago- USA- Thousand Oaks, California-USA- Oxford- and Paris, France. The GCGI conferences have created and continue to create an ever-widening international community of speakers and participants, forging links and establishing dialogues across national, cultural, and religious/spiritual boundaries, and putting into practice the movement’s core philosophy: that globalisation need not be defined merely in terms of impersonal market forces, but can be a power for good, building spiritual bonds that can unite humanity and bring different cultures, faiths and peoples closer together.

These multi/inter-disciplinary conferences- each locally organised and funded, most often by regional organisations working in tandem with a university/think-tank/civil society in cooperation with GCGI- have been lively and productive affairs, in which many national, regional and international participants have come together for intense discussions on a spiritual and value-centered vision of globalisation and the common good.

GCGI Annual Conference Series is now recognised as an initiative that has succeeded in establishing a large, vigorous, interdisciplinary, inter-faith, inter-civilisational, inter-cultural and spiritual team of researchers to focus on issues of globalisation, the common good and other related subjects. The expertise of those who have supported the GCGI includes economics, business studies, political science, media studies and journalism, international relations, history, philosophy, sociology, social anthropology, psychology, medicine, geography, environmental studies, mathematics, physics, chemistry, IT, education, development studies, peace and conflict resolution, law, ethics and theology, amongst others.

School of Economic Science: A Brief Introduction

The School of Economic Science (a registered charity, founded in 1937) is a centre for spiritual and practical knowledge and enquiry. Our aim is to help anyone who seeks it to lead a fuller, richer and more useful life and to evolve the spiritual aspects of their being in accordance with natural laws.

This aim is pursued mainly by offering innovative courses in practical, living philosophy inspired by the philosophy of advaita or unity, and economics with justice.

Philosophy and economics are directly related because, ultimately, economic life depends on the philosophy underlying economic systems and on the philosophic culture of the people living and working in an economy.

The School offers a wide range of other courses, inspired by the broad principles of practical philosophy & economics, as well as seminars, workshops, concerts and lectures.

Book of Abstracts - (In Order of Presentation)

photo: creativity.trainings.ee 

Wednesday 31 August 2016

Professor W. Richard Bowen, FREng


Engineers are renowned for their great technical ingenuity. This ingenuity has profoundly changed the world we live in. Many of these changes are hugely beneficial, and some are seriously deleterious. The greatest challenge to contemporary engineers is whether their great technical innovation can be matched by a corresponding innovation in the acceptance and expression of ethical responsibility. The presentation will explore this challenge in a number of ways:

  1. The ethical nature of engineering will be elucidated by making use of key concepts from leading contemporary philosophers.

  2. Examples of ways in which the ethical nature of engineering can be accepted and expressed will be outlined: engineering for health, engineering for development and engineering for peace.

  3. Ways in which the acceptance and expression of the ethical nature of engineering can be promoted will be considered: the acceptance of personal responsibility and participation in supporting social structures; and convincing others through human rights approaches and the elucidation of engineering power.

  4. Future prospects for the acceptance and expression of ethical responsibility will be envisaged.


W.R. Bowen, Engineering Ethics: Challenges and Opportunities (Cham: Springer International, 2014).

Professor W. Richard Bowen is a Fellow of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering. His contributions to the development of membrane separation processes and atomic force microscopy are widely regarded as world leading. Professor Bowen is a member of the Academy’s Engineering Ethics Working Group, the UK Academies' Human Rights Committee and the Advisory Board of the Centre for Emerging Technologies and Bioethics at St Mary’s University London. He has lectured on engineering ethics at universities and international conferences in the UK, mainland Europe, the Middle East and China. Recent publications include Atomic Force Microscopy in Process Engineering (London: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2009, with N. Hilal), Engineering Ethics: Outline of an Aspirational Approach (London: Springer-Verlag, 2009), Peace Engineering (Lakeshore: Woodsville, 2013, ed. with P.A. Vesilind) and Engineering Ethics: Challenges and Opportunities (Cham: Springer International, 2014).

Thursday 1 September 2016

The Value of Values: The Centrality of Nature in our Humanity and Spirituality

Prof. Steve Szeghi

The Natural World consisting of all species and all the elements of nature is a community of which humanity is a part.  It is intrinsically the root and core of both our deepest humanity and our most real spirituality. In fully valuing the natural world we travel on a journey of appreciation moving away from owning separately to owning together; and ultimately to belonging. For it is in belonging to one another and belonging to the natural world that we find the blossoms of joy and peace exploding in our hearts and souls.

Steven Szeghi, a GCGI Senior Ambassador, Co-founder/editor, GCGI Journal,  is a Professor of Economics at WilmingtonCollege in the USA, since 1987.  In 2009 He co-authored with Peter Brown, Geoffrey Garver, Keith Helmuth, and Robert Howell, Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy.   Szeghi’s article, Lessons in Sustainable Development on the Navajo Nation, appeared in the 18th Journal for Economics and Politics.  He is today an international speaker and author on many topics including social justice, ecological economics, primers in economics for social activists, and the economies of indigenous and aboriginal peoples as alternative economic systems.

Homoeconomico-politicus, Scientific Consciousness, and the Defense of Fundamental Values in the Context of the Climate Change Crisis

The Challenge of Scientific Responsibility for the Future of Economic and Political Science

Prof. Winston P. Nagan, FRSA

The general framework of this paper is to focus on the evolution of scientific consciousness and the dramatic technological developments it has generated, which have vital and highly consequential consequences for social organization on a global basis. The central fact about the current technological revolution is the enormous challenges it provides for political and economic decision-making. The political and economic choices are often merged in a symbiotic wave of challenges. In politics, we have understood the background and challenges that confront homopoliticus. These challenges are even more pronounced as challenges for homoeconomicus. In short, homoeconomico-politicus is both an observer and a participator in the challenges of dramatic technological change. What ties these two concepts together is that they are fed by a form of scientific consciousness. Dramatic forces of change, now unleashed, literally require new paradigms of political and economic thinking to inform wise policy makers about sensible political and economic choices. Both economics and politics are dramatically interrelated and shaped by the philosophy of science known as  Positivism. The problem with this approach is that it demands a form of scientific objectivity that rigorously excludes the study of values in the science of politics and economics. But the broader level of scientific consciousness would virtually require that these disciplines adequately account for the value implications of their work.

These generalized comments may be an appropriate introduction to a deeper understanding of the impact of technological changes on the organization of political economy at all levels of social organization from the local to the global. One of the issues that we seek to underscore in this paper is a better understanding of the idea of economic consciousness. It would seem to be obvious that economic consciousness influences economic theory and economic practice. In this sense, economic consciousness would seek to have a connection to the idea of political consciousness. The two are clearly intimately interrelated. In the field of political science, there is a well-developed theory of the power-oriented personality. When we connect the power-oriented personality to the personality focused on political economy, it may be appropriate to suggest the idea of a marriage of homopoliticus and homoeconomicus.

This connection could be expressed in a  neologism: homoeconomicus-politicus. It is the centrality of the idea of economic and political consciousness that merges these ideas in the form of an inclusive level of consciousness, which we wish to explore. If we accept the idea of homoeconomico-politicus level of consciousness, the next assumption would have to be that this form of human consciousness is obviously influenced by science and the interposition of value-based analysis. These few introductory comments are simply used to raise the question of the role of values in the evolution of the technological capacity in economics and politics of the human family.

Values and scientific consequences

When we see human perspectives at the heart of  social relation. We also observe that human  perspectives  are replete with “values” as an ordinary and not extraordinary part of human  interaction. Values in a descriptive  sense are not exotic, there are a natural and ordinary component of human purposes expressed as needs and desires.

The paper distils 9core values and  their  institutional  correlatives.  This illustrates   the previous point.

A separate question  is the normative question of how values should be optimally produced, distributed and conserved in society. The normative issue  is a separate one sustained by the moral priority generated from the technique of moral and  ethical justification.

At this point values have to confront an agreed upon normative priority as a matter of global agreement and understanding. The Committment of Human Rights and Human Dignity.  In this sense homoeconomical  politicies is confronted with political and economic choice about what is desirable and what should be avoided.  The paper suggests  that the global values and priorities reflected the global Bill of Rights should guide the evolution of economic and political consciousness. The paper outlines central value challenges at issue.

The paper concludes with the political and economical challenges that homoeconomico-politicus must confirmed to secure a green economy to save the planet.

Prof. Winston P. Nagan, FRSA,  Samuel T. Dell Research Scholar Professor of Law, Levin Collegeof Law,Universityof Florida. Professor Nagan was born in South Africaand educated at the University of Fort Hare. At that time, the apartheid authorities were constructing the foundations of a police state. Professor Nagan as a student leader was active in promoting the rule of law values, which challenged the values of apartheid authoritarianism. In this role, he was active in organizing legal defenses for political prisoners. Later he organized a prison education scheme for the continuing education of all political prisoners inSouth Africa. He left South Africafor exile in 1964 and continued his legal studies at Oxford University. He graduated with the degrees of BA honors and MA. He continued his studies at Duke University, LL.M,MCL. He did his doctoral studies at Yale under Myres McDougal and Michael Reisman (JSD).

Seeking the Common Good: Values of Hizmet Movement

Dialogue to build an ideal Society: Hizmet inspired dialogue in the southeast of Turkey

Dr Mustafa Demir & Dr Omer Sener

In this presentation the role of faith inspired Hizmet movement in the normalization of minorities in Turkey, particularly of non-Muslims and Alevis will be discussed.

It argues that dialogue activities of Hizmet inspired and affiliated people in the southeast part of Turkey aim to and helping non-Muslim communities to be perceived positively by the majority. That aim is in comply with the ideal society Hizmet aims to achieve. The lecture is based on observation during a 10-day-research-trip to southeast of Turkey in June 2013.

Dr. Mustafa Demir holds a PhD in politics and international relations at Keele University/UK. His research interests are: the Middle East and current developments, Turkey's foreign and security policies, perception of ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East and world politics. He is co-director and Research Fellow of the London-based Turkey Institute and currently working on Turkey’s Syria policy.

Omer Sener is a researcher and freelance writer who holds a PhD in Cultural Studies and Literary Criticism. His research interests include ethnicity, multiculturalism and cultural narratives. He is particularly interested in intercultural dialogue and dialogue as an academic concept across disciplines.

The Positive Values of Hizmet and Their Role in Creating Better Society

Dr Ismail Mesut Sezgin

The values such as love compassion are central in Hizmet movement; however there are some of the concepts that are important to create a better society. Hizmet as a transnational movement has developed a group of values throughout its experience with other cultures which may contribute to create a better society. I will explore some of these values and concepts such as the importance of human free will, pursuing ethical goals with ethical means, positive contribution, belief in diversity, middle path and some other concepts and their influence in combatting violent extremist ideology as well as their potential to create a better society in today’s world.

Ismail Mesut Sezgin holds his Doctorate from the Institute for Spirituality, Religion and Public Life at Leeds Beckett University. His thesis was titled Moral Responsibility in Contemporary Islam. His research interests include ethics, Islam, Political Islam, Sufism and Turkish Politics, religious movements, extremism. Sezgin is the Executive Director of the Centre for Hizmet Studies.

      Taking Care of’ the Other, Cultivating the Self: The Ethics of Social Interaction

Merve Reyhan Kayıkcı   

This paper explores how Muslim Belgian women fashion their ethical self in relation to their community. Lara Deeb analyzes piety as a relational trajectory, whereby the pious subject depends on a commitment to community betterment (Deeb: 2006). While the subject of relational piety has been the focus of previous studies (Fernando 2014, Deeb 2006, Mittermaier 2014) the multiple and complex forms of how it emerges as an ethical commitment is yet to be explored. This paper looks at the nuances in relational piety in the context of Belgian Muslim women’s volunteering practices. It examines how volunteering provides a space for these women to be moral role models to others. This is complicated process whereby the ‘other’ can refer to Muslims as well as non-Muslims. This paper examines how the volunteers interact with non-Muslims in the context of relational care ethics. It suggests that being a ‘role model’ is a dual process during which the women cultivate their own ethical self through the relational process with non-Muslims. This point comes back to Jouili’s description of representational da’wa, which entails ‘self discipline’ and the cultivation of the self in terms of good qualities to provide a blue print for others in terms of living morally (Jouili 2014: 140). The paper is part of a larger research project, for which interviews and participant observation were conducted with Muslim Belgian women between the years 2013 and 2016. The fieldwork was carried out in the Belgian cities of Brussels and Antwerp.

Merve Reyhan Kayıkcı holds a BA in Sociology and English Literature from the Istanbul Fatih University, Turkey. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the Belgian KU Leuven. She is currently a PhD candidate (2013-2017) at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Specifically, her ethnography-based research focuses on Belgian Muslim women of Turkish descent and their volunteering practices. I examine how volunteering is part of their ethical self-cultivation and in turn how an ethical consciousness informs their volunteering practices, leading to a dual process. Her broader research interests include transnational social movements and their local formations, the spiritual economy, ethical selfhood, ethnicity and migration, gender and subjectivity.

Youth and Education

Values for youth: social responsibility: Customization of social responsibility

Yunus Denizli

This presentation seeks to analyse Belgian-Turkish youth and youth activities within in the Hizmet movement to understand how the movement circulates a position on youth. This study aims to look at Belgian-Turkish youth, their perceptions and practices of public-social citizenship. The young people in this study feel challenged in two ways: being Muslim and coming from a migrant background. For a number of young people that I worked, Muslim identity has intermingled and overlapped with their ethnic-migrant background. Based on the ethnographic study of Belgian Turkish youth affiliated or active in the Hizmet movement, the study focuses on volunteerism and their citizenship in order to understand their social participation in public and community life.

Yunus Denizli holds a bachelor degree in Business Management with specialization in law practice from the university of Artevelde. He obtained his master’s degree in public governance and management from the university of Ghent. He specialized in youth policy. Currently he is working in For Youth, a national youth organization in Belgium, as a general coordinator. They focus on disadvantaged youth from a social economical and ethnic position. They help i.a. NEET to find a job, develop skills and participate in the youth activities and the society. 

Educational Philosophy of Gülen

Dr. Erkan Toguslu

This presentation will examine the concept of education and educational activities in the Movement. The aim is to look at Gülen views on education and pedagogy and how these ideas are implemented in the schools opened by Hizmet participants. What are the values and ethos of these schools and how do the schools promote these values? This paper attempts to locate Gülen’s educational philosophy within the framework of Islamic educational philosophy by answering these questions aforementioned.

Dr Erkan Toguslu is Ass. Professor and Gülen Chair for Intercultural Studies and Interculturalism, Migration and MinoritiesResearchCenter at KU Leuven University. He received his MA and PhD in sociology from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. His research focuses on transnational Muslim networks in Europe, the emergence of Islamic intellectuals, interfaith dialogue, the debate on public-private Islam, the nexus immigration and religion. He is one of the founder editor of international journal Hizmet Studies Review. He is the editor of :  Everyday Life Practices of Muslims in Europe, Leuven University Press,  Europe’s New Multicultural Identities, Leuven University Press, (co-edited with J. Leman and I. M. Sezgin) ; Société Civil, Démocratie et Islam: Perspectives du Mouvement GülenParis: L'Harmattan ; and Modern Islamic Thinking and Islamic Activism ( co-edited with J. Leman), Leuven University Press.

A Spiritual and Dialogic Approach to the Education of Moral Values

Dr Fatih Isik

This study offers an interdisciplinary analysis of the theory of moral character education in the work of the Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen. It concludes that Gülen suggests a model of morality and moral education balancing spirituality, virtues, identity development and plurality. He develops a theory of morality hinged upon an ontological imperative of responsibility. His perspective leads to a holistic approach to moral development and education, welcoming plurality and critical engagement. It leads to a pedagogy, which is essentially dialogic and communitarian, centred on a distinctive view of role modelling.

Dr. Fatih Isik obtained his BA and MA degrees in English Teacher Education from BilkentUniversity. Fatih has completed his PhD at LeedsBeckettUniversity. Fatih’s areas of interest include moral character education, social and moral development and citizenship.


Ian Mason

This paper examines the meaning and place of natural law theories in contemporary economics and the ethical dimension that they bring to economics. The idea of natural law has produced different theories in different ages but they have in common an understanding that ours is a lawful universe in which actions have predictable consequences. The paper argues that this understanding should have a central place in contemporary economics so that the consequences of economic actions can be properly understood and that understanding applied in the interests of both the natural environment and the human presence within it.

Ian Mason is a practising barrister and is Principal of the School of Economic Science, UK. He is the author of One World, One Wealth, a collection of lectures on Economics-with-Justice and writes and lectures frequently on ethical economics and Earth Jurisprudence including a recent contribution to a United Nations seminar on Harmony with Nature. He sees both Economics and Earth Jurisprudence as the natural and inevitable expression of a philosophic understanding of the unity of life with profound implications for human life and development.

Friday 2 September

How can schools inspire a new generation to live according to the highest human values?’

Laura Hyde

It has always been a central function of education to provide for the development of the best characteristics of our human nature and to realise what it really means to live well. Education has a dual responsibility to provide the circumstances in which the individual might begin to realise his or her true potential whilst also preparing the next generation to make a significant contribution to the welfare of society as a whole. The circumstances which young people face in the world today are extremely challenging: if they are to have the inner strength, vision, and wisdom to meet them well, education will need to equip them with something far more substantial than is commonly the case. How may this be done?

Laura Hyde will consider the key principles and challenges which lie at the heart of this essential aspect of education. During this talk she will draw upon her 20 years of leadership as a headteacher as well as her present roles as Director of Education for St James Schools UK and as a consultant in Educational Development in the wider field of education.

Laura Hyde is an experienced educator who is deeply committed to the development of the spiritual and moral aspects of learning in the education system.   She is currently Director of Education of the four St James Schools and before that was for 19 years Head of St James Senior Girls’ School in London. She has a Masters Degree in educational leadership.



“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them WHAT COUNTS, is best.”  - Bob Talbert

Authoritative international research shows that values education:

  • is essential to effective schooling

  • positively impacts all the important educational measures

  • is a worldwide, contemporary phenomenon

  • fits well with updated brain and pedagogical research, and

  • is a means to holistic student and teacher wellbeing.

Values Literacy – The concept of VALUES LITERACY could be considered as individuals' understanding and knowledge about a wide spectrum of values and their ability to choose and skilfully apply appropriate values within different contexts in real-life situations.

Using V-A-L-U-E-S to convey their importance and significance, for example:

* V – VISION – for individuals, collective entities, the world; foresight

* A – ATTITUDE –positive and negative effects; ability to hold emotions in check

* L – LOVE – connecting with people; setting them up for success; good listening

* U – UNDERSTANDING –people’s motivation, goals, ambitions; compassion

* E – EDUCATION – holistic, whole-person development; lifelong learning

* S – SERVICE – giving time, talents, experience etc to make positive differences

Considerations about leadership and associated necessary values can help prepare young people for the real world.  Exploration could centre around these four scenarios and three domains (personal, internal and external):

* LEADING SELF – know thyself; internal development; external expression

* LEADING OTHERS – individuals; personal development; external engagement

* LEADING ORGANISATIONS – members; internal culture; external interactions

* LEADING SOCIETY – members; internal characteristics; external practices

A values-based approach to the education of children and young people matters because it draws out the best in them, laying the foundations for lifelong learning, uncovering their strengths and weaknesses, continuously leveraging their skills and knowledge so that they can maximise their potential, fully flourish and capitalise on their passion, interests, ambitions and talents to find a purpose in life, happiness and fulfilment.

Rosemary Dewan is the CEO of the Human Values Foundation which promotes the importance of teaching human values in schools. Since 1995 it has been providing practical, cross-curricular programmes for personal development and behaviour management, integrating SMSC, PSHE education, Citizenship, PLTS and SEAL. Rosemary:

  • Left school aged 17 and then spent a year on Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) teaching in the Solomon Islands

  • BSc in Mathematics with Computer Science, University of Bristol, UK

  • Technical Author – wrote manuals on how to use computer systems

  • Chartered Secretary – Assistant Company Secretary of Reed Elsevier plc

  • General Manager of a start-up company in the Health Insurance sector

  • Secretary of the Human Values Foundation since it was established in 1995

  • Appointed CEO of the Human Values Foundation in May 2009



“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same, but you leave 'em all over everything you do.”Elvis Presley

Professor Kamran Mofid (Chair): Founder of the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative, Co-founder/Editor, GCGI Journal.

Simon Lamb: in the aftermath of the financial crash in 2009 Simon was appointed Group Head of Culture and Values programme at HSBC where for 6 years he delivered this bank-wide programme to drive cultural change through values-led leadership. His experience of the practical issues involved in cultural change includes work at the BBC, Capgemini and Barclays Bank. Currently he is CEO of the corporate consultancy Purposeful Change.

Laura Hyde: Laura is an experienced educator who is deeply committed to the development of the spiritual and moral aspects of learning in the education system.   She is currently Director of Education of the four St James Schools and before that was for 19 years Head of St James Senior Girls’ School in London. She has a Masters Degree in educational leadership.

Alan Williams: Alan enjoyed senior leadership roles in the hospitality sector with InterContinental Hotels and Whitbread before founding his company ServiceBrand Global. He coaches service sector organisations, internationally and in the UK, to deliver inspiring service for competitive advantage. He created the award winning 31Practices approach to translate stated organisational values into the practical day to day behaviour of employees and his co-authored book about this has received critical acclaim internationally.

Charles Fowler: Charles was for over 30 years involved in asset management, investment banking and private equity. He had a ring-side seat to watch the enormous cultural transformation of the City of London that followed the “Big Bang” globalisation of the financial sector in the 1980s, first as co- Chair of one of one of the City’s oldest investment houses, John Govett & Co., and then heading up his own investment boutique. He chairs the Human Values Foundation and is helping to organise of the first international World Values Day on 20 October 2016.

A survey carried out across the UK in October 2013 (UK National and Community Values Assessment carried out by Barrett Values Centre in consultation with the ONS) compared the values held by individuals and those they perceive in the country they live in, and found that while top personal values tended to be positive ones like “caring”, “family” and “honesty”, the most prominent values they perceived in the country included such dismal values as “crime/violence”,  “corruption”, and “blame”. 

Surely the only explanation for this must be that most people are for some reason failing to practice the values they claim to hold dear.   This panel discussion between practitioners who have experienced the practice of values in a wide spectrum of practical environments, will aim to identify some of the reasons that may lie behind this failure and identify some practical remedies.

The Globalization of Religions: for the Common Good?

Marcus Braybrooke

Many prophetic figures have said that as the world becomes increasingly one, so we need a world faith. This I suggest is happening, although a globalization of idolatrous terror. Cantwell Smith insisted that ‘we have all along been participants in the world history of religions’ and that through the centuries religions have interacted. Today more than ever we should start from ‘the unity or coherence of humankind’s religious history.’  This I tried to illustrate in my Beacons of Light – picturing the spiritual history of humankind as a great river moving forward and enriching  the present with what is carried forward from the past and opening up new vistas for the future.’

This is happening for several reasons:    

1- Human migration, with the result that many more countries are multi-religious. 

2- The work of scholars who have translated the scriptures into many languages and widespread teaching about world religions

3- Modern communications, which mean the teachings of holy people of different centuries and faiths are readily accessible

4- Travel

5- More importantly as the world faiths respond to the changing world they come closer together, as W Hocking prophesied would happen.  For example, religions compete to be the most environmentally conscious

6- The growth of the interfaith movement and growing interfaith co-operation on major issues that confront the world: violence, war, poverty, human rights, and the environment.

The visionaries who dream of an emerging world faith, however, do not start from the differences or the problems of the world, but from experience of a mystical sense of the Oneness of all life in the divine.

This leads to the recognition that religions are pathways leading to the Divine and the nearer we come to the Holy One, the less our differences matter. ‘The religion of love is the message of all religions’ said the mystic Rumi and in the vision of the holy city at the end of the Bible there is no temple because the Lord God Almighty is the temple.

This vision is also the deepest source of our values and motivation to w0rk for a better world and the common good. As Thomas Merton, said, he was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that he loved all people. ‘If only we could see each other (as we really are) all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed.”

Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke is a retired Anglican parish priest. He has been involved in interfaith work for nearly fifty years. He joined the World Congress of Faiths in 1964 and is now president. He served as executive director of the Council of Christians and Jews from 1984 to 1988, is a co-founder of the Three Faiths Forum and patron of the International Interfaith Centre at Oxford. He has travelled widely to attend interfaith conferences and to lecture. Rev. Braybrooke is author of over forty books on world religions, including Pilgrimage of Hope: One Hundred Years of Global Interfaith Dialogue (1992), the history of the interfaith movement’s first century, and Promoting the Common Good (with Kamran Mofid). A number of his books address shared worship, prayer, and meditation. In September 2004 the Archbishop of Canterbury awarded him with the Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity “in recognition of his contribution to the development of interreligious cooperation and understanding throughout the world.”

Globalisation and Values: A Sikh Perspective

Bhai Sahib Bhai (Dr) Mohinder Singh

After more than two decades of intense globalisation that has radically altered our political, economic social and cultural landscape, the concept continues to evoke passionate responses.  There is little doubt that globalisation is controversial.  There is a clear demarcation between those that see benefits from freer trade, freedom of movement of peoples and goods, the growth of global institutions and those who see threats such as social cohesion and the erosion of domestic cultures.

In the contemporary period, where the EU lurches between financial meltdowns in some of its key economies to facing a refugee crisis that it appears unable to control, British politics itself is unquestionably divided over the benefits of unfettered globalisation.  David Cameron might well have tolerated UKIP to a certain extent.  However, when Euroscepticism was threatening the Conservatives electoral chances, he had little choice but to move to try and restore order through the option of holding a referendum.  It is only by understanding the way in which the power of rhetoric is deployed in politics and the media that it is possible to see how a certain hegemonic conception of identity is asserted.  To counter the possible backlash of UKIP voters, the EU or Brexit referendum seeks to solve real political, economic, social and cultural issues through a populism that fundamentally makes the UK vulnerable.

Regardless of the outcome of the Brexit referendum the politics and culture of fear that has become resonant with migration needs to be countered.  Our diverse populations need to be made aware of a reservoir of knowledge systems that can be marshalled for the common good.  Globalisation must be harnessed to foster alternative perspectives through the embracing of values that can demonstrate that social, political, economic and cultural goals can be achieved without resorting to xenophobia and a fear of the other.  Globalisation for the common good must be able to demonstrate how it can influence the values of citizens so that they can internalise a positive outlook towards others who are different.  In other words, it must be at the forefront of accepting and loving diversity in its fullest sense including all of Creation. In addition, through the education of values globalisation for the common good must engender a culture that allows people to see how their lives can be enriched through interacting freely with others who are different, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, race, nationality and religion.

This paper will draw upon a Sikh perspective demonstrating how such a world view can be achieved through peaceful co-existence in a flourishing world. It will explore the resources that we draw upon to develop concepts, values, approaches to do so by looking at the rich heritage of teachings and life example of the Gurus.  In particular, it will elaborate on one of the Sikh faiths key tenents, ‘Sarbat da bhalla’ – welfare for all.

Bhai Sahib Bhai (Dr) Mohinder Singh Ji currently leads the Sikh community Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) as chairman and spiritual successor to the founding Saints, and over the years has frequently been a central participant in Amrit Sanchar initiation ceremonies. Under his leadership GNNSJ has become more active in relief and development work and interfaith dialogue; Singh Ji has personally participated in numerous interfaith dialogue events, including the 2004 Parliament of the World's Religions. Trained as a civil and structural engineer, he worked in Zambia for many years as part of the United Kingdom's Overseas Development Administration before retiring in 1989 to devote himself to full-time work with the Sikh community. For his services to religious faith propagation, community service, education and research, Bhai Sahib was awarded a PhD Honoris Causia from the University of Central England in 2002, and another Honorary Doctorate in 2006 from the University of Birmingham. In April 2012, Bhai Sahib became the first Sikh to receive a Papal Knighthood of St Gregory the Great in recognition of his dedicated work for Roman Catholic – Sikh relations and for his enthusiastic commitment to working for peace among people of all faiths.

Storytelling for the Common Good

Our Storytellers and their Stories

(Only names, short bios and the titles provided, so as not to spoil the stories)

Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke and Mary Braybrooke: “Cared for at Cape Comorin. Your Prayers have given me hope. Taking Bullets to South Korea

Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke, See above

Mary Braybrooke, retired medical social worker, Oxford, UK

Bishop Domen Kocevar: “Universal Value of One Humanity and its Anchoring in the World: My Story to tell”

Domen Kocevar Studied Sociology and Theology at the University of Maribor. Momentarly working on PHD  thesis ONE HUMANITY. Being a founder and director of THEOSOPHICAL LIBRARY OF ALMA.M.KARLIN in with more than 11.000 monographs on all religions, spiritual paths, philosophy, sociology, new science, economy,  and community living approaches. Many years a liberal and adogmatic Mason, Bishop in Liberal Catholic tradition, researcher of perennial wisdom, started studying Western Esotericism in University of Exter and switched to  finish at the University in Slovenia. At the moment founding an Institute for local and global suport of activities towards recognizing the One Humanity and the qualities and values coming from that recognition.

Brigitte Volz: “German Women’s Thread of Life”

Brigitte Volz was born in Ulm, Germany in 1955. She has about 40 years pedagogic and therapeutic experience in Germany and France with children and teenagers having special needs. This involved leading a school for children who are mentally retarded, training of teachers, organizational development and team coaching. Focus areas included “Learning and Creating” as well as “Art and Handicap”.

For some years she continued this in Paris as volunteer for various organizations:
• Curating exhibitions of artists with special needs
• Offering paint workshops for children and teenagers who had lived homeless
• French-german team working on the subject "Access to art and media for people having special needs"

• Participation in international projects on the topic "Art and Handicap"
• Education in "Work at the Clayfield", adding to the existing certificates in Pedagogy for Special Needs, Gestalt Therapy, Mediation, Alternative Practitioner/Psychotherapist
She started a second career as artist. See details of her work and exhibitions

Hugh Venables: “Education Renaissance Trust: Our Story”

Hugh Venables has a BSc in Sociology from the University of London, and an MBA from Cranfield School of Management. He is currently Administrator of the Education Renaissance Trust, an educational charity. He has worked in the charity sector since 1990, including for the Prince of Wales’s Business Leaders Forum, the research and public education NGO Saferworld, and the international development charity ActionAid. Before 1990 he worked for 20 years in the oil industry.  He is also a Trustee of The School of Economic Science and a Governor of St James Independent Schools, London.

Shahriar Ashrafkhorasani: “From Tehran to Oxford: A Personal Exploration of Truth and Love with Fear and Trembling”

ShahriarAshrafkhorasani is a Masters Candidate at the University of Oxford and  the Organiser, Oxford Open Discussion Network.

Saturday 3 September  

Economics, Spirituality, and Values: What Economics and GDP Leave out is ALL that Really Matters

Prof. Steve Szeghi

The purpose of this paper is too lay out what Standard Economics leaves out and fails to consider.  These are also what GDP fails to count or fully value. What truly matters for the sake of human happiness, relationships, and ultimately spirituality is too often neglected and so the spirit is malnourished or even twisted.  Economics doesn’t fully value nature or ecology. It does not give full value to the other, other people, and other species. The beauty and magic of realizing that he or she is another person provides the spark that forms the basis of ethics and justice and also the respect and reverence that form the basis of relationships.

GDP and Economic Analysis, in general, do not fully value our relationship with others or with the rest of the natural world; nor do they properly value community, communication, bonding with others, belonging, and union.  Spirituality is born, nurtured, maintained, and developed in all that Economics and “the economy” typically fails to consider and properly value. This paper will consider what this author has termed the seven deadly sins of economics and show how we so desperately need what GDP leaves out.  What is left out is all that really matters.

Prof. Steven Szeghi is a GCGI Senior Ambassador, Co-founder/editor, GCGI Journal,  is a Professor of Economics at WilmingtonCollege in the USA, since 1987.  In 2009 He co-authored with Peter Brown, Geoffrey Garver, Keith Helmuth, and Robert Howell, Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy.   Szeghi’s article, Lessons in Sustainable Development on the Navajo Nation, appeared in the 18th Journal for Economics and Politics.  He is today an international speaker and author on many topics including social justice, ecological economics, primers in economics for social activists, and the economies of indigenous and aboriginal peoples as alternative economic systems.

The Ethical Entrepreneur 

Paul Palmarozza

The presentation will look at important role of the entrepreneur in our society today and describe a values based approach to business that is recommended as the most effective way to accomplish business goals while creatively serving important needs.

 The outline of the talk is as follows:

The Role of the Entrepreneur in Society - highlighting the stages of an entrepreneurial venture, from an initial idea to a scalable business. Attention will be given to the specific challenges facing those engaged in what is called Social Entrepreneuring.

The Situation Today in Society - highlighting the growing lack of public trust in many large established businesses, rapid changes in technology and the growing needs in developing countries.

A Good Business - highlighting the importance of Ethics/Principles/Values in making the right decisions. A mindfulness based decision making process will be offered and video scenarios shown to highlight the difference between decisions made to maximise personal benefit versus decisions that are Ethical & Effective.

A Values Based Approach to Business - highlighting the key values for an entrepreneur. The Values app, If I can, will be used to present the key values, along with wise words from sources; past and present, from the east and west about the benefits for all in working according to values common to us all.

Paul  Palmarozza  has served in management positions for 48 of his 52 year work career; initially employed by a global corporate, then as a self-employed consultant and in 1987 founded a UK based e-learning company which became listed on the AIM Stock Exchange in 2001. He then co- founded, with Chris Rees, Principled Business, providing drama based ethics training and with Chris co-authored From Principles to Profit.  He also published If I can - Timeless Values for Today and In Praise of Silence. In 2013 he founded If I can…CIC which offers a free Mindfulness Values App for schools and business.


Richard Garry

In order to understand natural laws, realise man’s potential and help humanity, a system of ethical values needs to be understood and cultivated.

They are a set of universal behavioural ideals that reflect natural human law and allow happy and harmonious life. Natural laws need to be appreciated and followed.  The more this materialises, the greater the understanding of virtue and goodness. Living in harmony with these standards allows one be in harmony with oneself (loving thyself). Living within these laws can be sustained; breaking them cannot. 

The consequence of action is not always obvious; there needs to be understanding.

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy might”. How can this be practical – to love a being one does not know and never sees?

“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”, means, in part, conduct towards others based on reasonable expectation of how others should behave towards us.  Not living according to these values causes problems for those in receipt of the act, and also conflict within, in the knowledge that we don't want it done to us. 

TRUTH        Not lying and being honest with oneself; not speaking at variance with one’s thoughts and deeds.  Not pretending to have things, achievements or qualities that one does not possess. To pursue truth continually and actively. Spiritual work, e.g.  meditation.

LOVING ATTITUDE       Patience is not being affected when injured.  This applies to things one cannot change; it presupposes discrimination between what one can change and what one can’t.   We can only be forgiven if we forgive; we can only forgive properly if we reflect on our own shortcomings.  Accepting anything beyond one’s control is an act of love, particularly oneself.  This is one way of understanding: “Love thy neighbour as thyself”.  Returning fine behaviour for coarse. Action with a proper attitude to meet a need.  Giving financially or time and care where practical.

RESTRAINT          Restraint of excessive desire or aversion, greed and anger.  “Nothing in excess”.  Dispassion towards pleasure or possessions.  To steal is to take something not given with pleasure or to take more than one needs - ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’.     One’s neighbour includes humanity. Fairness in one’s dealings and equitable temperament. Wishing no harm to others.  Consistent application to any activity.

PURITY       Cleanliness of body, clothes and environment.; clean mind and reasoning and purity of emotions.  Avoiding criticism (“evil be to him who evil thinks”). Giving that very thing which one thinks one lacks.  Where practical, to put right any wrong.  Feelings such as envy, greed, jealousy, hatred, anger, obsessive desire are susceptible to treatment by reason, opposite thinking or prayer.


PRAYERFULNESS          Prayer is a freely performed action which must have a result.  Prayer is a complete surrender of oneself; it must have love behind it to make it meaningful.  Prayer has the potential to transform an obstacle into something that might be overcome. 

Richard Garry has loved philosophy ever since he can remember. At University (civil engineering), he began to read academic philosophy including Bertrand Russell. After returning to London with many more questions, he became friendly with a number of Jewish scholars and rabbis in London.  In 1974 he started study at the School of Economic Science, did their three-year Economics course and also took part in the Philosophy course running from then until now. This embraces meditation and various other studies, including the Bible, Sanskrit scriptures and language, Shakespeare and Plato. 

Stakeholder vs shareholder approaches to company purpose and identity: a comparison of firms’ financial performance

Dr. Gherardo Girardi

There is a considerable divide in corporate objectives between the shareholder approach, whereby a company’s goal is to benefit the shareholders, and the stakeholder approach, whereby a company’s goal is to benefit all stakeholders, including shareholders, managers and workers, but also possibly customers, suppliers, the local community, etc. In this talk we consider the growing evidence that the stakeholder approach to corporate mission performs at least as well as the shareholder approach. We look at evidence about profits, productivity, employee turnover, shareholder returns and firms’ access to finance.

Considering that the stakeholder approach would appear to outperform the shareholder approach in other respects, for example in terms of employee satisfaction and corporate contribution to society, the non-superiority of the shareholder leaves the shareholder approach with little justification as an economy-wide model for corporations to follow. Given the intimate link between the shareholder approach and the current, largely capitalist economic system, this in turn implies that the justification for the current system is rather weak.

Dr. Gherardo Girardi is senior lecturer in economics at London Metropolitan University and senior visiting fellow at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Gherardo has publications in industrial economics, climate change and pedagogy, among other areas. He has a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics and an MA in teaching and learning in higher education from London Metropolitan University. Prior to being an academic, he worked as an equity derivatives analyst at Schroders Securities.

How do we resolve matters when our personal ethics focussed on ‘the common good’ clash with national and commercial law?

What values would you apply in working through the ethical and moral dilemmas if you had Robin’s capabilities?

John Hough  

This is the dilemma facing my modern-day Robin Hood in my novel The Loxley Trust. Robin believes that no-one [individual or corporation] should be allowed to profit from violent conflict. Robin recognises that ‘arms’ are not the cause of violent conflict; but the supply of arms does determine the sustainability, the level of devastation and the level of human misery resulting from violent conflict. The United Nations recognises this and has passed resolutions banning the use of certain types of weapons; yet these resolutions are flouted by permanent members of The UN Security Council. At the same time, huge profits are made by those involved in the manufacture and supply of arms. The scale of these profits provide an incentive for some to promote fear and insecurity around the world, and in some cases to provoke violent action.

My proposal is to take you into the mind of Robin Hood as he addresses the United Nations General Assembly – the choice is theirs – the choice is yours. Robin and his associates have the capability, without the use of violence, to take from those who profit from the sale and supply of arms and to support the victims of conflict, to help bring the antagonists to the negotiating table. But, he will be breaking one of the most ancient of human laws: ‘Thou shalt not steal’.

John Hough is passionate about international and social justice. Looking to engage a wide audience he has published two provocative political thrillers: ‘Integrity’ and ‘The Loxley Trust’. John graduated with Honours [Mathematics and Philosophy] from Manchester University in 1964 and followed a professional career in Information Systems here in the UK and in Australia. Appalled at Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and outraged at the Australian Prime Minister’s misleading the people about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein [confirmed in the Chilcot report], John turned to writing on international justice and the violation of UN arms trade agreements.

Sir Anthony Seldon- The 4th Recipient of the GCGI Award for Public Service in the Interest of the Common Good

Sir Anthony Seldon MA, PhD, FRSA, MBA, FRHisS

Anthony Seldon is a leading authority on contemporary British history and education and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham. He was formerly Master of Wellington College, one of the world's most famous independent schools. He is author or editor of over 40 books on contemporary history, politics and education and is the author on, and honorary historical advisor to, Downing Street.

After gaining an MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Worcester College, Oxford, and a PhD at the London School of Economics, he qualified as a teacher at King's College, London, where he was awarded the top PGCE prize in his year.

In 1993, he was appointed Deputy Headmaster and, ultimately, Acting Headmaster of St Dunstan's College in South London. He then became Headmaster of Brighton College from September 1997 until he joined Wellington College in January 2006 as 13th Master. He left Wellington College in summer 2015 to become Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, the only independent university in the UK with a Royal Charter.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and King's College London. He was knighted in the Queen's 2014 Birthday Honours list for services to education and modern political history. He founded the Sunday Times (now Telegraph) Festival of Education and most recently the Festival of Higher Education, and is widely known for introducing and promoting happiness, wellbeing and mindfulness across education.

He founded, with Professor Lord Peter Hennessy, the Institute of Contemporary British History, the internationally renowned body whose aim is to promote research into, and the study of, British history since 1945.

He founded Action for Happiness with Professor Lord Richard Layard and Geoff Mulgan. He is governor of several bodies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, and is Chair of The Comment Awards.

Some of Anthony Seldon's books include:

Churchill's Indian Summer, which won a Best First Work Prize; Major, A Political Life, the authorised biography of the former Prime Minister; Conservative Century, the standard academic history of the Conservative Party; The Powers Behind the Prime Minister, co-written with Professor Dennis Kavanagh; Number 10: The Illustrated History, which he is currently updating for publication in 2016; The Foreign Office: A History of the Place and its People; Blair and Blair Unbound, his acclaimed two-part biography of the former Prime Minister; three volumes of edited books on the Blair governments; Trust: How We Lost it and How to Get it Back; Brown at 10, with Guy Lodge; The Great War and Public Schools, with David Walsh; and The Architecture of Diplomacy: The British Ambassador's Residence in Washington, written with Daniel Collings. In March 2015 his new books, Beyond Happiness and The Coalition Effect 2010-2015, co-authored with Dr Mike Finn, were published. His latest political history, the authorised study Cameron at 10 with Peter Snowdon, was published in September 2015. The book is the inside story of the Cameron premiership, based on over 400 in-depth interviews with senior figures in 10 Downing Street, including the Prime Minister himself. He has also been historical consultant on the memoirs of several former Prime Ministers and Foreign Secretaries.

Sir Anthony is regarded as one of the country's most authoritative high profile commentators on contemporary history and on education and appears regularly on television and radio and in the press, and writes for several national newspapers. His views have regularly been sought by the government and political parties.

He is married to Joanna, who also teaches and writes, and they have three children, Jessica, Susannah and Adam. According to 'Who's Who, his interests are sport, directing plays, family and old English sports cars.

Sunday 4 September

Rumi and his many ways of speaking: theMasnaviand the lyric poems

Prof. Alan Williams

I shall discuss the many voices in which Rumi wrote, from his quatrains and ghazals to his whole epic-length mystical master-work, his six-volumeMasnavi. I shall read from my own metrcal transations from the Persian, and illustrate it with manuscript paintings and illuminations.

Professor Alan Williamsis Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Religion at the University of Manchester, British Academy Wolfson Research Professor (2013-2016) and Leverhulme Major Research Fellow (2016-2019). He is working on a project ‘The Realisation of Rumi’sMasnavi’to produce a parallel text metrical translation of Rumi’s six-volume masterpiece. He  has taught at the Universities of Sussex, SOAS London and, for over 30 years, at the University of Manchester. He has published books in Ancient, Classical and Modern Iranian Studies, includingSpiritual Verses(Penguin Classics, 2006) andThe Zoroastrian Myth of Migration…(Brill, 2009), and most recentlyThe Zoroastrian Flame(I.B.Tauris, 2016). He has also written on historical, sociological and anthropological themes in religion and literature, as well as on translation studies. He is currently Director of the Medieval Research Programme of the British Institute of Persian Studies.

The view from the Artist’s palette/palate: a narrative ofWomen’s Lifeas visualisations across cultures

Dr Aida Foroutan

In an illustrated talk about my series of 28 paintings,Women’s Life, I shall venture to discuss what I am trying to say in my paintings (something I rarely do! – which is why I am a painter not a novelist). I work on cosmopolitan and universal themes – the life of women between cultures. It is neither purely autobiographical nor narrowly feminist in approach, but reflects the cycle of life from birth to death and the future, crossing cultures.

Dr Aida Foroutan is an artist and academic art historian, who was born in Tehran in 1976 and lived through the Iranian Revolution, the 8-year long Iran-Iraq war. In Iran she trained as an artist and has a degree in Industrial Design. In 2000 she migrated to Sweden to start a new life, and moved to the UK in 2007 to complete a Masters (2008) and a Doctorate (2013). She is preparing her doctoral thesis  for publication asThe Reception of Surrealism in Iran, and has recently published an article inIranian Studieson this subject.

The Story of An Iranian Woman Studying at an American College in Tehran (1974-1978)

Mansoureh Sharifzadeh
“Be an opener of doors”
 ― Ralf Waldo Emerson

During 1974- 1978, studying at the unique American woman college in Tehran began a new era in the life of a girl who came from a religious and traditional family. It was a great leap for her to be permitted to learn the international language taught by a nation who seemed to be from another planet.

Getting familiar with the cultural notional values of one of the three great powers of the world was both sobering and thrilling for her.  The girl had completed almost all her schooling years (1962-1974) at public schools except for the last three years of High school. Mutual respect and encouragement which were absent from the Iranian educational system, fascinated and motivated her to study English Literature with more self-reliance and interest.

The anti US political atmosphere of Iran was dominant in all spheres of the Iranian lives. Struggling with the family beliefs was another tender story. From her family point of view studying at a woman college was the only positive aspect of Damavand College. O’Shea (2000: 101) maintains that for Iranians “Aberu or honour, is a powerful social force.”

Nevertheless, she experienced her first International trips to England and France in 1976 and 1978. Those trips brought newer insights to a typical Iranian girl. With the victory of the Iranian revolution in 1979, the atmosphere changed and she got married with the old beliefs and ideas and the only thing that remained for her was the memory of good days of Damavand college that made her teach at high schools and transfer the sense of self reliance to the younger generations.

In 2000, when she heard about the internet, she decided to learn working with the computer to find her former professors at Damavand College. Being in contact with different people especially Professor D. Ray Heisey who taught her a lot and opened many closed doors and left her to push them wide open to come to a better understanding about the world and people around was another giant leap for her.

Participating in one of his projects and being mentioned as the second author, encouraged her to do more independent researches. After his death in 2011, she connected with an old friend of his and became the second author in FINDING CROSS CULTURAL COMMON GROUND with Michael H. Prosser and Zhang Shengyoung published by Dignity Press in 2013. Then she came to think more independently and write more papers and participate in International conferences and finally writing AN IRANIAN WOMAN’S JOURNEY FROM SELF TO GLOBAL AWARENESS (In press, 2016 by Dignity Press).

Life and struggle is still continuing with much more obligations but the correct path that was introduced to her has been giving shape to all her activities and thoughts.

Mansoureh Sharifzadeh  has been an English language teacher at the pre-university centers of Tehran from 1978 to 2010. She is an independent scholar and an author of different published articles both in Persian and English. She has translated a selection of books and articles form English to Persian. Her latest co-edited book with Michael H. Prosser and Zhang Shengyong, Finding Cross Cultural Common Ground, was published in 2013 by Dignity Press. Her forthcoming book, An Iranian Woman's Journey from Self to Global Awareness, is due for publication by Dignity press in 2016.In 2004, she was awarded by Seyyed Mohammad Khatami for the translation ofLots More Tell Me Why(Dean Publishing Co., 1991).Her main interest is world peace and reconciliation amongst nations and peoples.  Her re-connection with the president of Damavand College, late Professor D. Ray Heisey in 2008, caused her to face fundamental changes in her perspective about global communication and academic writings. She has a B.A. in English literature from Damavand College in 1978. She has recently established Wikipages for Damavand College and its faculty.   

Moderators with no formal paper presentations:

Kerim Balci is the Editor-in-Chief of Turkish Review, a bimonthly journal published by Zaman Media Group of Turkey. Balci is a frequent columnist in Today’s Zaman and Zaman dailies, both the largest circulating newspapers in their boulevards, and correspondents to several local and international TV channels on issues related to the Middle East.

Apart from his professional job in journalism, Balci works with interfaith dialogue groups in Europe to promote multiculturalism in Europe. He served as the President of the London based Dialogue Society for two and a half years before his current assignment in Istanbul. He has edited a book named Whose War? in Turkish dealing with the Iraqi War and published an album called Ottoman Jerusalem in Photographs (IRCICA, Istanbul, 2009, Published in Turkish, English and Arabic.) and another album with modern photographs of the city called Kutsallığın Başkenti Kudüs [Jerusalem: Capital of Sanctity](TİMAŞ, Istanbul, 2011). Balcı published several articles in academic and popular books and encyclopedias, mainly about the Middle East, Turkish Politics, US Policy in the Middle East, and interfaith dialogue.

Kerim Balci studied Physics and Political Science and International Relations in the Bosporus University of Turkey. He has an MA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the city where he served as the representative of Zaman Turkish Daily for eight years. Balci is currently a PhD candidate at the Durham University of the UK on linguistic philosophy.

Dr Peter Bowman is Head of Economics at the School of Economic Science, a centre for spiritual and practical knowledge and enquiry based in London where he has studied for over thirty years. He is also a director of the Henry George Foundation and Vice Chairman of the Coalition for Economic Justice.  His formal education is in physical science; he gained a doctorate in organic chemistry at Oriel College Oxford, spent many years teaching in secondary education and is now Science Coordinator for the Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate in Science & Engineering at Centre for Language & International Education, UCL.

Ann Hallock is a retired psychotherapist and former professor of behavioral medicine at Michigan State University, East Lansing MI, USA. 

Peter Holland, an honours engineering graduate with an economics subsidiary, Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and life-long economics student at the School of Economic Science. Ended  many years in  major corporations in the telecoms industry as a Vice President in Nortel Networks, then helped a start –up company from infancy to prosperity, now an independent consultant and responsible for economics events at the School of Economic Science. Recent Papers given include: Europe, Locational Advantage and the Euro, One World One Wealth –Is there enough? A Fair System of Public Revenue, Industry Counts-the Current Situation, Economics for the Common Good-Happiness and Economics, Energy Counts-What Should We Do? Land Matters-Better Livelihoods for Poor People.

Prof.Kamran Mofidis Founder of the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI- founded at an international conference in Oxford in 2002), Co-founder/Editor, GCGI Journal, which is hosted at Wilmington College, Ohio, USA, a Patron of the Human Values Foundation, amember of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of the World Public Forum, Dialogue of Civilisations, a Founding member of World Dignity University, and a TFF Associate.Mofid received his BA and MA in economics from the University of Windsor, Canada in 1980 and 1982 respectively. In 1986 he was awarded his doctorate in economics from the University of Birmingham, UK. In 2001 he received a Certificate in Education in Pastoral Studies at Plater College, Oxford. Mofid's work is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on Economics, Business, Politics, International Relations, Theology, Culture, Ecology, Ethics and Spirituality. Mofid's writings have appeared in leading scholarly journals, popular magazines and newspapers. His books include Development Planning in Iran: From Monarchy to Islamic Republic , The Economic Consequences of the Gulf war, Globalisation for the Common Good, Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility and Globalisation for the Common Good , Promoting the Common Good (with Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke, 2005), and A non-Violent Path to Conflict Resolution and Peace Building (Co-authored, 2008). Prof. Mofid was the instigator, Co-founder and the Associate Director (1996-1999) of the Centre for the Study of Forgiveness and Reconciliation at Coventry University.

Anthony Werner  is a graduate of the Universities of Cape Town and Oxford and now managing director and Editor-in-Chief of Shepheard-Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd in London. Over the last thirty years he has built up the Ethical Economics list, www.ethicaleconomics.org.uk, a body of literature inspired by the work of Henry George. He is also a tutor in Economics at the School of Economic Science, London, UK.