International Conference on Ethics & Business

Alabama, United States
8th November 2009

IAHV’s conference in the European Parliament in times of scams & hawala rackets

An eclectic mix of business, political and religious leaders gathered together at the European Parliament in Brussels on November 5th and 6th to attend the 2009 Conference on Ethics in Business: Corporate Culture Spirituality, at the annual International Business and Leadership Symposium. The two-day conference was hosted by the International Association for Human Values (IAHV). IAHV, a volunteer based, charitable NGO, dedicated to the development and promotion of human values in society, was founded by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Geneva in 1997. The 2009 Conference is the sixth to be held in the series and the fourth to be held at the European Parliament.

This year’s conference examined the means required to shape a sustainable future; and the role of human values and ethics as well as the need to reconsider leadership styles and strategies in the face of the ongoing global economic crisis.Attending the conference were eminent personalities such as Dr. Lalit Khaitan, Chairman and Managing Director, Radico Khaitan, Mr. Nirj Deva, Member of European Parliament, U.K., Dr. Jean Joseph Boillot, Co-Chairman Euro India Economic and Business Group, Professor Ruud Lubbers, Former PM The Netherlands; Earth Charter Commissioner, Mr. Jan Meuhfeit, Chairman Europe Microsoft Corporation, Mr. Guenter Verheugen, Vice-President European Commission-Commission for Enterprise and Industry, and Mr. Gopal Ramanathan, Global Head, Transaction Services, KPMG among others.

Speaking at the inaugural session, Mr. Nirj Deva also Chair of the Conference Advisory Committee spoke about rediscovering the virtue of responsibility.“If we cannot rise to this challenge of acting responsibly, a virtue so intimately linked with our human dignity, then our civilization is doomed and with it our ability to provide for the most vulnerable among us.”

In his speech, Mr. Lalit Khaitan remarked that ancient oriental philosophy which emphasizes the development of the individual and society has an answer to corporate failures caused by compromises on ethics and human values. Ethics cannot be just emotional reactions, but have to refer to reason and be linked to the ability to discern the truth.Reverend. Prof. Dr. Piotr Mazurkiewicz, Secretary General, Commission of the Bishops Conferences of the European Community highlighted the need for good ethics. He said,“Ethics needs anthropology. It needs to be linked to the question “who are we as human beings?” Good ethics is only possible through the conscious spiritual effort of human beings. For this we need education.”

IAHV presented the 2009 Ethics in Business Award to the Sungjoo Corporation from the Republic of Korea in the Outstanding Corporation category, for its exceptional commitment to social responsibility. It was received by its founder Mrs. Sung-Joo-Kim voted by Asiaweek as one of the seven most powerful women in Asia and by Wall Street Journal as one of the top 50 Women to Watch. Accepting the award she said,

“In Korea there is a widespread culture of bribing – I proved it is possible to do business ethically, without bribing. It made my business 10 times, sometimes 100 times more difficult, sometimes impossible, but I did not give up.”The Outstanding Individual award was conferred on Brigitte Mohn, member of the executive Board, Bertelsmann Foundation, for her exceptional work in health sector reforms as well as being a role model for ethical leadership.