Leadership Symposium in the United Nations,Geneva

Badakhshan province, Afghanistan
2nd July 2013

350 world leaders attend World Forum For Ethics in Business in Geneva,United Nations

Wider realization that we need to change the players if we are to change the game, was the major take-home of 'The International Leadership Symposium on Ethics in Business' held at the United Nations on Sunday. The event began with a very inspiring opening remarks by former Secretary General of United Nations, H.E Dr. Boutros Broutros Ghali. It was followed by practical wisdom on how human values and ethics can be fostered and grown in the world by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Global Humanitarian, Founder, The Art of Living.

More than 350 leaders from government, business, academia and the scientific community attended the day-long symposium organized by the International Association for Human Values, in partnership with the World Forum for Ethics in Business (WFEB), the Global Partnership Forum and the World Bank Institute.

“Ethics cannot be cosmetic. They have to be authentic. In moments of crisis we can gauge if ethics are genuine or cosmetic. If one can stick to ethical practices in tough times, I call that genuine,” said Gurudev while reminding the gathering that seed of ethics is already in all of us and we just need to cultivate and nurture it. Executive Director of UNITAID Dr. Denis Brown went a step further and added, "Ethical practices when ingrained can resist crises situations."

Echoing the sentiments of all speakers that it is time to take responsibility and push for ethical practices, First Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo said, “It is not enough to just complain, we must be a bridge, and we must win over people with love." Agreeing Christoph Glaser,Director, World Forum for Ethics in Business explained that, "It is really people, not policies who keep us from reaching our ethical goals, and if we want to change that then we need tools to transform mindsets and foster shared values,”

Bringing a scientific perspective to the discussions, CERN Director General Prof Rolf-Dieter Heuer explored how scientific research can play a key role in fostering shared values and ethics. “It can lead facilitate a level-playing field for excellence, positive competition and co-operations,” he said.

Alongside the insightful deliberations the symposium also crystallized concrete steps to promote ethical practices. The significant among them were the launch of online ethical leadership curriculum and Ambassador of Ethics Program by WFEB. The forum reiterated its priorities of building awareness, creating ethical leaders and changing the rule of the game by pushing for collective action for transparency. Educomp, one of the largest education companies in the world, also announced the launch of a new ethics e-learning platform in partnership with WFEB.

Other speakers included Néstor Osorio Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, President of ECOSOC, United Nations; Mr Navid Hanif Director office of ECOSOC; Mr Alexander Likhotal representative of Michael Gorbachev; Mr Micheal Izza CEO Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales; Mr Mark Floman, CEO British Venture Capital Association; Michel Sidibe, head of UNAIDS ; and H E Aloyz Peterle, Member of European Parliament.

As a symbol to mark the 10th anniversary of the symposium, Gurudev and Boutros Boutros Ghali inaugurated the conference by watering a plant together under the motto of 'Tree of Shared Values - Deeper Roots, Better Fruits!' Earlier in the build up to the WFEB sessions, Gurudev was received by Dr Boutros Boutros Ghali at UN on Saturday. 

Later Gurudev was also invited to speak at a dedicated town hall meeting of the staff of UNAIDS and WHO on the topic, 'Science, Spirituality and Health in the world of AIDS: Understanding the linkages.'