400 delegates, 25 ambassadors and MPs from various countries, corporate heads, and businessmen gathered at the European Parliament on November 19, 2010 and in a live telecast appealed to citizens across the globe to rise against increasing corruption in the world.
The event was conducted by The World Forum for Ethics in Business (WFEB), which is a sister organization of The Art of Living. Through its annual International Leadership Symposium on Ethics in Business, WFEB brings together global leaders to dialogue on the pressing need to strengthen human values and ethics in business.
“The basis of ethics is economy. You can’t have ethics in a society that is poor. The ethics is economy and the basis of economy is the state and the basis of state is civil society. We need to look at it as a circle. Now people are becoming more aware, thanks to the media. This is an opportunity for youngsters to wake up and see that you can be successful and follow ethics. You can make very good profits and be ethical,” said Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of the International Association for Human Values and The Art of Living and co-founder of WFEB.
The topic of 2010 Symposium was “Leadership in the 21st Century - Time for a Paradigm Shift!” The initiative was financed by the Government of Belgium and saw the adoption of a seven-point plan and charter, with delegates pledging to support the anti-corruption agenda, in a world that has seen an estimated $30 trillion loss due to corruption and rendered 25 million people jobless.
“We are here to leave this room having decided to act. We are here to have the paradigm shift. I am interested in the shift not in the time for the shift. The time to shift is now,” said Mr. Nirj Deva, the Vice-President of the Development Committee, European Parliament.
“We need to engage more governments and business and make better use of media,” declared Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, the Managing Director of the World Bank and expressed the bank’s willingness to be a key partner for some of the actions discussed at the Forum.
The Forum collectively adopted and pledged to:
Act to promote shared values and ethical leadership at the individual, organizational, sectoral and global levels.
Serve as models of ethical and socially responsible behavior to inspire current and future generations of leaders across business, civil society and government.
Mainstream corporate social responsibility into current business practices and education.
Sustain dialogue to build greater awareness across stakeholders and shareholders of the importance of ethics in business.
Share inspiring examples of the intersection of ethics and profitability to build wider public trust in business.
Engage and partner with key individuals, forums and initiatives to leverage our collective ability to deliver transformational impact.
Monitor and report on our progress at the 2011 World Forum for Ethics in Business.
The initiative also announced the winners of the Ethics in Business Award 2010. Andris Piebalgs, The European Commissioner for Development, was awarded in the category ‘Most Outstanding Public Figure for the Year 2010’. The award in the category ‘Outstanding Corporation’ was given to Mr. Miguel Veiga-Pestana, Vice-President, Global External Affairs at Unilever PLC and Outstanding individual; Mr. Dele Olojede, Managing Director, Timbuktu media and the 1st Pulitzer prize winner from Africa.
The participants in the World Youth Forum, traditionally held in the week before the Symposium, joined the top leaders at the European Parliament. This year the Forum gathered 25 young professionals, including acting leaders with impactful achievements and demonstrated social responsibility, from 10 countries.
The Symposium was first launched on the inspiration of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in 2003 in Bangalore, India, and the venue moved to the European Parliament in Brussels in 2006. Over the past seven years, political leaders, Nobel Laureates and top executives from global companies such as Shell International B.V., Microsoft Corporation, Coca Cola, Infosys, ING Bank, GMR Group, Daimler AG and Tata Services have participated in this annual initiative.