Speakers & Abstracts

Speakers and abstracts

First day, 4/9/17

Welcome session

Yehuda Kahane – co – chairman of the conferenceYehuda-Kahane

  • Coller Business and the Porter School of Environmental Studies, Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • Chairperson of YKCenter for Prosperity and the New Economy


Laszlo Zsolnai – co – chairman of the conference   Zsolnai László

  • Business Ethics Center, Corvinus University of Budapest , Hungary
  • European SPES Institute, Leuven, Belgium


Ora Setter – organizer and member of the academic committee

ora setterOra Setter (PhD) – was, until few years ago the CEO and Academic Director of Lahav – the Executive Education Center in Tel Aviv University. She is  a lecturer at the social sciences faculty and the Coller Business School, Tel Aviv University, and in other academic institutes in Israel, teaching mainly organizational development and consulting. She was  the head of the practicum in the master’s degree in organizational consulting. She is also an Adjunct Professor at MDI, one of the best business schools in India. Dr. Setter was the chairwoman of Psycho-Dharma, a school for implementation of Buddhist psychology, where she teaches courses in Buddhism and management. She serves also as head of Ippa U, the organizational development association internal university. A senior consultant, to many leading companies in Israel, focusing on Organizational Development, Ora’s areas of expertise are change management, power and politics, knowledge management, and building and organizing training programs for organizations.
She is also a well known lecturer and writer, a painter and a photographer. She is serving as a mentor and supervisor to many OD consultants in Israel. Dr. Setter serves as board member of several organizations – both business companies and NGO’s. Her latest field of research and teaching is Spirituality in business and Managementתand she was a pioneer in building academic courses on spirituality and management. She is  the books review editor of JMSR.

Laszlo Zsolnai – co – chairman of the conference

  • Business Ethics Center, Corvinus University of Budapest , Hungary
  • European SPES Institute, Leuven, Belgium

Business Responsibility to Future Generations

Zsolnai LászlóIn today’s rapidly changing and interconnected world, numerous business decisions will have an impact on the fate and living standards of people yet to be born. Consequently, future generations have a stake in the present functioning of business. The imperative of responsibility suggests that business has a non-reciprocal duty to care for future human beings who will be affected by its operations. This fact induces a change in stakeholder theory and requires the reassessment of business decisions and policies. Businesses which want to last in the long term cannot avoid considering future generations as important stakeholders whose interests should be respected.

Accepting responsibility for future generations requires a transformation of business. Businesses should contribute to the conservation and restoration of nature, to the preservation of the culture of societies, and to the development of new technologies in order to respect the interest of future generations.

Expending financial and non-financial resources for the sake of future generations may seem to be rather idealistic. But caring for future generations need not only be done out of altruistic concern. A company’s efforts to improve the position of future generations will enhance the prospects of that company too. Maintaining and developing ecological, social, cultural and intellectual capital creates strength in business organizations. Businesses which seek to sustain themselves in the long term cannot avoid considering future generations to be important stakeholders whose interests should be defined and served.

Laszlo Zsolnai is professor and director of the Business Ethics Center at the Corvinus  University of Budapest. He is chairman of the Business Ethics Faculty Group of the CEMS – Global Alliance in Management Education. He is president of the European SPES Institute in Leuven, Belgium and Co-chair of the Future Earth Finance Knowledge and Action Network in Montreal. Laszlo Zsolnai’s recent books include The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business (2011. Houndmills, UK, New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan), Beyond Self: Ethical and Spiritual Dimensions of Economics (2014. Peter Lang Academic Publishers, Oxford), The Spiritual Dimension of Business Ethics and Sustainability Management (2015, Springer), Post-Materialistic Business: Spiritual Value-Orientation in Renewing Management (2015, Palgrave) and Ethical Leadership. Indian and European Spiritual Approaches (2016, Palgrave-Macmillan). His website: http://laszlo-zsolnai.net

Yehuda Kahane

  • Coller Business and the Porter School of Environmental Studies, Tel Aviv Univerity, Israel
  • Chairperson of YKCenter for Prosperity and the New Economy

The Metrics in a New Economy:  The B2T by 2020 Project

Yehuda-KahaneOver the humankind history, great thinkers and philosophers paid much attention to the basic principles that should guide the behavior between people and societies, and religion leaders had guided the relations between people and God. Most of them are emphasizing ethical and moral principles, mutuality, love (to other people, to God and to nature and the environment), etc.

Major technological waves were escorted by paradigm shifts and by new ways of thinking. The industrial revolution has been escorted and led mainly by the capitalistic philosophy that puts economic goals (wealth maximization) as the major target of all players. The alternative philosophy, socialism (and communism) emphasize equality, but socialism at its extreme form, did not succeed.

The basic assumption of capitalism is that all players are striving towards maximization of their wealth. This automatically generates, through what is known as “the invisible hand”, a set of equilibrium prices that leads to the automatic allocation (without interference of a central planner) of all resources, products and services. The theoretical beauty of capitalism is that the process is not just automatic, but it is supposed to lead to the (Pareto) OPTIMAL allocation of all resources, products and services. (However, in practice there are various conditions that are not fulfilled and the allocation is not optimal. The invisible hand is invisible because it is not there).

Capitalism has actually led towards a substantial (even amazing) economic growth during the last two centuries, but has been followed by severe damages to the social and environmental framework, to a level that threatens the continuation of the human species on Planet Earth. Many people, living in capitalistic regimes, believe that they should not serve the economy, but rather that the economy should serve their basic values. Therefore, a paradigm shift towards a new multi-dimensional, multi objectives economy that serves a diversity of values (conscious capitalism) alongside the economic goals, is urgently needed. In such an economy doing good (socially, environmentally and ethically) is supposed to support, rather than stand in contradiction to, doing well (economically). The level of environmental and social threats develop in exponential rates, and the need for a drastic transformation is pressing and urgent. The time for wrestling over the vision and language is past. It is time to move from “Research” to “Development” and “Action”.

The goals serve as the compass to guide decision makers. In other words the values should define a new metrics that creates somewhat more complex, “dash board”. We have to overcome serious flaws in the traditional pricing system. It is difficult to start making the changes through the supply functions, and is easier to do it first through the demand side, where consumers use their money as a voting power, to affect the desired transformation. Studies show that many consumers in modern economies are willing to make a change, where most leading brands are still unprepared for it. This calls for major changes in preparing executives, regulators, accountants, engineers and designers for the new economy.

In recent years there were many attempts to create a corrected multi-dimensional dash board. The most difficult point was to reach a more or less agreed set of uniform targets, rather than a case where each individual, company, organization and state use their own private compass. The major step towards this goal occurred in 2015 by defining the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that almost all the countries adopted and committed to reach them by 2030. These are hard to reach goals and they require huge investments, trillions of Dollars per annum. Most decision makers think in terms of $millions, sometimes even billions, but very seldom in terms of trillions. This is a X1000 jump, that requires urgent treatment of much larger number of huge projects. And in order to be able to do it, a very quick shift is requires, say by 2020. We call it the “B to T by 2020” project. In the paper we shall discuss some of the steps that are being taken in order to meet this crucial mission in time. The late President of Israel once said that the optimists and pessimists die the same way, but the way they live is very different. That is why I am optimist. Can we do it? Yes We Can!!!

Prof . Kahane received the prestigious Bickley’s Insurance Founders Award, by the International Insurance Society for his contribution to the theory, practice and education in risk management and insurance (2011). At that year he was also awarded for his life time achievements by the Israeli insurance industry.

Prof.  Kahane is an active entrepreneur and investor in technological companies and incubators, in a wide variety of areas. And is also a philanthropist. The YK Center is active in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are geared to mitigate some of the societal and environmental threats on humankind.

He is a Professor (Emeritus) of Coller Business and the Porter School of Environmental Studies. During almost 5 decades he taught in many universities around the world including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Wharton School of the U. of Pennsylvania, the universities of Florida, Toronto, Texas (Austin) and others. He was the founding dean of the first academic insurance school in Israel. All his degrees are from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: BA (economics and statistics), MA (business), PhD (finance). He is life and general insurance actuary.

Dana Zelicha

  • Inter Disciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya
  • OWBA—The Well Being Agency, Israel

Mindful Entrepreneurship:

Using Past Wisdom and Present-Moment Awareness to Shape a Caring Business Environment

Zelicha DanaAbstract— How can spirituality influence the commitment of entrepreneurs to social well-being and sustainability? How can spiritually driven enterprises survive and flourish in competitive environments? The proposed presentation will address these issues in the framework of Mindful Entrepreneurship. Modern Mindfulness is derived from the Buddhist spiritual practice of “paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience” (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). When introduced to

this contemplative practice and wisdom, entrepreneurs can develop a quality of presence that fosters connection, compassion, and awareness in their businesses. Additionally, entrepreneurs can become more attentive to themselves and to their environment, enabling them to positively influence the larger community through ‘Impact Investing’ (Bugg-Levine & Emerson, 2011): being Mindful of what they invest in, who they do business with, and most importantly – the societal value.

Mindfulness practices benefit both entrepreneurs and their teams, and this impact also has the potential to spread to the societal level. Research suggests that, in addition to cultivating compassion, Mindfulness endows leaders with increased emotional-intelligence and social responsibility (Zollo et al., 2008). Entrepreneurs lead the modern business landscape, and therefore play a defining role in shaping societal values. With an enhanced sense of social responsibility, the potential exists for the emergence of a Mindful business culture that is more focused on societal well-being, and not only the bottom line. Google is a shining exemplar of a successful company that embraces Mindfulness and social responsibility, engaging in compassionate community initiatives that started from the bottom-up with a few employees, and then spread company-wide (Tan, 2014). Their ‘Search Inside Yourself’ program teaches Mindfulness to employees, and branches all over the world participate in community service. Given its influence, Google serves to inspire other businesses to adopt a similar model and culture. Moreover, Mindfulness is of specific importance to entrepreneurs because it cultivates resilience, which is necessary for thriving in the competitive business environment. Paying attention to small events and developing the capability to deal with and contain failures effectively as they occur are key drivers of resilience and success (Weick & Sutcliffe, 2001). This capability is of paramount importance, as entrepreneurs are faced with many challenges and must be equipped with the skills to flourish in the midst of adversity. By demonstrating resilience, Mindful entrepreneurs can create sustainable businesses that will carry-on to spread the virtues of compassion and connectivity to the economic environment and to society as well.

Given entrepreneurs’ growing interest to bring Mindfulness to their companies, there is hope for a paradigm shift wherein the economy will be more centered on spiritual and societal values. This presentation will discuss recent case studies and innovative Mindfulness tools for entrepreneurs, such as Mindful Meetings,Mindful Decision Making, and Unitasking. These tools are specifically designed for managers and entrepreneurs to generate selfcompassion,

and to ingrain the virtues of Mindfulness in the fabric of their organizations. By incorporating past wisdom, and encouraging an awareness of the present moment, Mindful entrepreneurship is a unique approach to bring spirituality, compassion, and social responsibility to the business environment of the future.

Dana Zelicha is an organizational psychologist, lecturer at the Inter Disciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, and founder & CEO of OWBA—The Well Being Agency. OWBA is a boutique management consultancy endorsed by the London School of Economics (LSE) that specializes in Mindfulness for business. Operating in both Israel and London, Dana works closely with executives and entrepreneurs from various companies ranging from startups to large international corporations, such as Citibank, McKinsey and Amdocs. In addition, Dana is a lecturer for ‘Mindful Leadership’ and ‘Organizational Well-Being’ at the IDC Herzliya, a leading academic institute in Israel that specializes in entrepreneurship.

Keren Tsuk

  • Tsukconsult consulting company, Israel

Leadership in the 21 Century:  Mindfulness as the Main Qualities of leadership

Tsuk KerenIn the past decade, the workplace has become an increasingly important factor in the human search for meaning. This is because people see businesses as more powerful than in the past and give to businesses the recognition and respect once reserved for communities and organizations such as the family, religion, and political power. Numerous articles have been written on workplace spirituality and about the need and desire of employees to find a sense of meaning in the workplace environment. Spiritual discourse sees the organization as a spiritual–social system composed of employees whose existential needs must be supported by the organization to flourish.

In the lecture, based on my research, I will focus on the leadership in the 21 centuries. Spiritual leadership theory differs from other advanced leadership theories as it argues that the leader must be able to connect with the “beyond”, and have the capacity to be in a state of “being while doing”. Based on theoretical literature, I present an analytical topology of three states of being that define the spiritual leader: the ability to contain the tensions, to be present, and to serve others.  I argue that the leader as a person is characterized by the ability to “be” and to allow conditions for the growth of order beyond self (connection with the “beyond”) and to allow meaning, transcendence and change. Being able to be in “Being” allows one to connect to feelings while taking a broader view beyond oneself. It also allows the leader to experience feelings but not necessarily be managed by them.

To enable the employees a sense of meaningfulness, fulfillment, and growth in the workplace, and to recruit and maintain talents employees, leaders nowadays, need to serve others, and contain the various dialectical tensions that exist in organizations and seek to reconcile apparently conflicting components via mindfulness. My claim is that the primary quality of leadership that is needed in the 21st century is mindfulness. The ability of the leader to be mindful and present enables him to better manage himself, others and to enable new solutions to emerge, beyond himself, which allows change, dynamism, and growth.

Mindfulness has a broad scientific basis drawn from neuroscience, psychology and management research that has been conducted over the last few decades.  I will show how mindfulness-based leadership, can help us better manage ourselves in an efficient way, be more authentic, overall well-being and happiness and sustain ourselves over the long run. Then I will show how it helps to create better relationships, by increasing emotional control, deepening trust, partnership, and improving team performance. I will conclude by claiming that leaders that are more present and mindful are better able to serve others, hold various tensions and allow new wisdom to emerge and flourish, which helps to increase the sense of community and meaningfulness in the workplace.

Keren Tsuk is founder of Tsukconsult, a mindfulness-based consultancy. She has a Ph.D. from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is an expert in leadership at 21st century organizations. Dr Tsuk has more than 15 years of experience in supervising, guiding and advising organizations through processes of change and growth. She helps companies to deal with their challenges and handle their different organizational tensions through mindfulness. Keren uses a holistic approach, which integrates personal and organizational growth.

Shiri Aviel

  • Center of Mindful Leadership,Israel

Taking Care of the Caregiver:  Some Insights from Mindfulness-Based Courses in Israel’s Healthcare institutions

AvielShiriMindfulness, awareness training, is going through a dramatic change in the world of organizations and corporates, from an esoteric and abstract term, not connected to the  essence of business organization, to a key concept, a necessary practice, that is not only nice-to-have.

Western organizations in the VUCA world have become overly stressed, unpredictable, uncertain entities.

More than ever before, employees and managers in these organizations are in need of a clear, steady and flexible mind, in order to deal with the challenges they encounter in a healthy and efficient manner.

Even more so, health organizations are in such a need, being faced on a daily basis with high levels of human suffering, heavy workloads, and burnout. These pose a big challenge for the resilience of the staff and the institutions.

It has now been more than three decades since Mindfulness Based Interventions were proposed to improve symptoms of chronic pain, depression and anxiety symptoms among patients and the general population, and exponential evidence-based data have built a scientific foundation for the use of these interventions in healthcare .

In Israel, however, Mindfulness Based Interventions have become “mainstream” only in the 5 – 10 years, starting with cancer patients and evolving to the healthcare staff as well- Doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, nutritionists, administrative staff, and more.

In this talk, I will share my experience and insights from bringing mindfulness- Based Courses into the Israeli medical world during the last several years – mindfulness trainings in hospitals and in public health organizations for doctors, nurses and other para-medical staff members.

An exciting coming together of two worlds- medicine and mindfulness, one that is becoming essential to the unfolding challenges of healthcare reality, an air to breath.


Shiri Aviel is co-founder and co-manager of the Center of Mindful Leadership in Israel. Organizational Psychologist (MA), OD consultant, specializing in Leadership Development and Corporate Mindfulness-based Interventions – In Business and HealthCare Institutions.  Long term mindfulness meditation practitioner. MBSR teacher and a Lecturer. Shiri has developed and instructed numerous  Mindfulness-based workshops and courses in major Israeli  business and HealthCare organizations.

Chris Doude van Troostwijk

  • Luxembourg School of Religion & Society
  • Menno Simons Chair for liberal theology at the Free University of Amsterdam

As if God existed and the catastrophe had happened …Hans Jonas and Jean-Pierre Dupuy on the doorstep of a sense-making economy

Chris_Doude-TIGFI-CM-600This paper will confront Jonas’s ethics of life with the thought of the French-American philosopher Jean-Pierre Dupuy. With regard to the seemingly unescapable dynamics of neoliberalism and transhumanist technology, both views complement each other. Both, in their own ways, invite spirituality into the economic discourse. This paper will start with an exegesis of what biblical scholars (Breukelman, Marquardt) have identified as the post-catastrophic spirit of the Bible. The story of the flood reflects on how to avoid catastrophe: God and men are mutually bound by an ethical covenant that inspires trust and obligation. Both Jonas’s survival ethics and his methodology of a heuristics of fear, and Dupuy’s “enlightened catastrophism” shed a stimulating light on the story and turn it into a metaphor for the economic problems we face in our times.

Jonas formulated his first intuitions (that would later form his Principle of Responsibility) in a critical reflection on business and economic ethics (Socio-Economic Knowledge and Ignorance of Goals, 1969). According to the doctrinal assumption, no ought can be derived from an is. Science, hence economics, is therefore purely descriptive (wertfreie Wissenschaft). This conception of scientific truth, justified by technological performativity, disaffirms traditions of wisdom. Ideas about nature as creation, man as being created in God’s image, and practices as answers to an absolute command are disavowed. And ethical questions are – if at all – formulated outside the scientific realm, which means: too late. But, as modern science has a metaphysical impact and not only changes the way we do things, but also who we are, as the economy changes the essence of society, we do need these ideas of wisdom. But Jonas claims that, because the emancipation of science relied on the evacuation of religious and philosophical doctrines, “we need wisdom most when we believe in it least” (Contemporary Problems in ethics from a Jewish Perspective). Nonetheless, Jonas proposes his concept of reverence for life, according to which value emerges not as something accessorial to nature, but from within it. Nature, man, and practices are inherently value-driven. This “onto-axiology” demands the prudential courage to abstain (Enthaltsamkeit) from a quasi-automatic transformation of knowledge into technological and economic performativity.

According to Dupuy (Pour un catastrophisme éclairé 2002; L’avenir de l’économie, 2012) we should not have the pretention that we can avoid the unavoidable. We should rather think about strategies to suspend the catastrophe indefinitely. Combatting nihilistic pessimism, he proposes we look at reality from a post-catastrophic point of view “as if the catastrophe has already happened”.  This methodology of the as if catastrophe invites inventiveness of alternative models. For instance: it makes more sense to prepare for post-capitalist economic realities, than to combat globalized neoliberalism. Dupuy’s methodology has its ethical counterpart in Jonas’s survival-of-life ethics and his heuristics of fear. His as if standpoint of a post-catastrophism enforces our sense of realism. However, Jonas invites us to think life and the world as if they were given by a creator, who – as he came to see him in his reflections on post-Auschwitz theology – needs our cooperation in order to guarantee our and his survival. Together they tend towards a sense-making economy: a spiritually enthused economy informed by post-catastrophic economic inventiveness and by a heuristic metaphysics of life.

Chris Doude van Troostwijk is professor of philosophy at the Luxembourg School of Religion & Society and holds the Menno Simons Chair for liberal theology at the Free University of Amsterdam.)

Erella Shadmi

  • Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Beit Berl Academic College, Israel

The Maternal Gift Economy and Post Capitalism

1280px-ErellaShadmiAssuming that we are moving to a post-industrial, post-capitalist era, this paper argues that the maternal gift economy offers us a basis for a spiritual and caring alternative economy (in fact, an alternative social order in general). This new paradigm, developed by Genevieve Vaughan, suggests that there is a maternal economy, which already existed before, beyond and within the economy of capitalist patriarchy. Mothering, opened to women and men alike, is a mode of distributing goods and services according to needs.  It is free – and it has to be free because young children cannot give back an equivalent in exchange for what they receive.

This motherly principle  – giving in response to the other’s needs – is present in many areas of our life, including in the West of course – starting with the gifts of nature (light, natural resources, etc.), through friendship and practices such as  organ donation, internet, Wikipedia and so on. The gift economy, discussed in academia for many years, has inspired movements aiming to create an alternative to capitalism. It is also acknowledged by Judaism in at least two central concepts: Mother’s Wisdom and Tzedakah.

In other words, alongside the market’s exchange economy, the gift economy is continuously operating. These two economies are contrary, but they can coexist in an unhappy connection in which the gift economy is silenced, denied and exploited by the patriarchal-capitalist market, even though the market economy is contingent and dependent on it. The basic distinction that must be made is the distinction between gift giving on the one hand and exchange on the other. The perspective of exchange is so powerful and pervasive that it obscures and cancels gift giving unless active attention and action to prevent it takes place.

If we had the prototype of the mother for the category ‘human’ instead of the father or in any case the adult male, we would see the human being as Homo Donnas; further we may have a different kind of religion which, like the mother, would be more open to the ‘other’ – in terms of other people, other species, and other manifestations of Gaia or Mother Earth.

The modern scientific Gaia hypothesis, that the Earth is alive though in a somewhat different way than we are (and of course we are part of Her), also lets us look at Earth spirituality as maternal, gift giving spirituality. I think the ecological niches fit together in a pattern of giving and receiving. This means greater inclusivity so that we are open to the spirits of nature, that are not the same as we are. This openness lets us feel these spirits, tune in to them, not just try to know them intellectually.

In gift-based societies (matriarchies, past and present) people were (and in many cases still are) related to their physical and natural surroundings through a particular land ethic, through genealogies, oral tradition and complex rituals aimed at social bonds, ecological balance and sustainability.

In addition to the Open Code and social businesses, other economic gift giving practices arise in different forms. They include, for example: the many communes, ecovillages and cooperatives that are being established lately by young people  who resist capitalism, consumption, patriarchy and racism, and strive to build new kinds of communities founded on partnership, mutuality and gift giving to society and environment; the thousands of businessmen and women in the United States associated with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economy (BALLE) who promote and practice energy saving, green economy and mutual help – among other things; the Israeli Agora website publicizing items to be given for free to whoever wants them; as well as Wikipedia, time banks, hitch-hiking, blood banks, voluntarism, political activism and last but not least – gift giving by the poor to the poor (e.g., stokvel).

People in different parts of the world begin to grasp the indispensability of gift giving though they do not yet understand its connection to mothering and motherliness. A deep change of consciousness is indeed inevitable.

Erella Shadmi is former head of Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Beit Berl Academic College. Her numerous publications deal with social change movements (feminist, peace and lesbian), male violence against women, politics of identity, whiteness (Ashkenaziness), racism, spirituality, gift economy and matriarchal societies. Her books include  Mother’s Path (an edited anthology on motherhood under and outside patriarchy and vision for a post-patriarchal post-capitalist society) (Resling, 2015, Hebrew; forthcoming in English, Italian and Arabic),Thinking As a Woman: Women and Feminism in Israel (Zivonim Press, 2007, Hebrew); Sappho in the Holy Land: Lesbian Experience and Dilemmas in Contemporary Israel (co-edited, SUNY Press, 2004, English) and Blood Money: Prostitution, Trafficking in Women and Pornography in Israel (co-edited, Pardes, 2013, Hebrew). Dr. Shadmi is working on a book on social activism in Israel.

Erella Shadmi is also a critical criminologist and taught at  Beit Berl Academic College in the Criminology and Law Enforcement Program. She has published numerous analyses and critiques of police and policing in Israel, co-edited the book, In the Pursuit of Justice: Studies in Crime and Law Enforcement in Israel (Cherikover, 2004, Hebrew) and her  book, The Fortified Land: Police and Policing in Israel (Hakibbutz Hameuchad Press, 2012, Hebrew) was the first of its kind.  She is working on book on policing in Israel. Dr. Erella Shadmi is also a feminist and peace and anti-racism activist.

Nurit Zaidman

  • Guilford Glazer Faculty of Management, Ben Gurion University, Be’er Sheba, Israel

Overcoming resistance: The embodiment of New Age Spirituality into secular organizations

Nurit ZaidmanThe study presented  examines the complexity inherent in the enactment of New Age Spirituality (NAS) in secular organizations, considering among other things its perceived value, process of adaptation, embeddedness within specific structures of power relations, and its potential contribution to organizing. The analysis is informed by Bourdieu’s work, framing NAS as a form of capital; and by a feminist perspective, considering the ontological differences between NAS and secular organizations, and the embodiment of these differences in gender relations.

Data show that NAS adherents perceive it as empowering, as a source of self-confidence, direction and meaning, and as a useful outlook in the domain of work. However, these studies also show that tensions were involved in the enactment of NAS into secular organizations, to the extent that organizations might silence or reject NAS. The embodiment of NAS in secular organizations involves strong negative emotions, principal amongst these being fear. A person involved with NAS is often perceived by colleagues as “strange”, “weird”, “not serious”, “flippant”, “lacking control” bizarre, etc., and adherents to NAS are hesitant or even afraid to disclose their involvement with NAS at their workplaces.

The taken-for-granted assumptions of NAS suggest that an alternative to the existing order prevails in secular organizations. NAS’s basic premises concerns the authentic self, and the means to explore this self; the emphasis on the individual’s awareness of his or her body, thoughts and feelings is, in fact, a manifesto of the legitimate sources of knowing at work, and about the ways to act based on this “knowing”. This premise is radically different from rationality as a fundamental principle of knowing and organizing. NAS further suggests an alternative to workplace relationships, an alternative based on radical equality that dismisses existing boundaries of social order. I argue that these perceptions are embodied in gendered power relations – the relationship between the flexible/feminine NAS, and the masculine secular organizations.

Finally, the study suggests a general model of NAS embodiment in secular organizations:  In the “masculine” mode, NAS is often converted into a rational and instrumental product with the goal of reaching into the organizational public domain. The “feminine-calculative” mode of NAS embodiment demands walking the line between concealment and the exposure of adherents’ choices. The “feminine-intrinsic” mode of NAS embodiment relates to the intrinsic dimension of NAS that empowers and directs the behavior of adherents at work, which often remains as individual wisdom.

The contribution of this study is twofold. First, it contributes a general model of NAS embodiment in secular organizations, based on organizational sources of rejection and on three gender-related modes of NAS embodiment. Second, this study attempts to resolve several conceptual problems pertaining to existing definitions of spiritual capital, by suggesting that spiritual capital includes not only knowledge or cultural dispositions, but also an active intrinsic personal dimension.

Nurit Zaidman is associate professor and the Area Head of Strategy and International Management at the Department of Business Administration, Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. She graduated from the Department of Anthropology at Temple University, USA. Her current research focuses on global teams, knowledge transfer in multi-nationals; intercultural communication, and New Age and spirituality in organizations. Her research has been published in leading publications such as Journal of Organizational Behavior, Organization, British Journal of Management, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Group & Organizational Management and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion


José Luis Fernández Fernández and Cristina Díaz de la Cruz

  • Chair in Economic and Business Ethics, Pontifical University Comillas, Madrid, Spain

Social Catholic Thought and the Economy of Communion as Business Model

fernandezThis communication’s proposal connects with one of the issues explicitly proposed for the  organizers as a possible topic to be addressed in  the Conference: “How might religious faith traditions -in this case, catholic Christianity- better inform and guide entrepreneurship in the 21 st. century?”

In the complex and various ecosystem that the New Economy offers for entrepreneurship, we think that Social Catholic tradition has something of some interest to offer as a proposal of business model, i.e., the so called Economy of Communion.

In order to present our communication and to write a paper developing the main ideas about the Economy of Communion, we propose to address the following aspects:

  1. The New Economy: traits and the possibility for Social Innovation
  2. Social Catholic Thought: brief historical and systematical explanation of this doctrinal corpus
  3. Key ethical principles and moral criteria from Catholic Social Thought for orienting economic and social issues
  4. Systematic explanation of Catholic view for business and enterprises
  5. Two encyclicals and a new message at the beginning of the 21st. century: Caritas in Veritate and Laudato Si’
  6. The Economy of Communion as a successful, more human, way of doing business: Theoretical approach and practical examples


José Luis Fernández Fernández, PhD and MBA, is Full Professor and Director of the Chair in Economic and Business Ethics at Pontifical University Comillas of Madrid. Fernández has been President of EBEN-Spain since 1993 to 2007. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the European Ethics Network; and Fellow of the Caux Round Table. He is a representative at -CTN 165 Ética: UNE-ISO 26000:2012- at AENOR –Agencia Española de Normalización y Certificación. From 2000 to 2003 he served as Vice Rector for External Relations and University Extension for the Pontifical University Comillas.

Amos Nadan

  • Middle Eastern and African History department, Tel Aviv University

Traditional Socioeconomic Peasant Institutions and Today’s Caring Challenges

Nadan AmosMuch of the literature dealing with peasant ‘rationality’ tends to describe peasants and their institutions as economically irrational. This is certainly true for Palestinian peasants who were presumed to follow social and religious dogmas that overrode economic logic. However, studying the economy of peasants (fallāḥīn singular fallāḥ) in Mandate Palestine from 1922-1947, reveals that this was not the case. Both the fallāḥ and its institutions were demonstrably rational, while religion and social norms actually worked to strengthen economic outcome.

The majority of Arab agriculturists were part-subsistence, part-surplus family-based farmers. It was evident to fallāḥīn that the only way they could maximize income was to grow ‘subsistence’ crops for their own existence (thus saving transaction costs), and to select the rest of their crops on the basis of their commodity value. Neither risk aversion nor ‘allocative inefficiency’ nor ‘religious deficiencies’ determined this mode of production; rather, it was the rational behavior of profit maximization.

A close examination of the microstructure of the fallāḥīn economy, and the changes that occurred in it, reveals four significant features:

  • Production was based largely on labor-intensive methods.
  • The fallāḥīn used simple agricultural implements, which were much cheaper than the more modern equipment that was available.
  • The fallāḥīn used various approaches to reduce production and consumption costs and to increase income.
  • Neither traditional institutions, nor religion, impeded sound economic logic and in some cases they even facilitated it.

The patrilineal socioeconomic structure of the economy, where close economic cooperation and responsivity existed in the dārs, ahls and ḥamūlas, highlights that the closer the perceived kinship ties between fallāḥīn, the closer their economic integration bolstered by common norms and faith. This economic association was essentially a system of risk reduction. The existence of trust and sound information about partners ensured less risk and enabled efficiency in resource allocation. Mutual responsibility also reduced risk from disasters and led to better informed risk-taking.

Understanding socioeconomic structures and the ways that they were bonded to local norms and beliefs, also helps to explain peasant institutions such as sharecropping, livestock breeding and cultivation, barter and money trade, off-farm employment, moneylending, mushā’ and more.

As for Islam, one of the things that arises from research is that issues that are usually considered as impediments for development – such as the inability to take interest on loans – prove irrelevant, as other, equally efficient methods were adopted to operate within the environment. Moreover, local norms and collective beliefs strengthened trust – probably because human nature dictates that those with similar values and beliefs are less likely to act unfairly.

After reviewing the socioeconomic structure and a number of peasant institutions, the relevancy of these findings with today’s welfare challenges will be discussed.

Amos Nadan Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer at The Department of Middle Eastern and African History of Tel Aviv University. He is an economic historian, specializing in the Middle East, and has written extensively on the Palestinian economy from a historical perspective.


Einat Ramon

  • The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, Israel

Modern Labor and Ancient Spirituality:  Jewish Models reinterpreted in A. D. Gordon’s Perception of Laborers’ Spiritual Needs

עינת רמוןWhen considering the spiritual needs of various workers at the turn of the twenty-first century, it is worthwhile looking back into moral Jewish philosophies written one hundred years ago. Israeli workers then faced similar challenges as workers do today; they struggled with the loss of their religious faith, practices and communities and experienced alienation and loneliness referred to as “anomie” by the social theorist Emil Durkheim. For the purpose of exploring these problems and their solutions, I turn to the works of Aharon David Gordon (1856–1922). The most famous modern Jewish thinker in the Western world, Martin M. Buber, considered Gordon to be “the most remarkable” of “all those who came to the land [of Israel] in the period of new settlement.” (Martin Buber, On Zion: The History of an Idea (London: East and West Library, 1973), 154. See also: Herbert H. Rose The Life and Thought of A. D. Gordon: Pioneer, Philosopher and Prophet of Modern Israel (New York: Bloch Publishing Company, 1964). Einat Ramon, A New Life: Religious, Motherhood and Supreme Love in the Works of Aharon David Gordon, Jerusalem: Carmel, 2007. (Hebrew).) Gordon immigrated to Palestine from the Ukraine in 1904 when he was 48 years old, and insisted on becoming a laborer, despite his ‘advanced age.’ His ethics and spiritual thought emerge from his perception that religious feeling (not necessarily religious institutional affiliation) combined with an ethical intuition of responsibility to one’s family, nation, humanity and nature (in that order) is the essence of humans’ spiritual well being, which had been disrupted by an excess of rationality that brought about alienation. Gordon’s spiritual observations inform his polemic with the Marxist socialist critique of the distribution of labor and wealth in human modern society. In light of this philosophical-moral epistemology, what mostly worried him was not economic injustice but the spiritual impoverishing of modern workers’ lives that severely damaged their ability to marry, create a family and live within thriving communities. He argued that good labor conditions are important to laborers but are not what makes a worker happy. A meaningful life, a thriving community, and the support provided by one’s friends and colleagues in times of need and in the face of human suffering, hardships, and detachment from the world which often cleaves the heart, is what truly improves human life. Existential loneliness, when untreated, is at the core of human violence, according to Gordon. Those who are unable to truly connect to others seek control of others or to be controlled by others. My presentation ultimately explores also the relevance or irrelevance of Gordon’s holistic social vision to spirituality in our contemporary work places in light of contemporary philosophies of spirituality at the work place.

Einat Ramon (Ph.D. in Religious Studies, Stanford University, 2000), senior lecturer in Jewish Thought, Jewish Women’s Studies and Spiritual Care at the Schechter Institute, is also an Israeli certified spiritual caregiver (2014), and a supervisor in spiritual caregiving (2015). She is one of the founders of professional spiritual caregiving in Israel. In 2012 she founded the Marpeh program – the only academic program for the training of spiritual caregivers in Israel – where she herself teaches and supervises students. Ramon writes on modern Jewish women’s theology and ethics, contemporary Jewish Israeli and Jewish American philosophy, Hassidic and neo- Hassidic spirituality and spiritual care in Israel.

Gerrit De Vylder    

  • Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

Postmodern Spirituality of South Asian Inspiration: A Counterculture Feeding Socio-Economic Criticism or a Subculture Supporting an Emerging Global Technocracy?

Gerrit de VylderWhat is the socio-economic dimension of postmodern spiritual movements and schools of thinking (incl. New Age movements)? Do they encourage the attainment of what E.F. Schumacher (in “A Guide for the Perplexed”, 1977) described as a “higher” capacity, beyond mere self-awareness, focussing capital which cannot be expressed in a monetary terms, or do they in reality (also) serve economic interests? According to Rushkoff (2010), “What we think of as “spirituality” today is not at all a departure from the narcissistic culture of consumption, but its truest expression. Consumer materialism and spirituality coevolved as ongoing reactions against the seemingly repressive institutions of both state and church”. Furthermore reports of how spiritual techniques are being (mis)used as effective HR tools to enhance productivity abound. This leads to the fundamental question whether postmodern spirituality is supportive or critical of the present global system which critics have identified as state-capitalist, technocratic, large-scale and media driven?

From case-studies of movements and schools of thinking of South Asian origin and/or inspiration a mixed picture emerges. Two distinctive periods can be identified. After the Second World War interest in Indian culture is by definition linked to a new sub-culture, protesting against socio-economic conditions which emerged as side-effects of large-scale capitalism after the Second World War. Confronted with both inner and outer crises (personal crises, economic and environmental crises, and world wars), both managers and academics inspired by Indian thinking started with a feeling of having lost sight of their global purpose. Indian traditions offered approaches that focused on the person who wants to change and provided concrete ways to change the way society and businesses are run. Accordingly they focussed on maximizing the quality of leadership instead of maximizing profits.

Modern versions of Hinduism (Advaita), Buddhism and Sufism became fashionable as an alternative to the old Christian religions which were considered too conservative, both in a socio-economic sense as in a religious sense. However, despite their protesting mood, many of the individuals discussed in the case-studies did not turn against their traditional religious background. On the contrary, many understood their own Christianity from new angles and rediscovered the richness of the original sources of their own religion.

Gradually a different picture emerged. While during the 1960s and the 1970s Indian wisdom was especially used as a critique against the materialistic “West”, from the 1990s onwards it predominantly became used for management wisdom. While India became a giant emerging market, it also became more part of mainstream socio-economic thinking. On the one hand, the notion of “Indian wisdom” suggests that a genuine leader should rather “think” (from a broad ethical perspective) than “manage” (from an individualistic business perspective). From this angle it can be suggested that references to Indian thinking positively influence management toward more socially responsible behaviour. On the other hand, the question may be raised whether the shift from general socio-economic critique to management philosophy is a hidden way of supporting a state capitalist and technocratic system whereby “Big Capital” and “Big Government” join and merely use “spirituality” to strengthen their arguably unfair and oligopolistic positions. In this process especially “cheap imported Indian brains” are identified as contributing to what critics describe as “modern-day corporate and academic slavery”.

Gerrit De Vylder studied both history and economics, obtained his ph.d. (Economics) from Tilburg University, The Netherlands, and is presently connected to the Faculty of Economics and Business of KU Leuven, Belgium. His teaching subjects include Economic History and International Political Economy. He has also been guest-lecturing on “India” and the ethical, spiritual and philosophical aspects of globalization and economic growth in a number of institutions in different countries (e.g. India, Poland, Portugal, China, the U.S. and the U.K.). His research interests include the history of globalization (from an Asia-centric point of view), the relationship between religion (e.g. Hinduism, Buddhism and Sufism) and economics, and between Indological/Orientalist writings and economics.

Anke Turner

  • Hochschule Fresenius, University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg, Germany

Subhasis Chakrabarti

  • Vedanta Institute, Kolkata, India

Vedantic Perspective on Caring Entrepreneurship

The proposed paper discusses how the ancient Indian philosophy of Vedanta informs and guides entrepreneurial and management practice. Leading a startup or a large corporation can be a process of achieving a transformation from the mundane to the Divine. Vedantic spiritual practice changes the perspective, motivation and attitude behind entrepreneurship. The paper will discuss how the application of karma yoga, the path of action, in entrepreneurial and managerial practice will lead to success, harmony, and trust among stakeholders. Thus, it supports human flourishing and creates elevated levels of being for all stakeholders and the society at large.

India has a diverse and pluralistic philosophical tradition as well as a rich tradition of trade and business. Vedanta is a central philosophical tradition around which other traditions evolved. The Sanskrit word Vedanta is a compound of two words, veda and anta. Veda means knowledge and anta, end. Thus, Vedanta can be translated as “culmination of knowledge”. The philosophical aphorisms are contained in the Upanishads, the last section of the Vedas, the ancient scriptures of India. Vedanta refers in this paper to the contemporary school of thought of the Indian philosopher A. Parthasarathy.

A fundamental philosophical concept of Vedanta is found in Chandogya Upanishad in the Sama Veda: Tat tvam asi, translated as That Thou Art. Tat (That) represents the supreme Reality, Brahman, the one homogeneous Reality that pervades everywhere. Tvam (Thou) refers to the supreme Self in all beings, Atman. Asi (Art) ascertains the oneness of the all-pervading Reality and the Self within. Hence, the aphorism makes the bold statement of the essential human divine nature. Thus, Divinity is an integral part of every activity. Here the paper will establish the link between spiritual practice and entrepreneurship.

However, humans are ignorant of their divine inner Core. The intuitive tendency is to look for happiness in the world. This creates attachments and worldly desires, which Vedanta declares as the barrier between humans and God. Evil in the world is explained by selfish, egocentric, desire-ridden human behavior. In the words of the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Every man is a divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool.”

So how can this ignorance of the divine nature within be removed? Ignorance per se can be removed with knowledge (jnanam). However, Vedanta points out that knowledge of God is qualitatively different from knowledge of the phenomenal world. The Infinite is not an object of perception, emotion and thought. The word God is only a reference to something abstract and infinite, as in the use of symbols in mathematics.

So according to Vedanta, the only way to know God is to become God, to realize one’s true Self. Vedanta provides the knowledge (jnanam) how to reach this state of Enlightenment.

The fundamental principle behind this process is “as you think, so you become”. This involves changing the intention supporting all actions from selfish to unselfish to selfless, thus purifying emotions, sharpening the intellect and redirecting thoughts from the mundane to the Spiritual. The traditional spiritual practices of karma yoga (path of action), bhakti yoga (path devotion) and jnana yoga (path of knowledge) are aimed to accomplish these goals. Purifying the personality through self-development will lead to Self-enquiry (Who am I?) and ultimately to Self-realization. A Self-realized person is described as displaying the highest level of care possible for human beings, as will be elaborated further upon in the paper.

Anke Turner is a full professor of International Management at Hochschule Fresenius, University of Applied Sciences, in Hamburg, Germany. She completed a three-year residential Vedanta philosophy course at the Vedanta Academy in Malavli, India. She received her doctoral degree from the University of Hamburg, Germany. Additionally, she completed an MBA at the University of San Francisco, USA as a Fulbright scholar. She holds a four-year university degree in Management and Modern Chinese Area Studies from Hochschule Ludwigshafen, Germany. She has more than ten years of international work experience in the financial services industry.

 Subhasis Chakrabarti is a Vedanta philosophy teacher at the Vedanta Institute Kolkata, India. He graduated from the Vedanta Academy, Malavli with a diploma in Vedanta philosophy. He has a deep research interest in Western and Indian Philosophy, as well as Consciousness Studies. He holds a MBBS from University of Kolkata, India.

Gabor Kovacs

  • Business Ethics Center, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

The Caring Attitude of Christian and Buddhist Entrepreneurs

kovacs_gaborThe research introduces the way spiritual value-orientation influences entrepreneurs in developing a caring attitude towards their stakeholders. It presents the results of a qualitative explorative investigation amongst Christian and Buddhist entrepreneurs in Hungary with the aim of presenting their spiritual value-orientations.

The value-orientations of Christian and Buddhist entrepreneurs have different ontological background as Christianity is an anthropocentric spiritual tradition, but from a Buddhist point of view sentient beings are organically interconnected. Nevertheless, caring for others has major relevance in both value-orientations in business as the value of solidarity in the value-orientations of Christian entrepreneurs and the value of compassion in the value-orientations of Buddhist entrepreneurs have central roles.

Caring appears in different dimensions in the business practices of spiritually value-oriented entrepreneurs. Both Christian and Buddhist entrepreneurs consider the interests of their employees in greater extent than in business as usual. They refer them as fellow workers in the deeper sense of the expression instead of talking about them as workforce of laborers. They concern their suppliers as equally important to their customers as they consider all of them as their partners in business. Furthermore, spiritually value-oriented entrepreneurs define the goals of business more broadly with the primary aim of achieving long-term sustainability.

Although Christianity and Buddhism are different spiritual traditions, Christian and Buddhist entrepreneurs realize their spiritual value-orientations by similar practices in business.

Gabor Kovacs is a doctoral fellow at the Business Ethics Center of the Corvinus University of Budapest. His research topic is spiritual value-orientations in entrepreneurship. The title of his doctoral dissertation is Value-orientations of Christian and Buddhist Entrepreneurs. He has background in economics and management. He received his master’s degree in Buddhist studies from the Budapest Buddhist University in 2010. He was participating in the research projects of the Business Ethics Center about the ethical value-orientations and the ecological value-orientations of Hungarian entrepreneurs. He is researching Buddhist economics as well. He is the secretary of the Hungarian Bhutan Friendship Society since its foundation in 2011.

Sanjoy Mukherjee

  • Indian Institute of Management – Shillong, India

Unleashing the Creative Spirit in Management Education: Insights from Rabindranath Tagore

sanjoy mukherjee“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times…it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”

These famous lines that greet us as we open the first page of the epoch-making novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens are so true even today! While it is a fact that we are centuries ahead of the turbulent times of French Revolution, turbulence in different form is also haunting us even today. On one hand we are experiencing the marvels of unprecedented techno-economic growth, global information revolution and knowledge explosion. On the other hand, amidst accelerating and all-engulfing globalization, organizations all over the world are struggling hard to navigate in an ocean of a fast changing business scenario characterized by increasing uncertainty, unpredictability and paradoxes.

In the wake of all pervasive globalization and the triumph of capitalism and consumerism,  education and especially dominant mainstream management education in its structured and conventional form, has responded by churning out ‘products’ equipped to combat the aggressive competition under the demands of the forces of the market. Business Schools thus have become more like the assembly line of a manufacturing behemoth where the thrust on quantity has overshadowed the quest for quality and human excellence. Excessive predominance of the analytical, logical and quantitatively oriented of left brain activity has led to a certain level of numbing of the creative, intuitive and holistic right brain development. Creativity and joy in the learning experience has been sacrificed at the altar of this fossilized system just to ensure the ‘rigour’ of the pedagogical methods and processes. The victims of this mechanized and often mindless acquisition of information and utilitarian knowledge are not only the students community but also the Faculty who are hard-pressed for completing the number of hours of academic workload and frantically engage in ‘networking for publication in journals’ in their rush for tenure and promotion. The present paper is an attempt to raise the voice of the ‘Other’ to offer alternative sources and methods of learning in the light of valuable insights from the life and work of Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Laureate poet from India who was not only a literary genius but a musician, philosopher, artist and a pioneer in experiments on alternative education. The paper also connects the relevance of Tagore’s wisdom today in view of the shifting paradigm in modern management thinking and practice by conscientious thinkers and academics in the West. Finally the paper outlines the salient learning points from Tagore for enrichment of the present ossified education system to bring in fresh air and new light for all round humanistic development of the individuals and creation of a joyful and creative learning environment. Drawing inspiration from Tagore the paper also highlights the importance of learning from Nature, immersion in silence and integration of inputs from the Liberal Arts in mainstream management education.

Sanjoy Mukherjee is professor at the Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management, IIM Shillong in India. Previously he was working at the Management Center for Human Values at IIM Calcutta. His publications cover topics of ethics, sustainability and spirituality in management.

Avi Shnider and  Zafrir Bloch-David

  • College of Management, Israel

The Social Identity Challenge of the New Economy

Avi_shniderSince the dawn of mankind, humans have derived their identity from the activities and institutions that enabled them to make their living (Malone 2004).  This was true from the beginning of the tribal period, which enabled tribal members to hunt and gather effectively. In this period the tribe was the social unit that gave the identity to its members. The agricultural revolution first of all changed the way people made their living and as a result the social structure changed. Villages were created and the main source of identity became the family and the village community. In the agricultural society, the location and profession becamzafrir-bloche a mechanism of identity and solidarity. Both in the tribal society and agricultural society, religion and spirituality were central to creating a feeling of solidarity and identity. The industrial revolution again significantly changed the way people made their living. Upon the industrial revolution people left the village and the family farm and moved to work in the cities near the assembly lines. The outcome was, people lost their spatial identity and their extensive family identity weakened. In addition the spiritual identity weakened as well, as part of the secularity process. This situation created a need for a new source of identity, which again was derived from the way people make their living. People started to use organizational identity and the new working class became a central source of identity (Baumen 2013).

Now days, we are once more in the midst of a revolution to how people are making a living:

36% of the work force in the US no more work in organizations nor belong to unions. They make their livings as freelancers.

In part of the European countries the unemployed rate among the young generation  is about 40% (Sundararajan 2016). Needless to say, this change in how people make their living is again challenging their identity. Thus a central challenge of the new economy is how to establish mechanisms of social identities in the new work era. The manifestation of this challenge can be seen in the growing number of youngsters that adapt radical religious identity in Europe that suffers from high unemployment rate.

The competing trend is new organizational forms that give answers to the social identity needs throughout different practices: WEwork gives a spatial social identity for freelancers. Application developers see themselves as part of a developer’s community, which both Apple and Android companies invest in. Uber gives their drivers social identity which is also enables them to make a living. This leads us to conclude that the new economy that is creating a new labor market will have to confront the problem of social identity. We suggest that there are at a junction leading to two trails. One trail leads to a growing number of the young generation choosing the path of religion as a central source of identity. The second trail is that the new forms of organizations will succeed in building social identity in the freelance world, thus creating a true alternative for people to choose from.

Avi Shnider is Chair of the M.A. Program in Consulting and Organizational Development, School of Behavioral Sciences in the Collage of Management.  Scholar in the field of New Organizational Forms and The Future of Work.

Zafrir Bloch-David  works at  the Department of Psychology in  the College of Management. Scholar inhe field of Probability Judgments, social software and Enterprise2.0 (sharing economy).

Yael Almog Zackai

Conscious Capitalism , Israel

What is Conscious Capitalism?

יעל אלמוג זכאיConscious capitalism is an evolving paradigm for business that simultaneously creates multiple kinds of value and well-being for all stakeholders: financial, intellectual, physical, ecological, social, cultural, emotional, ethical and even spiritual. This new operating system for business is in far greater harmony with the ethos of our times and the essence of our evolving beings. Conscious Capitalism has four principles:

  1. Higher Purpose

In the words of University of Virginia Darden School of Business professor and Conscious Capitalism, Inc trustee Ed Freeman, “We need red blood cells to live (the same way a business needs profits to live), but the purpose of life is more than to make red blood cells (the same way the purpose of business is more than simply to generate profits).”

While making money is essential for the vitality and sustainability of a business, it is not the only or even the most important reason a business exists. Conscious businesses focus on their purpose beyond profit. We all need meaning and purpose in our lives. It is one of the things that separate us from other animals. Purpose activates us and motivates us. It moves us to get up in the morning, sustains us when times get tough and serves as a guiding star when we stray off course. Conscious Businesses provide us with this sense of meaning and purpose. By focusing on its deeper Purpose, a conscious business inspires, engages and energizes its stakeholders. Employees, customers and others trust and even love companies that have an inspiring purpose.

  1. Stakeholder orientation

Pioneering naturalist John Muir observed that “when you tug at a single thing in nature, you find it attached to the rest of the world.” Such is the case with business, which is an intricate and interconnected web of relationships. Unlike some businesses that believe they only exist to maximize return on investment for their shareholders, Conscious Businesses focus on their whole business ecosystem, creating and optimizing value for all of their stakeholders, understanding that strong and engaged stakeholders lead to a healthy, sustainable, resilient business. They recognize that, without employees, customers, suppliers, funders, supportive communities and a life-sustaining ecosystem, there is no business. Conscious Business is a win-win-win proposition, which includes a healthy return

to shareholders.

  1. Conscious Leadership

Robert Greenleaf, author of Servant Leadership observed that “Good leaders must first become good servants.” Conscious Leaders focus on “we”, rather than “me.” They inspire, foster transformation and bring out the best in those around them. They understand that their role is to serve the purpose of the organization, to support the people within the organization and to create value for the all of the organization’s stakeholders. They recognize the integral role of culture and purposefully cultivate a Conscious Culture of trust and care.

  1. Conscious Culture

“Culture eats strategy for lunch.” Famed management guru Peter Drucker didn’t mince words, and knew how to identify and articulate the keys to success in business. Culture is the embodied values, principles and practices underlying the social fabric of a business, which permeate its actions and connects the stakeholders to each other and to the company’s purpose, people and processes. A Conscious Culture fosters love and care and builds trust between a company’s team members and its other stakeholders. Conscious Culture is an energizing and unifying force, which truly brings a Conscious Business to life.

Our presentation will interface and touch some of with the following issues:

  1. How do spiritually driven entrepreneurs define and measure success in their business practice?
  2. How can spiritually driven enterprises survive and flourish in competitive environments?
  3. What are the key characteristics and consequences of caring entrepreneurship?
  4. How do spiritual orientations influence entrepreneurs to developing a caring attitude towards stakeholders?

Yael Almog Zackai

Yael Almog Zackai is  the chairperson and founder of the Israeli chapter of the international Conscious Capitalism movement.

She is a businesswoman, a strategic consultant, A partner at Gitam BBDO where she specializes in corporate strategy, and a philanthropist,

and has a Ph.D in Social/Organizational psychology.

Day 2: 5/9/17

Jacob Raz

  • Professor of  Buddhism, East Asian Studies, Tel Aviv university, ISrael
  • Co-founder of Psycho-Dharma, the school for the study of Buddhis Psychology

Meditation and talk: Empty meditation – the insecure basis for caring

רזProf. Jacob Raz is professor emeritus of Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, and Japanese Culture at the Dept of East Asian Studies, Tel Aviv University, and is one of its founders and former chairman. Prof Raz is the author of many articles, essays, and books on these subjects. His writings range from academic to fiction and poetry. He is also the co-founder of Psycho-Dharma, a school for the study of Buddhist Psychology. Prof Raz is also active in NGO’s in the areas the Arab-Jewish dialogue, and with people with special needs.

In 2006 he received from the Japanese government the decoration of “The Order of the Rising Sun” for his contribution to Japanese studies.

Kevin Jackson

  • Professor of Law and Ethics, Fordham University, New York, USA
  • Thérèse and Daniel Janssen Chair in Mindfulness and CSR, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium

Getting to the Heart of Compassion in Philosophy and Economic Life

kevinMy presentation focuses on the following Conference Issue as framed in the Announcement for the conference: Reflections on the meaning of ‘caring’ as a key concept in business and social action. My paper links philosophical reflection with business-and-society considerations concerning a culture of compassion for economic life.

In the first part of the presentation, the meaning of caring is situated within the connected concepts of compassion, mercy, and beneficence.  The initial sections of the paper explore the philosophical geneology of these notions, revealing them as primordial features of the human condition. In the analysis, I highlight the persistence of several tensions attending the concept of compassion as seen in oppositions of:

  •     Emotion – Reason
  •     Context – Universality
  •     Secular – Religious
  •     Weakness – Strength
  •     Exchange-based – Gift-based
  •     Elemental – Derivative

This section of the paper is structured as follows:

Ancient Thought

Interpretations of compassion in ancient philosophy are controversial.  In Apology, Plato contrasts the emotions triggered by compassion with conduct formed by reason and justice.  In Poetics, Aristotle asserts that the hero’s fate in tragedy impacts our compassion and fear so as to lead to inner catharsis. By contrast, Stoic philosophy portrays compassion as a kind of irrational malady of the soul. Nevertheless Stoicism values such dispositions as assistance, philanthropy and clemency.

Augustine & Aquinas

For these thinkers, compassion is taken as a condition of an unhappy heart in response to the misery of another.  However, compassion and mercy are effective as well as affective dispositions that seek to overcome deprivation and suffering.  Such a portrayal is vital to a comprehension of the compassion and mercy of God.

Modern Thought

Rousseau influences a shift from compassion characterized by caring for concrete individuals toward a universalistic love and caring for humankind.  Whereas for Hegel, compassion extends beyond sympathetic emotion to recognizing the dignity that extends to those in a condition of human suffering. Influenced by Buddhism, Schopenhauer presents compassion as a finding of one’s own within the other, eclipsing division between ‘I’ and ‘You’.  Kant, in alignment with a Stoic rejection of any sensual motivation for compassion that might be based on feelings or emotion, develops instead a rational ethics of obligation.

Postmodern Perspectives

A variety of viewpoints on compassion come from philosophers of this period concerned with critique of prevailing social praxis and economic exchange dynamics, including Levinas, Foucault, Derrida and others.  Ricoeur posits an ideal of justice centered on care and concern for the wellbeing of the other.  This encompasses love that extends past economy of exchange into economy of gift yet involves tension between the two.

The second part of the presentation offers reflection on the implications of the primordial status of compassion, mercy, and beneficence for contemporary business life and its social impact. Early Christian philosophical thought surrounding compassion has influenced European economic and social institutions and human civilization, albeit increasingly in a secular form. I relate these and other reflections offered from the analysis given in Part I to my recent work on Economy of Mutuality as well as to some approaches of others on entrepreneurship.

Kevin Jackson is professor and Daniel Janssen Chair at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management in Brussels, Belgium. He is a scholar in international business ethics, global economic governance, and legal philosophy. His research papers have been published in Business Ethics Quarterly, Journal of Business Ethics, Brooklyn Journal of International Law, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy and Law and Philosophy. His Charting Global Responsibilities: Legal Philosophy and Human Rights (University Press of America, 1994) was presented as a gift to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by the U.S. State Department.

Dr. Mark Kriger

  • Professor Emeritus of Strategic Leadership, Norwegian Business School

Wise Leadership for Entrepreneurial Organizations in Turbulent Times

Mark_Kriger“Where is the Life we have lost in living?

Where is the Wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”

–  T.S. Eliot, from ‘The Rock
The United States, Israel, indeed the entire world, desperately are in need of wise leadership not only in business organizations but also in government institutions.  This need has never been greater – given the increasing levels of economic, political, technological, and social change and interconnectedness.  At the same time, cultures, nations and value systems are vying for attention from the still evolving global civilization.

A major premise of this paper is that formal authority, hierarchical power devoid of compassion and caring, is inadequate by itself to govern effectively and wisely. In relatively stable times, the pool of formal power may suffice to carry forward the mission of an organization but at the expense of long-term organizational and individual health. Especially in turbulent times, leaders need to draw upon the collective wisdom of all of their members to be effective and ethically healthy over the long term. Additionally, the challenges facing organizations are too complex to over-rely on the skills and knowledge of the players at the top. The integral nature of leadership calls for accessing leadership wisdom at all levels. Such an inclusive approach to leadership can address the multifaceted issues in turbulent times faced by organizations.

The paper will cover a number of ways for extending awareness of what is currently ‘known’ in entrepreneurial firms to what is the unknown. The presentation will advocate a set of nine processes, which go beyond the purely rational by encouraging the exploration of the unknown using supra-logical processes. These include the following ways for harnessing and developing wisdom:  1) creative imagination; 2) incremental experimentation; 3) intuition; 4) instinct; 5) inquiry / investigation; 6) insight; 7) intention; 8) inspiration; and 9) interpretation of others.  Correlates of these processes can be found in all the great spiritual traditions that are at the root of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism – as well as the primal religions of Africa, South America, the Aborigines of Australia, and the Maori of New Zealand.

The presentation concludes by addressing a vital question – how can entrepreneurial leaders explore and come to know the unknown facing their organizations over the long term? Having the competence to know how to utilize not only the rational but also the highly intuitive in decision-making is necessary for deep wisdom to develop.  In-depth interviews, conducted with 22 thought-leaders and leaders of firms, will be cited to establish the validity of the final lessons for developing wise leadership in both entrepreneurial and well-established organizations.

Mark Kriger is Professor Emeritus of Strategic Leadership with the Norwegian Business School,  where he has been a Full Professor, 1995-2016.  He earned a Doctorate in Organization and Leadership from Harvard Business School, and Master’s degrees in Computer Science and Philosophy from UC, Berkeley and MIT.

He has published over 40 articles and book chapters on strategic leadership, emotional intelligence, organizational vision, strategy execution and managerial wisdom, published in Academy of Management Journal, Leadership Quarterly, Human Relations, Journal of Management Studies, Strategic Management Journal, and Long Range Planning, among others. He received article-of-the-year-awards from MIT’s Sloan Management Review and Journal of Strategy and Management.

He conducts executive courses in Asia, Europe and North America on leadership, strategy execution, and knowledge processes.  He published the book: ‘Strategic Leadership for Turbulent Times’ (Palgrave-Macmillan) in 2016, and currently is writing:Wise Leadership:  Lessons from the World’s Great Wisdom Traditions.’  He serves on the Editorial Board of Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, and previously Leadership Quarterly.

Henri-Claude de Bettignies

  • The Aviva Chair Emeritus Professor of Leadership and Responsibility, INSEAD, France
  • Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Globally Responsible Leadership,CEIBS, Shangai ,China
  • Visiting Professor,Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, USA

Spirituality and Management Practice, Care Management and Corporate Effectiveness: Fashionable Bedfellows or Paths toward the Future?

bettignies_henri-claude_deThe dysfunctions of the current dominant globalized capitalism are glaring, the ubiquity of digitization and its impact on jobs, on privacy, on society is nurturing anxiety, while the deterioration of our environment induces a fear for tomorrow. Some academics, concerned, are exploring new paths to limit some negative externalities of current corporate behavior, while others have developed original approaches that try to integrate all stakeholders, give more space to the pursuit of the common good and get inspiration from spiritual traditions. Some entrepreneurs – across different cultures – have found in the values of their traditions the humus into which they could sow original management practices, often leading to a growing respect of the person and a different relation with nature. This humus that received the seed of their spirituality did not bring the hubris of their ego – so common today in the obsession and thirst for growth – but rather it did generate a new form of leadership that did not exclude care, compassion and benevolence. “Caring” for instance was not left only as a concern for the health profession or as the selling argument of NGOs doing good across the planet, but it had been integrated as a core competence, as an objective to survive in a (created) blue ocean. Examples from Asia, North America and Europe can illustrate how spirituality has driven successful entrepreneurs on a less-travelled road and learning from those rare examples should be shared. To further the learning, the business school’s role in producing new knowledge in alternative leadership behavior, will be discussed, stressing their responsibility in producing and developing managers and leaders willing to explore the personally rewarding – but challenging – path of “spirituality-guided leadership”. Entrepreneurs who “care”, leaders whose talents are cultivated through “spirituality” will be given as examples, compared to those who only care about growth associated to shares price. A vision of the consequences will be proposed.

Henri-Claude de Bettignies is the Aviva Chair Emeritus Professor of Leadership and Responsibility at INSEAD and Emeritus Distinguished Professor at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) where he created the Euro-China Centre for Leadership and Responsibility in Shanghai (2005). He is teaching every year since 1988 at Stanford (Graduate School of Business), successively a course on international business, on ethics and now on China. He has been teaching Ethics and CSR at INSEAD until 2009. He started INSEAD activities in Asia in 1975 which led to the creation of the Euro Asia Centre eventually making possible INSEAD campus in Asia. Among his recent publications (books) (with F. Lepineux) are: Globalization, Business and the Common Good (2009); Finance for a Better World (2009), with M. Thompson, Leadership Spirituality and the Common Good, (2010) and he is the principal editor of  Practical wisdom for management from the Chinese classical traditions, a special issue of the Journal of Management Development (2011). He recently published (2014) Puissance et responsabilité: où en est la Chine? (Fondation Gulbenkian, Paris).

Pavel Chalupnicek

Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Catholic University of Leuven,  Belgium

Making the Right Difference: Social Entrepreneurship, Conscience, and Common Good

pavelSocial entrepreneurship is usually defined as the use of business techniques to pursue an explicit social goal. In theory, this social goal, or social mission, and its integration in the operations of the social enterprise are supposed to mark the main distinction between social entrepreneurs and their commercial, or profit-oriented, counterparts. In practice, however, the current body of research on social entrepreneurship contains many insights into the everyday functioning of social businesses (setting-up, networking, financing, scaling, impact measurement etc.), but the exploration of the “social” part of the concept has so far attracted surprisingly small amount of attention. In other words, social entrepreneurs can today find out a lot about how to make a difference, but much less is known about what the right difference to be made is. This leads to situations in which crucial ethical questions such as “What are the most pressing social concerns that should be addressed?,” “How to prevent social business from undermining important societal values?,” or “How to handle conflicts of values resulting from the hybrid nature of social enterprises?” are sometimes mentioned in passing, but rarely directly addressed.

In order to overcome this gap, this paper employs the notions of conscience and common good as concepts that can contribute to better ethical discernment by social entrepreneurs. While in contemporary business ethics conscience and common good are often treated as unexplained “black boxes” which lack any analytical potential, this paper argues that this does not have to be the case. To revisit the meaning of these two terms, this paper draws from their understanding in Catholic moral theology, in which conscience and common good are seen as essentially relational. This relational focus can overcome often narrow understanding of ethical decisions as a product of individual rationality. In contrast to such reductionist view, conscience includes not only the element of rationality, but tries to balance it with emotions, moral intuition, and moral imagination.

Moreover, linking ethical decision-making to common good emphasizes the fact that such decisionmaking should be formed and informed by interactions with one’s ethical community, which allows one to engage with inter-personal, social, and spiritual moral sources. It is argued that by taking their conscience and the common good into account in their ethical decision-making, the relational nature of these two concepts can provide social entrepreneurs with the missing meaning of the social.

Pavel Chalupnicek studied economic policy at the University of Economics in Prague (PhD 2009), and theology at the Charles University in Prague (BA 2012) and at the Catholic University in Leuven (MA 2014). He has taught courses on economic policy, economics of religion and economics of the non-profit sector. Currently, he is a PhD student in the Research Unit Theological and Comparative Ethics at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the Catholic University in Leuven. His research interests include social entrepreneurship, Catholic social thought, business ethics, and other areas in which economics and ethics interact.

Noga Levtzion Nadan

  • Greeneye,Israel.

Investment and Womenomics

Levtzion Nadan NogaInvesting holistically means considering all aspects of life when making an investment. This includes not only the potential financial returns but also the social and environmental returns of our investment and the world that we are trying to create. Responsible Investment is an approach to investment that explicitly acknowledges the relevance to the investor of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, and the long-term health and stability of the market as a whole.

It recognises that the generation of long-term sustainable returns is dependent on stable, well-functioning and well governed social, environmental and economic systems.

While Womenomics, the financial power of women, is one of the fastest growing investment themes globally, growing more than China and India together, according to a Morningstar study in 2015 less than 10% of U.S. fund managers are women and they control only 2% of the financial industry’s assets and open-end funds.

This is especially astonishing when considering that, historically, female US investment managers have outperformed their male peers both on an absolute and a risk-adjusted basis. Studies that looked at almost half a million private portfolios demonstrate that in 2007 and the crisis year of 2008, women performed 4% to 6% better than men.

This might be thanks to women’s longer vision, their more holistic view, or their greater interest in ethics, the human aspects of business, and environmental issues. – i.e. the components of Responsible Investment.

This lecture will look at the connection between ethics, environmental and social issues and  investments and how growing interest in gender-lens investment is a way of enjoying new opportunities brought about by the growth in Womenomics.

Noga Levtzion Nadan is the founder and CEO of Greeneye. Greeneye was awarded the 2016 Green Globe award at the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) for “ground-breaking advances in the field of responsible investment in Israel”. Noga has over 15 years of rich experience in consulting on environmental–economic issues to policy-makers, the Israeli government, and the financial and business sectors. Noga specializes in implementing responsible investment strategies within financial institutions and in recent years she, and her colleagues, have introduced several international initiatives to the Israel financial market. She holds a Masters degree from the London School of Economics in Political Science and a BSc in Landscape Architecture from the Technion, Israel. Noga is the author of a book and many publications on environmental economics.

David W. Miller

  • Princeton University, USA.

Bonhoeffer, “Gemeinsames Leben”, and the Question of Trust and Caring

David-W-MillerA topic gaining increased attention in recent scholarly research on business and corporate culture is the concept of “trust.” As the call for papers of this gathering states, “It is known that economies with high levels of trust among people flourish more than societies with low levels of and trust.” The economic dynamics and ramifications of this statement are important to explore. Equally, if not more intriguing, is to reflect upon whether or not we can articulate what “trust” looks like and how it might be nurtured in differing social fields, particularly business, which is characterized by a curious mixture of collaboration and competition. What is trust in a commercial context? How is it built? How is it lost? Can it be recovered? And, if so, how so? It is precisely here, at the conceptual and linguistic level, I suggest, where spirituality and faith traditions can aid the research and practice of trust in business and economics.

In this paper, I reconsider the social setting and rhetorical force of Gemeinsames Leben (Life Together) by the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a resource for contemporary discussions on the nature of trust and caring. Gemeinsames Leben is Bonhoeffer’s sustained reflection upon living against the tyranny of hatred and suspicion. The text, of course, is profoundly Christo-centric in its partitioning of the world. Nevertheless, Bonhoeffer offers an intriguing logic in terms of what constitutes oikonume and trust. In this paper, I will explore his operative and constitutive logic, and consider its possible application to business contexts and issues as raised in this conference (e.g. organizational approaches to caring, social well-being, and sustainability).

The paper will consist of three broad movements. First, a brief engagement with recent research on “trust” within business and economic scholarship will be surveyed. Second, the social setting and main argument of Gemeinsames Leben will be outlined, specifically as it relates to questions of trust and caring. Finally, some tentative proposals will be made on how the ethical logic of Gemeinsames Leben can be appropriated into the communal and competitive context of business enterprises.

David W. Miller is director of the Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative. He also serves as president of The Avodah Institute. Before joining Princeton his previous appointment was at Yale University, where he served as the executive director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture, and taught at both the Divinity School and School of Management of Yale University. David Miller brings an unusual “bilingual” perspective to the corporate world  and the academia. Before receiving his Ph.D. in ethics, he spent 16 years in senior executive positions in international business and finance. He is the author of God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement (2006, Oxford University Press). Alongside his work at Princeton, David serves as an advisor to CEOs and senior executives in matters pertaining to ethics, values, leadership, and faith at work.

Katalin Illes

  • University of Westminster Business School, London, UK

Jennifer Wascak

  • Social justice activist, London,UK

Caring for the Other

katalin_illes_july_14This paper asks ethical questions about the responsibilities towards refugees and offers case study and direct observation evidence of current barriers to integration that refugees and asylum seekers experience in the East of London. The potential benefits for individuals and communities who choose to take an active part in supporting the integration process are also outlined.

jeniferThe researchers frame the refugee crisis as a moral choice that members of the host countries need to make individually and collectively. It will be argued that the way we think about the refugees and asylum seekers will impact on our actions and the level of responsibility we are prepared to take for their well-being.

Martin Buber (1937) suggests that “The world is twofold for man in accordance with his twofold attitude. The attitude of man is twofold in accordance with the two basic words he speaks.” (p.53.)

The basic words are the word pairs: ‘I-You’, and ‘I-It’. There is a major difference between these two attitudes. “The basic word I-You can only be spoken with one’s whole being. The basic word I-It can never be spoken with one’s whole being.” (p.54.)

When one’s attitude is ‘I-It’ the other is objectified. When the attitude is ‘I-You’ we stand in relation to the other. This clear distinction sheds some light on one’s moral agency, self-regulation or disengagement of moral agency.

Albert Bandura (2016) argues that moral agency is inhibitive and proactive. The inhibitive form stops one from behaving inhumanely and “the proactive form, grounded in a humanitarian ethic, is manifested in compassion for the plight of others and efforts to further their well-being often at a personal cost.” (Rorty, 1993. quoted in Bandura, 2016. p. 1-2.) Social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986) suggests that human functioning is a product of the interplay between personal influences, the behaviour individuals engage in, and the environmental forces that impinge on them.

One of the researchers worked as a volunteer at a charity supporting refugees and asylum seekers in the East of London. She collected rich data through observation and semi-structured interviews.

The findings suggest that there are a number of barriers to integration. These barriers cannot be overcome simply by the efforts of the refugees and asylum seekers. They need the active, willing and coordinated support of individuals from the host country, government bodies, civic organisations and charities.

When refugees are invited to an ‘I-You’ relationship and receive human to human support from individuals they have a good chance to become an integral part of civic society and contribute to the growth of the community and the economy. For this to become a norm the host country needs to take more responsibility, develop integrated approaches and act with unified moral commitment to help refugees and asylum seekers.

Katalin Illes is a Principal Lecturer in Leadership and Development at the University of Westminster in London. Her combined background in business and humanities studies gives her a unique perspective on leadership. She is a widely-published academic on ethics, trust, values and leadership, presents at events internationally and works as a consultant. A Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Katalin has developed academic partnerships between UK universities and Higher Education institutions in Denmark, India, Hungary, Malaysia and Switzerland.

Jennifer Wascak is an experienced attorney and organisational leader who gave up a comfortable lifestyle and successful career to break out of the “USA bubble” and work to promote social justice in the international community.  She works hard and gets things done by identifying and working with stakeholders at all levels. This last year she got her MBA, spent a month in Africa researching water source governance, single‐handedly raised funds to construct a well for a village that needed one, and helped 50+ refugees and asylum seekers in London struggling with integration barriers.

Jacques Cory

  • businessman, Israel

Academic Proof that Ethics Pays

CORY JACQUESMany unethical businessmen and politicians are trying to refute that ethics does pay, as we have to live according to the jungle’s laws, to Machiavellian precepts, the survival of the fittest (the crookest?), that sustainability is a myth, that the company has only one purpose to maximize profits/valuation, that the most profitable companies are also the most corrupt, etc.

I have decided to devise an index, which integrates 50 of the most salient and unequivocal parameters and gives a common determination to countries’ performance. I calculate the average ranking of every country in all those parameters, in the same period, with a large number of countries in each table. As the countries with the best ranks and scores are also the most ethical and have a very strong statistical correlation it proves my thesis that Ethics Pays.

Cory’s Index comprises 50 parameters – tangible and intangible, data, values, quantitative and qualitative, with a balanced distribution between its components. To the best of my knowledge no other index comprises such a varied and large list of parameters and it gives in the most salient way the status of the country from all its angles, based on data gathered by the best sources – UN, CIA, World Economic Forum, World Bank, and well-known institutes.

The 50 parameters include quantitative parameters, such as GDP Per-Capita, GDP Growth Rate, Industrial Production Growth Rate, Gross National Saving, Budget Surplus or Deficit, Net Government Debt, Inflation Rate, Current Account Balance, The Size of the Shadow Economy, Global Competitiveness, International Innovation, Ease of Doing Business, Financial Development, Soundness of Banks, Credit Rating, Globalization, Networked Readiness, Poverty, GDP Per Hour Worked, Economic Freedom, Unemployment Rate, etc.

But they include also qualitative & social parameters, such as Education, Health, Democracy, Human Development Index, Income Inequality/Distribution of Family Income/Gini Index, Distribution of Wealth/Wealth Per-Capita, Quality of Life and Wellbeing, Culture and Media Composite Parameter, Gender Inequality, Social Progress, Global Peace, Fragile States Index, Human Freedom, Press Freedom, Environmental Performance, Ranking of Happiness, etc.

I compare Cory’s Index to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index in 2014. I have found in my analysis of TI’ indices over the years that there are very few changes in the ranking of ethical countries (about 40, scored 60+). But as I wanted that the periods surveyed would concur as much as possible to TI’s Index, I have included in Cory’s Index the most recent data, mainly from the last decade, and in most of the cases for the period of 2012-2014.

I have managed to prove that all the first 13 ethical countries in TI’s Index are exactly the same as the first 13 countries in Cory’s Index: Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Australia and Germany, with only one exception. And the Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient correlation between the two indices in all the 38 ethical countries scored 60 and more is very high: Rho is 0.757.

Jacques Cory is an international businessman specializing in M&A, a pioneering author in business ethics and was a lecturer at the Universities of Haifa, Tel Aviv, INSEAD, the Technion. Cory held senior positions in the Israeli high tech industry, wrote over 100 business plans, and has initiated mergers, turnaround plans, and know-how agreements in the US, Europe and Israel. Cory is the author of articles and academic books published in the US at Kluwer and Springer (minority shareholders), Mellen (sustainable society), and in Israel at Magnes (textbook based on case studies, films and plays), a novel and a play.

Ora Setter

  • Tel Aviv university, Faculty of Social Sceinces
  • Former head of Lahav, the executive education center of TAU

Cold care, warm care, contracts and covenants


Mali Nevo

  • The Coller School of Management,Tel-Aviv University, Israel.

The Eco Appreciation Perspective: Moving towards a Sustainable Future

mali-nevo-180The transformation toward a sustainable world is a major challenge of our time. This challenge has received a growing attention over the last decades by social entrepreneurs, community leaders, policy makers, educators, international organizations and others. This transformation encompasses the multidimensional aspects of human welfare, communities thriving and ecosystems resilience. It also contains concerns for interdisciplinary issues such as future generations, health and wellbeing, clean energy and water, green growth economy, social-environmental justice, climate actions, biodiversity, etc. (SDG , 2015).

I regard this substantial transformation as rooted in our various human-nature relationships. The literature concerning human-nature relationships has grown over recent decades. Some considers it as a significant source for hope, inspiration, healing and a spiritual growth for both humans and the planet Erath (Macy & Johnstone, 2012; Louv, 2008, Berger & Mcleod, 2006, Abram, 1997, Roszak, 1993, Seed et al., 1988).

It seems that this literature was developed out of authors’ ability to appreciate nature and to express their ecological-self. However, not much attention has been given to that aspect. I consider this ability a more generic concept, which I call the Eco-Appreciation Perspective (EAP). EAP is – a holistic framework that refers to the individual’s self-ecosystem awareness, emotions, identity and actions, which encompass both the self and the eco-system existence. It is an ability that can be acquired, based on an active choice to appreciate our relations with nature in a deep positive ecological way. I also regard EAP as an integral component for people, organizations and social systems to achieve multilevel transformations. Korten (2006) named this transformation “The Great Turning” which defines the shift from the industrial growth society toward a sustainable society.

This lecture aims to address EAP concept and its characteristics. I demonstrate how nature-therapy approach (Berger, 2016) can be a useful framework for developing EAP and practicing it. I present how EAP can change the way we perceive the role of organizations and new initiatives in our lives and how it creates the basis for eco-appreciate entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs are characterized by self-ecosystem awareness, ‘eco-caring’, collaborative skills, ability to dream a sustainable future, co-create it and share it with others.

Finally, I describe how by adopting EAP we can start walking along the “blooming path” toward a sustainable future: A mutual ongoing evolving path of holistic human-nature relationships – be inspired by nature, encounter with nature, take care for nature, feel, heal and act as part of a whole living ecosystem.

Mali Nevo is a Ph.D student in The Coller School of Management at Tel-Aviv University with a concentration in sustainability, Cleantech industry, Nature therapy and social responsibility. She is a qualified Nature Therapy facilitator; Mali co-initiated and leads the Tel Aviv University Academic Forum for Sustainability Sciences (TAFSS). Her dissertation focuses on the Israeli Cleantech industry and its ecosystem’s development.

Andras Ocsai

  • Business Ethics Center, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

Value Orientation of Ecologically Conscious Businesses

Andras OcsaiBackground. We live in the Anthropocene, the era of deepening social and ecological crises. For the negative tendencies, mostly the mainstream economic model is responsible. In order to restore the natural environment, new forms of progressive business models, integration of business and ethical perspectives, respect for ecological values, and ecologically consciousness in business seem to be indispensable.

Aims. The planned presentation aims at showing the main theoretical and empirical findings of a PhD study on ecologically conscious businesses. Initial definition: ecologically conscious businesses are able and willing to operate in alternative ways compared to the prevailing economic system putting ecological aspects in the focus of their operation. Research questions: (1) What are the theoretical concepts of ecologically conscious businesses, what are the differences and similarities? (2) What kind of value orientation, motivational background do Hungarian ecologically conscious businesses have? (3) How are they able to sustain or even prosper in present economic conditions? What kind of working business models do they have? (4) What are their original raison d’etre? (5) How do they define and measure success?

Method. Qualitative research design is applied with less structured approach. After reviewing relevant literature of ecological consciousness, unstructured and semi-structured in-depth interviews have been and will be conducted with Hungarian ecologically conscious entrepreneurs, managers selected by expert sample. Collection and analysis of printed and electronic company documents and information from external sources (media, authorities, customers) complete the data from interviews. The methods of data analysis are qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis.

Expected results. More precise definition of ecologically conscious businesses and deeper understanding of their values and practices are expected. Value orientation seems to be rooted in the owners’, leaders’ personal commitments, intrinsic motivation, superhuman natural law or deep respect for Nature/God/the source of life. Their definitions of success are expected to be multidimensional. The financial profit is not ultimate aim but means for long-term operation considering the well-being of all their stakeholders. Greater diversity among background values and business models is likely to be found, but root motivation may converge.

Implications and future research. To further study, identify and promote sustainable management behavior in business contributing to efforts of Future Earth (www.futureearth.org), a UN global research platform designed to generate knowledge necessary to support the transformation towards global sustainability. To further study ecological consciousness in business in order to better understand the nature of radical change greatly needed in dominant materialistic economic mindset.

Andras Ocsai worked for several companies and also in the public sector after graduation at the Corvinus University of Budapest in 2002. Then, he found his way back to his alma mater and started his Ph. D. studies in 2012 under the supervision of László Zsolnai. The title of his thesis is ‘Value orientation of ecologically conscious businesses’. He also takes part in the activities of several public benefit organizations dealing with studying, teaching and promotion of business ethics, classical philosophy, western and eastern traditions, or Bhutanese culture.

Ra’anan Haas

  • Noa Systems Institute, Israel

 Giving the intangible, that behaves opposite to the tangible, monetary value: this is the new economy

Haas RaananI will demonstrate using an algorithm mediated by unique software that can give numerical and monetary value to human capital and personal attributes. Using this example, I will illustrate the possibility that it is possible to measure and evaluate the abstract/the intangible.

The intangible behaves completely different and completely opposite to the tangible which complicates the calculation – this is the new economy.

 The question of whether abstract/intangible, spiritual things have economic value? And can it be measured? If it can be measured, what does it mean? Is this still considered spiritual?

The traditional economy is engaged in the material, in the tangible. The traditional economy knows how to deal with shortages, calculate and manage what is about to end. But there are also abstract “things” that must be managed and made sure that they are not in short supply. Is it possible to manage “abstract” (the intangible) things like “material” things?

Traditional economics find it difficult to value and manage the abstract because the abstract is very difficult to measure, and because it is not necessarily acts as the traditional economy assumes. In general, the traditional economy assumes many assumptions that actually do not allow for real prediction, so in my opinion, in historical analysis it seems that the prediction of economists is random in comparison to the prediction of psychologist.

Also, it is reasonable to assume that the traditional economy can predict the value of a vehicle coming out of the production line. First of all, it is possible to calculate the value of the vehicle according to the cost of its parts and to add the profit that the business wants to earn. Of course, if there is a change in reputation it therefore disturbs the demand that affect the price and which produce a degree of uncertainty.

But let’s take another example, perhaps a bit morbid, suppose we can assemble a person from his parts. In such a case, what would be its value? Suppose there is value to every part of the body? It does not appear that the formula suitable for the settlement of the value of a vehicle will be appropriate for this case.

Measuring the value of the abstract, which does not actually act as a material, is a complex problem that modern man has to deal with and manage. This is a problem that is very characteristic of those in the organizations that manage the abstract, namely human resource managers.

I will introduce a technology based on a psychological-mathematical model that enables measurement and evaluate human abilities in monetary value, in order to provide tools and language that will be clearer to the material economists. This model allows to give value to human capital. Calculate the complexity of the role as a kind of inner job (in-service) intelligence. To actually calculate the value of a role or part of a role, that is, the value of abilities and skills with monetary value. Measuring the value of the abstract may also have meaning in the world of information. How do we measure the value of information?

Ra’anan Haas is senior social, vocational & organizational psychologist with great interest in technology. He found that a combination of psychology and technology can produce value. Haas has a BA and MA in Psychology and a BA in Economics. Owner and Chief Psychologist of Noa Systems Ltd. Former Chairman of the Social, vocational and Organizational Division of the Israel Psychological Association. Former member of the IPPA secretariat and editor of the journal “Organizational Development in Israel”. He has done many studies and published about 20 research papers.

Imre Ungvári Zrínyi

  • Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania

Perspectives about Spirituality and Authentic Human Relations – Martin Buber, Tomáš Sedláček and Jeremy Rifkin


When searching for the roots of today’s anomic social phenomena (issues such as market failure, poverty, alienated and precarious work, consumerist life orientation and environmental degradation), we can observe that people’s present way of being is intimately linked to the self image of modern societies, to the forms and the ways their practices are held together by a common understanding captured in the notion of the “social imaginary” (Charles Taylor). Such imaginaries include: man as a self interested creature who seeks to maximize his advantages; the idea that the economic collaboration and exchange is the main purpose and agenda of society; the overall primacy of the market; “the dogma of continuous growing”. If we decide to reject viewing our life in these conventional terms, we cant’ help but look for new guiding ethical and spiritual imaginaries.

My paper presents Martin Buber’s philosophy as a potential source of inspiration for an ethical revival in contemporary philosophy and a source for decreasing influence of these non productive contemporary social imaginaries. Buber’s philosophy and his criticism directed towards the objectifying attitudes (instrumental rationality), his commitment to dialogic authenticity delineates guidelines for an essential turn in the thinking about man’s status and his legitimate purposes in the realm of economy, politics and culture, including his life with the natural environment. Buber’s philosophy influenced some contemporary theories about the sources and meaning of economic and social cooperation, such as the theories of Tomáš Sedláček and Jeremy Rifkin. Sedláček, in his bestseller “Economics of Good and Evil”, refers to Buber as a thinker who redefines the Cartesian conception of man by introducing the idea of individuals meeting with other individuals. Sedláček comes up with a considerable new view of economics as a moral science. Against people’s tendency to permanently maximize, and therefore to work beyond the justification of producing what meets human needs, he suggests the necessity of a so called Sabbath Economics, which allows time both for work, contemplation, and the enjoyment of work’s results. Jeremy Rifkin challenges the current economic thinking in another way. He considers that people are not just – as the Enlightenment philosophers suggested – “materialistic, self-interested, utilitarian, pleasure seeking” creatures, but also empathic beings who have the ability to show solidarity with each other, and also towards their fellow creatures who they share both the planet and the attribute of mortality with. The theories of Buber, Sedláček and Rifkin outline different perspectives, but they are sympathetic in making difference between  proper and alienated human relations in life and economics, introducing through this a possible sense of the good life without reference to a perfect society. They have made important steps to groove our sense of relatedness and our willingness to grow empathic collaboration. When revising their theories and trying to apply their ideas there arises the imperative of re-thinking the sense and role of contemporary economics in the frame of social collaboration.

Imre Ungvári-Zrínyi was born in 1960, in Târgu Mureş, Romania. He is an Associate Professor in General and Applied Ethics at the “Babes-Bolyai” University Cluj, Romania. He got his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Values in 1999. His basic publications include the following:

Introduction in Ethics. 2006, Bucharest,  Ed. Didactică şi Pedagogică, Basic Concepts of Applied Ethics. Bioethics, Business Ethics, Ethics of Public Service, Media Ethics. 2007, University Workshop, Bolyai Society, Cluj, Moral Philosophy. 2008, University Workshop, Bolyai Society, Cluj, “Dialogic Ethics for Business” In: Zsolnai, L., Boda, Zs. & Fekete, L. (eds.) Ethical Prospects – Economy, Society and Environment, 2009. Springer Verlag and “Factors of Crisis and/or Perspectives of Responsibility”In: Imre Ungvári-Zrínyi and Veress Károly (eds.): Experience of Crisis and Ethical Perspectives, 2011. Cluj University Press.

Gyöngyi Major

  • independent economist, Budapest, Hungary

The Identity and Happiness of the Economic Actors

’Being in accord with Tao, he is eternal,

And his whole life is preserved from harm.’

(Lao Tzu: The Tao Te Ching)

A basic assumption of this study is that the approach of the economics of our days has become entirely self-centred as a result of its narrow time horizon. The subject of modernity, par excellence, is the absolutely free creator of the present, he or she has reduced  responsibility to his or her “own” moment, thus completely detached himself ot herself from the chains of events of temporal and spatial existence. I  consider the system of relations between the individualism-focused model of existence and the (profane) materialistic concept of existence to be of outstanding importance in this context.

In this context that we ought to examine whether the premises of the modern individualistic world concept, the system of axioms of the self-centred and self-interest-driven paradigm can be left behind, in an attempt to reinterpret the identity of the economic actors along the axes of temporal dimensions. We also set out to outline the logical space of relations in which man’s perception of time, world concept and value creation  can be interpreted and understood.

A precondition of a model of well-being that is sustainable in space and time is a world concept whose structure of aspects covers the entire conceivable environment, and whose identity concept embraces reflective identifying with communities, past and future alike. The broader the context is in which man can interpret himself or herself and his or her acts in space and time, the more clearly man can see the consequences of his or her acts,  learn from them.

Thus the question is how the individual can extend the interpretation of well-being from inside to outside , without objectifying  himself or herself or/and his or her system of relations of existence – moreover, how he or she can give meaning in a universal and complex interaction.

For the reasons outlined above, I propose a presentation of the conventional content meant by the notions of ‘life quality’ and ‘happiness’ over a broader horizon and, at the same time, to interpret these  concepts in a broader interrelations of existence – which, in turn, requires the perception of identity along the coordinates of “eternity”. Consequently, I consider that the system of principles of the cosmic well-being can be mapped over the expanded self-image of the subject.

The revitalisation of society and the economy and man’s rediscovery of his way to the cosmic order can be inspired and supported by giving priority to values like sympathy, spiritual balance and cosmic responsibility. Subsisting on these values, man can interpret himself or herself and his or her existence in a new or, alternatively, in an ancient way –As a projection of these, it is through the mapping of this identity that the reinterpreted paradigm of the economy and economic management can be outlined. This is a monumental discourse, whose concept goes beyond the materialistic development concept and the individualistic approach to welfare and well-being and, in a cosmic aspect, gives meaning to the notion of the sustainable balance between the individual and his natural and social environment.

We raised the idea that the time-embeddedness of the economic model should be paid more attention in addressing a rather complex problem, i.e. the definition of development indices and the interpretation of the concepts of well-being, to trigger an exciting discourse. It would likewise be important to contemplate if temporal existence has a real distinguished  feature with respect to nature and culture.

Gyöngyi Major has a PhD in economic science and is a member of the Public Body of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. She was a collaborator at the Institute of Economic Sciences in Belgrade, Educons University, as well as a member of several international projects. She has worked in a joint project with the University of South Carolina and the United Nations University, in the East-East Programme and in the Research for New Paradigms project. She investigates human development and man’s cosmic identity. In her spare time, she studies the history of art and the Egyptian and Sanskrit language.

Galia Cukierman

  • Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

 Growing a Better Future for Our World

גליה צוקרמןIn a world that globalization is taking such a central venue, there is a need to look at the roots of our society and to re-connect with them. The re-connection with our society’s roots are fulfilled through the roots of our food growing.

In a world that more than 50% of the population live in cities, we should bring the food growing into the urban area and to plant many projects of Urban Agriculture. Urban Agriculture give the people the possibility in a daily basis to reconnect to food growing. It changes the current food chain toward a local production and more developed local economy. It helps to reach a better food security and healthier nutrition which have a direct impact on public health.

The design of a city which implements urban agriculture is also changing towards a green city where the buildings are becoming “growing building” where you see more green plants than cement in its outside facades. The roofs of those cities became a landscape of growing food and there are more gardens that the public can come and practice gardening and growing food skills which have a good influent on their mentality.

In conclusion, Urban agriculture changes the hole environment of the city towards healthier cleaner and happier place to live in. In fact, the connection with growing food is growing a better future for our world.

Galia Cukierman is lecturing in the Hebrew University in Quality and Sustainability Management & Urban Agriculture and rewarded as “The Best Professor” many times. She is consulting to leading food and drugs companies in Israel and aboard. She implemented the environmental requests for the food in the Kneset (Israeli parliament). Galia is a leader for a change in society by being a TEDx organizer, Member of The National HQ For Urbanism and co-founder of a forum for professional women.

Knut Ims

  • NHH – Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen, Norway

Nature, Economics, and Caring Leadership Illustrated by Patagonia

s1146The paper states that the physical world and the earth to a large extent have been neglected in modern economics. For economists the concept of earth has been wide, often being referred to as the world, the forces of nature, and the natural environment. However, in the pre-modern area, the economists were concerned about agriculture. One of the sub disciplines was “Land Economics” (Ely and Wehrwein 1940, 1984). In the writings from the 1920, a comprehensive literature exists on labor and capital, but not of the land. Land was exclusively a factor of production often included in the concept of Capital, and a property relation similar to other property relations. The main interests was the prices natural resources, and the nature was almost exclusively looked at as an infinite resource. Ely and Wehrwein (op.Cit) argue that physical reality can be separated from property relations, and should be paid attention to on its own premises. Such a position would promote a long-run perspective and countervail the devaluation of future generations. Daly and Cobb (1989) concludes that economics as a discipline has been abstracted from the physical world, which is a strong example of misplaced concreteness.

The paper will partly follow Daly and Cobb (1989) and contrast the negligence of the earth in mainstream economics by looking at ancient views of the earth.  In ancient time, the earth was life-giver and sources of all that was good.  It was the production factor par excellence. However, it was also something beyond that. Man belonged to the earth, honored it and received the earth’s output with high regard. The earth includes all the plants and animals, which are possessed in common with humans. The paper will dig deeper into the different views of the land through the history, in particular describe the original Jewish and Christian traditions. Occasionally there are enlightened discussions amongst influential philosophers like John Stuart Mills in who writes that when the rights to private property to the land not promote its purpose, then it is unjust (1973, pp 232 -33).

How to change this neglect of land in economics and business to foster a loving relationship towards the earth and a caring economy? In addition to draw on the aforementioned Jewish and Christian traditions, views on “Caring economics”, where the training of altruism and compassion are central, will be introduced (see Singer and Ricard 2015). Such an approach will have implications of leadership practices. One of the problems in contemporary business is a lack of necessary trust. George (2015) cites a study done at Harvard that shows that two out of three do not trust their leaders, their values, or the leaders’ ethics. However, the mandate is to serve people. The root cause of the problem is probably that leaders have placed their self-interest ahead of their responsibility to the organizations and to the public. The prevalence of extrinsic motivation has crowded out the drive for inner peace (George, 2015, p 177).

A third inspiring source will be Land Ethics by Leopold (1981). According to Leopold, ethics has so far evolved based upon a single premise that the individual is a member of “a community of inter-dependent parts”. Leopold’s land ethic enlarges the boundaries of the community and include soils, waters, plants, and animals, which he collectively refers to as “the land”.  A fourth inspiring source will be Pope Francis’s encyclical letter “on care for our common come”, which in a strong way criticizes modern anthropocentrism and argues for ecological citizenship and the intrinsic dignity of the world (Francis, 2015).

Finally, the paper will introduce and describe the clothing company Patagonia in California as one paradigmatic example of how to combine business and a caring for the earth (see Patagonia (2017). The founder, Yvon Chouinard try foster ecological conscience into the company by a number of ways (Hanh, 2007). The growth of the company is not impressive, but the philosophy of the company is contrary to mainstream big business.  Fortune and Working Mother magazines has named Patagonia one of the hundred best companies in US to work for, and Patagonia has donated more than 22 million dollar since 1985. One of its initiatives was to support the health of the oceans. Chouinard is inspired by Buddhism, and says that the business world was “the perfect place I found to apply Zen Philosophy…”.

Knut Ims is professor in business ethics at the Department of Strategy and Management at the Norwegian School of Economics. He has a PhD from The School of Economics and Legal Science, Gothenburg University, Sweden. His recent publications include Business and the Greater Good. Rethinking Business Ethics in an Age of Crisis. (with L.J.T. Pedersen, 2015, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, Northampton, MA). “Product as process – Commodities in Mechanic and Organic Ontology” in Ecological Economics, 110 (2015) pp 11-14 (with Ove Jakobsen and L. Zsolnai), “Deep Ecology and Personal Responsibility” in L. Zsolnai (Ed.): The Spiritual Dimension of Business Ethics and Sustainability (Springer, 2015).

János Vargha

  • independent environmentalist, Budapest, Hungary

The Human—River Relationship in the 21st Century

VarghaThe 20th century ended with a noble gesture of mankind toward rivers damned by large dams or threatened by building new ones: the multi-stakeholders’ World Commission on Dams (WCD) initiated by the World Bank and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in 1998, published its final report in 2000, entitled ‘Dams and Development: a new framework for decision-making’. Although the reception was not completely positive – i.e. the World Bank itself refused to adopt the report ¬  the WCD’s recommendations, including recognition of all stakeholders rights to take part in the decision-making processes, inevitably contributed to the strengthening position of river defenders and might play a role in a downturn of dam construction in the first decade of the 21st century. This was more or less coincided with spreading of river restoration and its ultimate form, dam removals, at least in the case of small rivers and small dams.

However, the decline of dam construction proved to be temporary. The dam builders not only regained, but it also strengthened their positions. A number of new dams have been completed, many are under construction and even more is planned. A number of dam projects, in spite of they are not renewable as irreversibly destroy ecosystem, are partially financed from sources of Clean Development Mechanism devoted to mitigate global warming. Dam projects are frequently associated with corruption and supported non-democratic regimes. Scientific assessments of this new hydropower boom warn of serious consequences: almost total fragmentation of ecosystems of most major river networks of the globe and further damage of freshwater ecosystems which has already suffered the greatest damage in the biosphere. Moreover, a number of researches concluded that large reservoirs are among the major sources of greenhouse gases.

In my lecture I will analyse this unfavorable phenomena in a broader context, as it coincides with increasing attacks against civil society groups defending of environment and human rights; revival of nationalism and extreme right movements; weakening of democracy and multilateral institutions; and last but not least the strengthening defense actions of outdated brutal force technologies: their counter-revolution against environmentally promising new technologies, like solar and wind power generation, which would contribute to the mitigation of global warming.

Such new technologies, its entrepreneurs and financing institutions may be allies of scientists and environmental activists working for the conservation and restoration of ecological assests of rivers, and provide together viable alternatives of hydropower dam projects, just like of fossil fuels. However, this cooperation can not be isolated from the political environment. Defending rivers requires defending democracy.

Janos Vargha is an environmentalist and photographer. A graduate from the József Attila University, Szeged, with Master’s degree in biology. From 1981 he writes articles and delivers lectures about the environmental issues of the water management and constructions. He is a founder of the Danube Circle, the first independent environmental protest group in the former communist block, recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel-prize in 1985. In 1990 he was awarded with the Goldman Environmental Prize. He is editor of a book, published in 1997, about the decision of the International Court of Justice in the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros hydropower project’s case, and author of its chapter about hydropolitics. From 1998 he was the chief environmental advisor of the Hungarian government. In 2000 he resigned from this position. Now he works as a photographer and web developer. He writes and gives lectures about river issues, and studies options to replace hydropower projects with rapidly developing solar and wind power technologies.

3rd day – 6/9/17

Garry Jacobs  – Distinguished keynote speaker

  • CEO of WAAS – World Academy of Arts and Sciences

A consciousness approach to Management, economics and life


This presentation draws on insights from Sri Aurobindo’s integral perspective of spirituality and life illustrated by examples from business, economy and social life.

Both science and spirituality share a common aim – the pursuit and application of knowledge. The knowledge pursued by science today is objective, fragmented, compartmentalized, materialistic, mechanistic, reductionist, and value-neutral. Both economics and business are products of this partial, splintered conception and perception of life. The pressing challenges confronting humanity today are a result of the way we think about reality. The knowledge pursued by spirituality is value-based, organic, holistic, and integrated. It encompasses and unifies the objective and subjective dimensions of reality.

A new paradigm in economic and management theory is needed to support a new paradigm in human development. It must view both these activities as subsets and integral components of the society in which they exist and which they are intended to serve, so as to release, direct and harness the enormous untapped social potential to promote higher levels of human welfare and well-being. It must also encompass the microcosm of human talents, capacities and skills to release and channel the energies and abilities of each individual to fully realize their highest aspirations and potentials. Organization is the key middle term in both cases – the organization of economy and the organization of the company – that needs to be transformed to become a fully effective instrument for human and social development.

Knowledge is power and the ultimate measure of the effectiveness of our knowledge is the capacity of the inner consciousness over the outer life, the power to make life respond to consciousness, which is also the ultimate expression of spiritual power.

Consciousness expresses as values, which are spiritual skills. The higher the values, the greater the power for a growing harmony and unification of the material and spiritual ends of our existence, which together hold the key to our ultimate spiritual fulfilment in life.

Garry Jacobs is  the  Chief Executive Officer of the World Academy of Art & Science (USA), an international think tank founded by eminent intellectuals in 1960; Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of World University Consortium (USA); Managing Editor of Cadmus Journal on economics, education, international security and global governance; Vice-president of The Mother’s Service Society (India), a social science research institute based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo; Distinguished Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Institute for Person-Centered Approach (Italy), the country’s largest educational institution for post-graduate studies in Psychology; and a full member of the Club of Rome (Switzerland), an international think-tank focused on economy and ecology.

Jacobs was also co-founder and Member Secretary of the International Commission on Peace & Food from 1989-1994, chair of ICPF’s task force on employment and principal editor of its report to the UN Uncommon Opportunities: Agenda for Peace & Equitable Development. He was co-author of a strategy to generate 100 million new jobs in India within 10 years which was adopted as official policy by the Government of India. He has also published more than 100 articles on management, economics, national and international development, security, law and global governance.

Caring entrepreneurship stories

Social Finance Israel 

Yaron NeudorferSocial Finance Israel (SFI) was founded in 2013 as a not-for-profit with the aim of improving the delivery of measurable social outcomes, through development and deployment of financial and social innovations.

SFI is part of the Social Finance Global Network, the world’s leading social-financial intermediary group. The company is chaired by Sir Ronald Cohen and led by CEO Yaron Neudorfer. SFIs team is comprised of professionals with diverse backgrounds and extensive experience within the public and private sectors, investments and social research. Our board of directors reflects the hybrid nature of our activities, consisting of 1st tier professionals from both the private sector and the social sector, who provide the vast experience needed for the organization to flourish.

Yaron Neudorfer is the founder and CEO of Social Finance Israel . Peviously he served for seven years as CFO of The Jewish Agency, the largest not-for-profit organization in the country, overseeing a budget of more than $400M and responsible for all fiscal, financial and budgetary considerations of the organization and its subsidiary companies (some are for-profit). Prior to joining the Jewish Agency, Yaron served for 12 years in various positions in the Israeli Ministry of Finance, overseeing projects within social areas such as healthcare and education.

In his final position at the Ministry of Finance, he was stationed in New York City, representing the Israeli Government vis-à-vis credit rating agencies and implementing the borrowing program of the State of Israel in the Western hemisphere, through various vehicles including retail bonds (Israel Bonds organization), sovereign credit and loan guarantees. Yaron holds his BA in Accounting and Economics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and his Master in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Women wage peace

Women movement, that works throughout the country to raise awareness and engage the public in a discussion about the feasibility of a political resolution for the situation in the middle east. It creates opportunities for dialogue with individuals and groups through formal and informal meetings within the community. The movement also organizes national events, such as demonstrations and protests, in order to pressure decision makers to work toward reaching a viable peace agreement.

ורדית קפלןVardit Kaplan –  holds a BA and MA with honors in Psychology and business administration from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. For 20 years Vardit worked for the Israeli ministry of tourism, fulfilling a series of important roles, including: managing the ministry’s budget,  ministry’s spokeswoman,  ministry VP, and holding the post of consul in NYC.  After leaving the ministry Vardit filled several key position in the private sector, Today she owns her own company, focusing on consulting and investment in the real-estate and tourism fields.

Vardit is one one of the founders  of Women Wage Peace movement. She served on the steering committee and right now she is the head of the  training committee.

FullSizeRenderRehab Talal Abd Elhalem  – Rehab has ​ a PhD. In Education. ​She  was both a teacher and a school principal from 1970-2007. Dr. Elhalem is the founder and first director of the experimental elementary school “Alroa”, a regional school that combines children with special needs from all religions – Muslims, Jews and Christians in Manshiyet Zabda. .

​On 1992, Rehab won  the National Education Prize ​ on ​ her  activities in the field of education ​ and on  1994, ​she  li​t  a torch during the Independence day ​ ceremony on Israel’s ​ on Israel ​ 48th Independence Day. Rehab is a central activist and a leader of the Women’s Peace Movement.

meera – Meera Eilabouni, was born in  Eilaboun village in the Galilee.  Meera  is part of ensemble of 14 women singing for women empowerment and love. In addition,an e she  is  one of three members in a band called “Three Women Three Mother Tongues” which  just finished recording an album of songs for peace in three languages; English, Hebrew and Arabic. .

Meera  believes that   music is the fastest way to open the hearts, to feel vulnerable yet powerful. It is the first international language for world peace, harmony and unity.During the last year Meera  participated in different projects that  deal with harmony peace and other such as :  “The March of Hope” with Women Wage Peace, “Make Music Not War” in Germany with members from 9 different countries


“Mini active” in Jerusalem – JICC

The Jerusalem Intercultural Center (JICC) was founded in 1999 with the aim to assist the city’s residents, from diverse identities, in becoming responsible, active partners in shaping the development of their communities and Jerusalem’s future. The Center strives to be an authority that can aid professionals, activists and organizations in promoting a city that is better adapted to the many identities that call it home.

The idea of mini-active  to let people train themselves to change the world by choosing a very small world to change. Since 2014, networks of women from east Jerusalem, from the conservative milieu and . The group participants are from the same area, usually acting in their very local environment, but they create a larger community to upgrade to midi- and macro-active .

אבנר-הרמתי1Avner Haramati, Chairmen of JICC, a social entrepreneur and an organizational psychologist. As an organizational psychologist he has been working since 1980 in promoting processes of change in organizations, business, government and NGO sectors. Co-founder of Oganim – an enterprise that promotes organizational effectiveness through promoting profit, spirit and wellness. Specializes in working with large groups to promote life giving and short term systemic changes in organizations and communities. Uses OST (open space technology), AI (appreciative Inquiry), Future Search, conflict resolution and coaching as tools for bringing people and organizations to their full human and business potential, and bringing all the dimensions of the system to a fruitful dialogue and action. As a social entrepreneur, one of the founders and former chairman of Besod-Siach, an NGO that promotes dialogue between groups in conflicts within the Israeli society. The initiator of the establishment of the JICC and serves as its Chairman. He focuses today on numerous projects together with Israeli, Palestinian and international partners in order to promote Jerusalem as an open, shared, equal and prosperous city. He has an M.A. in clinical and social psychology and a B.A. in economics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

HagaiAgmonSnirHagai Agmon-Snir,  the director of the Jerusalem Intercultural Center since its establishment in 1999.  In his work at the JICC, Hagai develops and implements models for making Jerusalem a culturally competent city for all its residents. In 1995-1997, Hagai was a researcher at the U.S National Institutes of Health (N.I.H.) and then returned to Jerusalem, where he graduated the Mandel School for Educational Leadership. During this period, he focused on multicultural models that combine different fields, such as political philosophy, conflict management, dialogue, community development and project management. He holds a Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Vision of peace in Auschwitz

The creation of the Institute for One Humanity and Sustainable Peace (IOHSP) in the town of Oswiecim consists of the gathering together of organizations, governments, academia, private industry and individuals embodying the values of Love, Peace, Understanding, Human Rights, Justice, Freedom, Dignity, Equity, Solidarity, Truth, Ethics and Unity. Its purpose is to build a sustainable enterprise that inspires and empowers all who attend and participate in its training curriculum and events to collectively work toward sustainable world peace.
The Institute emerges from the well-documented need to redirect focus away
from the horrors of the past, such as at Auschwitz Camp, and toward the building
of a Culture of Peace as supported by the United Nations-sponsored
Declarations and specifically the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is with
the intent that the UN’s “Sustainable Development Goals” for 2030 are indeed
possible with the establishment of a Culture of Peace.
To this end, learners from all continents may attend and explore diverse
perspectives from multiple cultures and belief systems. Cultural immersion,
intercultural education, interfaith and intra-faith immersion and exchanges are
effective means to gain the skills in order to thrive as One Humanity and build
sustainable peace.
This Institute will offer opportunities with a focus on education and collaboration,
in formal and non-formal environments, to translate these universal values into
global actions and culturally appropriate projects for communities local to all
participants. The Institute’s mission is to create learning opportunities and
support for those inspired to build an alternative future that resolves all obstacles
for global harmony and prosperity.

Kocevar DomenDomen Kocevar studied Sociology and Theology at the University of Maribor. Momentarly working on PHD thesis One Humanity. He is a founder and director of Theosophical library of ALMA.M.KARLIN, which is a place of exploration towards needed new paradigm, with more than 11.000 monographs on all religions, spiritual paths, philosophy, sociology, new science, new economy, and new community
living approaches. His inner philosophical/spiritual tradition is on the path of synthesis and gives him the broadness to be many years meditant of traditional kriya yoga, being a bishop in liberal catholic tradition, many years part of western esoteric schooling, researcher of perennial wisdom.

At the moment Domen is a part of the establishing team for educational peace institute in Auschwitz-Oswiecim, Poland, oriented towards recognizing the One Humanity and the qualities and values coming from that recognition. He is closely working with Dr. Nina Meyerhof funder of the CHILDREN OF THE EARTH organisation.

Nina-Lynn-Meyerhof-Ed.D1Nina Meyerhof is the founder of Children of the Earth (COE), a worldwide organization that inspires, connects, and empowers youth working for peace both locally and globally. A school administrator with a doctorate in Educational Policy, Research and Administration focused on self-esteem, Nina worked as Vermont’s Special Education District Coordinator for 17 years and wanted to put her philosophies into action. In 1970, she established Heart’s Bend, a values-oriented children’s summer camp on her 120-acre farm that she ran for 30 years. She became deeply inspired by youth-led action resulting from empowered youth that she worked with. In time, she came to recognize the need for children’s voices to be present in world forums, and in 1990, founded Children of the Earth (COE), a UN NGO non-profit organization. Its mission was to offer young people around the world an opportunity to realize that personal empowerment leads to inner peace that then fosters outer peace.

Nina co-authored the book, Conscious Education: The Bridge to Freedom; developed a one of a kind handbook entitled, Pioneering Spiritual Activism, grounded in methodologies that she created – Reflect, Connect, Act, which constitutes a learning process designed to consolidate spiritual growth and societal actions. Nina is also recognized among educators for having developed two constructs called Conflict-Transcendence, which goes beyond conflict resolution and Lateral Leadership Governance Structure for working in groups.

Babcom story

Babcom Centers provides call center services to leading Israeli companies (Cellcom, Arkia, YES, etc.) as well as software development services, primarily software QA.

Babcom centers were  founded by  Imad Talhami, in northern Israel . In 2015 the company employed approximately 2000 employees, of which 70% are from the Arab sector. Babcom has eight sites across the country (Tefen, Teradion, Migdal Haemek, Dalit El Carmel, Petah Tikva and Beersheba).

Babcom focuses on two main objectives: investing in people (especially young Israeli Arabs,women and men) and providing excellent, high quality services including call centers, software and other services. Babcom is a multicultural company whose managers, as well as employees, Arabs and Jews,are committed to providing their customers with first-rate service.

In line with Telhami’s vision, the company has Arab and Jewish stakeholders and was co-founded with the late distinguished Israeli industrialist, Dov Lautman.

imadImad Telhami is a businessman and entrepreneur who has substantial management experience and a long and successful history in global management. In the past, he served in various management positions and as CEO of Delta Galil’s international divisions for 25 years.

Telhami is committed to empowering and advancing the Arab community in Israel. He believes that companies like Babcom will help empower the younger generation of Israeli Arabs and facilitate their integration both in the domestic economy and the global economy.

Telhami has served in positions on several councils and boards of directors and has participated in a number of projects with partners who share his commitment, including: The Lautman Fund, Appleseeds Academy, member of the Board and Executive Committee of the University of Haifa.

He is a member of the Board of Kav Mashve (a non-profit organization which through academic work seeks equality between Arabs and Jews), and a member of the Advisory Committee for Economic Development in the Arab, Druze and Circassian sector, in the Prime Minister’s Office. In 2014 Telhami co- founded Takwin Labs, an internet incubator for Arab entrepreneurs in Haifa. The incubator was founded with the intention to enable more Arabs to successfully integrate into the Start-up Nation in Israel, to realize their potential and to create successful high-tech companies.

Global GameChangers Impact Lab is a transformation-acceleration platform designed to rapidly transform the mechanics of conversations in large-scale organizations such that leaders may address large-scale challenges with the energy, focus and urgency necessary to achieve quick alignment and to progress to the implementation of impactful solutions.

tal ronen-crop-u120154Tal Ronen  is a leading coach and innovative game changer specialist. For over 25 years, Tal has delivered high-impact business coaching, organizational workshops, trainings and motivational corporate keynotes. A   trained generator and critical thinker, Tal specialized in working with organizations that are committed to becoming market pace-setters, game-changers and change- makers by designing sustainable futures. He is the developer of the Reboot Technology for organizations and the innovator of the YKCenter 4D model, Democracy 3.0 and the GameChanger Challenge. He established a  coaching industry and is an unwavering stand as a champion of peace and sustainability in the Middle East.

Mr. Ronen was the Executive Coach of the late Israeli President Shimon Peres from 1990-2005 and contributed to the development of the New Middle East Initiative. Tal worked with a long list of global organizations and top corporations. He has coached and trained more than 750 coaches in his Coaching Academy, and his Executive Coaching & Leadership Program (ECLP) was offered at The Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC).

 For the last twenty years, Mr. Ronen has been an international leader in developing models that apply these methodologies to provide Strategic Transformation Acceleration and Reboot Technology (S.T.A.R.T) solutions for organizations of all sizes, including non-profits, corporations, NGOs and municipal authorities.

Global GameChangers Impact Lab is a transformation-acceleration platform designed to rapidly transform the mechanics of conversations in large-scale organizations such that leaders may address large-scale challenges with the energy, focus and urgency necessary to achieve quick alignment and to progress to the implementation of impactful solutions.