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Saturday, 2nd December 2023


Universities teach subjects and skills, but what really lies at the core of human experience is our culture and values. At University, students from all over the world come together, but rarely is their cultural intelligence acknowledged or respected, especially in the classroom. We British professors from world famous universities teach, and you sit and learn, seems to be the underlying elitist message. Dont question the cultural assumptions of our expertise, is the rhetoric.

When we look at the outer world, we see a crisis of sustainable living, which is foremost and fundamentally, a crisis of values. What do we believe? What are our personal ethics? How is it that our values will affect our expertise, and how we choose to profit or not from it?

 These issues should be actively discussed and debated on campus, and positive action programmes instigated. Examples of these are:

  • Every week, the University could put a sign about a particular value, say forgiveness, and ask students to discuss this over their lunch or social breaks, and at the end of the week, an inter-active workshop on the value should be organised where they can participate.
  • Creative performances such as music concerts could be themed around values.
  • Sports and extra-curricular activities could also be used to encourage the promotion of sustainable values like respect, fairness, equality and self-perfection and self-improvement.
  • There should be several conferences on Values for a 21st century World in the campus calendar
  • Leadership should be taught and encouraged
  • Diverse Values of different cultures should be displayed and used to encourage social cohesion on campus, and enable engagement with timeless wisdoms

The outcome of such experiences and dialogue will be that when students graduate, they will be more rounded, more motivated to lead in a conflicted world, and shape human and ecological destiny positively and peacefully. Hopefully, even the academics will learn something from this, and begin to question the underlying values of their science.

 Dr. Atul Shah, Diverse Ethics

Article added on 25th February 2010 at 9:45am
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