Remarks from Global Action’s Director at World Order Values Reception

10 Dec

We are here to highlight and celebrate the World Order Values: Peace, Social Justice, Economic Well-Being, Ecological Balance, Positive Identity

These are not values to inspire belief so much as values to guide and inspire practice.

These values have no hierarchy, but they have witnessed shifts in urgency. When I was younger at the World Order Models Project, it was the peace values that preoccupied most of us – more specifically peace in relation to the nuclear arms race.

The priorities have shifted over the years. Our climate now poses even deadlier challenges than our arsenals.

And, as we saw recently in Guatemala and South Africa, positive identity is more and more a requirement for healthy living, as important in its own way as clean air and a reliable security system.

  • No more are people content to remain trapped in self-concepts bequeathed by their captors or those who have otherwise humiliated them.
  • No more are people willing to ‘move on’ from gross abuse without as full an accounting of what happened to them as humanly possible.
  • No more are people willing to accept promises of assistance or respect from governments or corporations or even universities at face value.

The task in this season is not only to practice these World Order Values but to practice them in the right spirit  – a spirit of kindness and hospitality and attentiveness and humility. These values and the tasks associated with them represent a calling that is both high and common. ‘Common’ because everyone can contribute. ‘High’ because they demand so much of our spirits – our souls if you will – more sometimes than we seem willing to commit.

With all of the frustration that characterizes this work at times, all the travel to meetings that don’t result in real policy movement, all the strategic discussions that go nowhere, all the applications for grants or workshop opportunities that come back rejected, we have still – each in our own way and all of us together — helped to make world order values incarnate. We don’t know yet if it will be enough to turn energies and commitments away from consumption and competition and domination. But there is more in place now to help us reach our goals – more diplomatic infrastructure, more public awareness, more treaties and resolutions, more transparency, more skill.  This should reassure us that our task is only formidable, but not impossible.

The world order values have become for us more than candy sprinkles on our ice cream, more than adornments on our holiday trees.   They are the lifeblood of our work, the standards by which we will be judged by our grandchildren — and their grandchildren as well.

And so, a toast, to those children yet to come and to those of us who believe that Peace, Social Justice, Economic Well-Being, Ecological Balance and Positive Identity represent a future that is worthy of our progeny.

 

–Dr. Robert Zuber

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