This weblog features the Global Integration Updates from Member Care Associates. The Updates provide materials to support colleagues in different sectors as they connect and contribute on behalf of the major issues in our world. Feel free to add comments and resources in the "Comments" section located at the end of each of the Updates.
Global Integration Update -- April 2017 Common Ground for the Common Good Living in Global Integrity Moral wholeness for a more whole world starts with ourselves.
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Our globalized world is marked by extraordinary progress alongside unacceptable—and unsustainable—levels of want, fear, discrimination, exploitation, injustice and environmental folly at all levels (Paragraph 11). We have the know-how and the means to address these challenges, but we need urgent leadership and joint action now (Paragraph 13). I urge Governments and people everywhere to fulfil their political and moral responsibilities. This is my call to dignity, and we must respond with all our vision and strength (Paragraph 25). Ban Ki-moon, The Road to Dignity (synthesis report on sustainable development)
Overview How much integrity do you have? If you are like most people, your response is a definite “lots!” Yet in spite of our character strengths such as self-awareness and honesty, our self-appraisals of integrity can be seriously influenced by our own self-serving distortions; namely overlooking, minimizing or rationalizing away inconsistencies between our purported values and our actual actions. “I am a moral person and a model person” can be one of the greatest self-evident truths of human history. At least to ourselves.
In this GI Update we focus on the importance and challenges of practicing integrity at all levels—individual-institutional-international—for fostering wellbeing for all people and the planet. At the core of integrity is the resolute commitment to live consistently with one’s values and moral goodness.
Our two featured resources include a) a current article on integrity/accountability focusing on UN staff and applicable to colleagues across sectors and b) a recent weblog series probing several facets of global integrity. We also include two popular TedxTalks which underscore the value of serious moral reflection, thinking, and action: Courage or Cowardice? and Willful Blindness. We finish with some personal reflections on “investing in global integrity.”
Actively integrating our lives with global realities by connecting relationally and contributing relevantly on behalf of human wellbeing and the issues facing humanity, in light of our integrity & core values (e.g., ethical, humanitarian, faith-based).
Current Resources for Global Integrity Moral development for sustainable development
Integrityis moral wholeness—living consistently in moral wholeness. Its opposite is corruption, the distortion, perversion, and deterioration of moral goodness, resulting in the exploitation of people. Global integrity is moral wholeness at all levels in our world—from the individual to the institutional to the international. Global integrity is requisite for “building the future we want—being the people we need.” It is not easy, it is not always black and white, and it can be risky.Global Integrity, CORE Member Care, 2016
This two-part article helps us understand our tendencies for self-justification and self-deception. Informed by social psychology research, it lists 10 tactics for distorting integrity and accountability and describes five strategies for developing integrity and accountability. The two paragraphs below are from the introduction.
“As both a psychologist and a UN representative for the World Federation for Mental Health, I am keenly curious about what helps bring out the best and the worst of my colleagues in the UN and other sectors. And myself. I am especially interested in how the UN’s approach to competencies and values, and in particular the moral-based areas of integrity and accountability, can support staff as they traverse the troubled terrain of our world.”
“We continue to hear strong “political and moral calls” to diligently work together for sustainable development, planetary health, etc. Although the word “moral” is often used, it is usually mentioned only in passing. That’s too bad. Because I think that health and development at all levels of society, like integrity and accountability, are in fact contingent on our moral underpinnings. There can be no health/development without moral health/development.”
Click HERE for a pdf version of this article (six pages).
Recommended video: The Dangers of Willfull Blindness, TEDxDubai (2013), Margaret Heffernan “Gayla Benefield was just doing her job—until she uncovered an awful secret about her hometown that meant its mortality rate was 80 times higher than anywhere else in the U.S. But when she tried to tell people about it, she learned an even more shocking truth: People didn’t want to know. In a talk that’s part history lesson, part call-to-action, Margaret Heffernan demonstrates the danger of “willful blindness” and praises ordinary people like Benefield who are willing to speak up.” (quote from Youtube site)
Taking a Closer Look Moral Wholeness for a Whole World, Kelly O’Donnell Global Integrity (25 entries) CORE Member Care: Reflections, Research, and Resources for Good Practice (January-December 2016)
By looking at our actions critically and dispassionately…we stand a chance of breaking out of the cycle of action and self-justification….When you screw up, try saying this: “I made a mistake. I need to understand what went wrong. I don’t want to make the same mistake again.” Tavris and Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (but not by me), 2007, pp. 225, 235.
These 25 entries take a closer look at the many facets of integrity with a view towards the global efforts to promote sustainable development and wellbeing. They help us to get an initial sense of how global integrity is part of the corporate, faith-based, UN, social, environmental educational, psychological, moral, and philanthropic areas (clickHEREfor the list of 25 topics). Here are excerpts from two of the entries.
International Anti-Corruption Day (based on the 9 December 2016 entry).December 9 is International Anti-Corruption Day. It is a good day to reflect on how each of us can prevent and fight corruption as well as how each of us can cultivate integrity in our spheres of influence, starting with ourselves. The theme this year is “Unite Against Corruption” and it is a tangible expression of Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) with its cross-cutting emphases on strong institutions, good governance, peaceful societies, and anti-corruption. Just as important for the realization of SDG 16 and any effort to confront corruption is the commitment to “Unite for Integrity.” So perhaps it is time for a UN Global Integrity Day…
Integrity Needs External Referents (excerpt from the 8 August 2016 entry).Integrity needs external referents. Why? Because of the human propensity to self-justify and self-deceive. Integrity cannot just be based on only an inner sense of congruence—the sense of having aligned one’s values with one’s actions. Why? Because one’s values may not be entirely moral, and one’s perception of inner congruence may not be entirely accurate. So, trust yourself but do not completely trust yourself. We need external moral and accountability referents to hold up the mirror, to help us appraise our levels of integrity…
Recommended Video: Courage or Cowardice?TedxGroningen (2013), Mukesh Kapila Mukesh Kapila is Professor of Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs at the University of Manchester…His book “Against a Tide of Evil” was released in March 2013. Professor Kapila has extensive experience in the policy and practice of international development, humanitarian affairs, human rights and diplomacy, with particular expertise in tackling crimes against humanity, disaster and conflict management, and in global public health. [IN this presentation…he brings us through the stories of his own personal courage, and how just one person can make an incredible impact to bring peace to humanity.” (quote from YouTube site)
Personal Reflections Investing in Global Integrity What's next?
Being the people we need—Building the world we want
This Update was not easy to write. The resources were easy to choose. But the way to present them as helpfully as possible was the challenge. We want to get the balance “right” between the mix of human character strengths and character weaknesses, and between our own worldview-influenced perspectives and those of others. Through it all, we want to acknowledge the many gray areas that face us practically, morally, daily as we seek to live in integrity and make the world a better place.
We finish this Update with a few more thoughts on the way forward for global integrity. It is based on the final entry from “Global Integrity: Summary and Summons” in our CORE Member Care weblog (31 December 2016).
We have certainly traversed a variety of terrain—chartered and unchartered, steep and smooth, rough and refined—in our exploration of global integrity: integrity at the individual-institutional-international levels. Three of the overlapping themes that we have regularly encountered on this year-long trek (January-December 2016), and which we have endeavored to highlight, can be summarized in these assertions.
--Integrity begins with oneself. Personal transformation is foundational for social transformation. --Integrity requires external referents and accountability. Trust yourself…but verify, don’t self-justify. --Integrity, with its emphasis on endeavoring to live consistently in moral wholeness, is a core dimension needed in the global efforts for human-planetary wellbeing. There is no development without moral development.
Global integrity is a multi-level global good. It belongs to us all. But it must be discussed, debated, understood, emphasized, and cultivated. Global integrity does not happen by chance. Rather it takes intentionality to see it take root in our personal, organizational, social, and national lives. Like the character and virtue in which it is embedded, it is refined in the caldron of life’s tough challenges and choices.
We believe our common identity and shared responsibility as global citizens can be leveraged to “integrate global integrity at all levels.” We believe it is a propitious season to undertake a new (and renewed) joint initiative—a strategic, skilled, relational coalition/alliance that resolutely and unhypocritically emphasizes integrity on behalf of our “precarious, perilous, but precious” world. Invest in integrity.
We envision the development of a growing Pro-Integrity Platform that can help to shape and support the emergence of a sustainable Global Integrity Movement. For some ideas for the entities that could help form such a Platform-Movement, see the list in this summary entry. And as for the overall objectives, value-added benefits, relevant products, funding sources, and functional structure that would embody such a global effort for global good…well, that is for us all to sort out.
Member Care Associates Inc. (MCA) is a non-profit organisation working internationally from Geneva and the USA. MCA's involvement in Global Integration focuses on the wellbeing and effectiveness of personnel and their organizations in the mission, humanitarian, and development sectors as well as global mental health, all with a view towards supporting sustainable development for all people and the planet. Our services include consultation, training, research, developing resources, and publications.
Actively integrating our lives with global realities by connecting relationally and contributing relevantly on behalf of human wellbeing and the issues facing humanity, in light of our integrity & core values (e.g., ethical, humanitarian, faith-based). *****
TheGI Updates are designed to help shape and support the emerging diversity of global integrators who as learners-practitioners are committed to the "common ground for the common good." The image at the top of theUpdate (global pearl) is a cover detail form Global Member Care (volume 2): Crossing Sectors for Serving Humanity (2013). William Carey Library.
Disclaimer: The inclusion of the materials in the GI Updates as well as the recommendations and opinions expressed in these materials do not necessarily reflect their endorsement. The responsibility for the interpretation and use of the materials lies with the reader.