THE GLOBAL ETHIC PROJECT
In order for people from different cultures, religions, and nations to be able to live together in a constructive way, common basic values which connect us all are needed. This is true in regards to the smaller structures of families as well as in schools, companies, and society as a whole. Unifying values and norms -independent of culture, religion or nationality- are becoming more and more important in the age of the internet, global politics and economies, and increasingly multicultural societies.
The Global Ethic idea dates back to the 1980s and the Swiss theologian Hans Küng, who has since then been deeply engaged with the world’s religions and questions of how the people of the world can successfully live together. Back in the 1980s this was already clear to him:
"No peace among nations without peace among religions.
No peace among religions without dialogue between the religions.
No dialogue between the religions without fundamental research into the religions.”
In his book Global Responsibility, In Search of a New World Ethic, Hans Küng first formulated the Global Ethic idea as we know it today : all world religions and philosophical teachings share fundamental values and moral concepts. For example, the “Golden Rule” and the need for humane treatment of each other can be found in many traditions, as well as values such as non-violence, justice, truthfulness and partnership. Küng’s message: this increasingly globalized world needs a global ethic.
In the following decades Hans Küng and others further developed research projects and publications about world religions and global ethics issues, and demonstrated their relevance to living together in our society. Other milestones in the development of the Global Ethic project were the adoption of the Declaration Towards a Global Ethic at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1993, as well as the founding of the Global Ethic Foundation in 1995.