India: Good thoughts and theory must lead to action

27th May 2021 India jointly organised the International Conference on Transcending the Frontiers of Science and Technology in collaboration with Graphic Era Hill University from May 12 – 22, 2021. The session on Friday 21 May 2021 was dedicated to interventions from the Network, entitled ‘Enriching Education with Ethics: A Rendezvous with'. Executive Director, Obiora Ike's opening address emphasised the role of ethics in elevating the quality of education. He explained that power and wealth do not make you immune to the instability of the world, but that ethics remains a constant and basic need, sculpting leadership that is cultured, modest, honest and transparent. He defined transcending as going beyond the boundaries, and noted that ethics does just that. If we consider a chessboard, ethics is the queen, complemented by philosophy, the king of sciences, and technology as the playing field. has redefined what ethics means, not only to align more clearly with the Sustainable Development Goals, but also to utilise ethics in more practical manner. He asked: ‘Should universities include social impact as part of their mission?' and ‘How can universities address social inequality and move towards building global solidarity?' The answer is clear: ethics. He described ethics as being ‘a moral compass that begins with human dignity and respect'. Good thoughts and theory must lead to action, particularly in a world where telling the truth is a revolutionary act. By being truthful, you stand out by swimming against the current, yet it is an act we must endeavour. Ethics helps us to think about what it means to be human, what it means to have emotions, experiencing pain and recognising what is good and bad.

Director of India, Rev. Fr. Dr. Jose Nandhikkara's intervention defined ‘wonder as the beginning of wisdom'. Philosophy investigates the most fundamental aspects of life and builds a knowledge society. The latter concept refers to generating and sharing knowledge so that it may be used for the wellbeing of all, especially to bring justice, democracy and peace. It is of the upmost importance to provide universal access to information, and does so with its open-access resources and publications. ‘Are we still the good guys?' a question asked by Prof. Dr. Simon Robinson, Professor of Ethics at Leeds Beckett University and member of Pool of Experts. He explained that actions are determined by identity, and our identity is reflected in our worldviews, ideas and principles, values and practices. All these reflections say something about who we are. The role of agency pertains to owning all of these things that make up identity. By interacting with others, we communicate our identity and ourselves, which is reflected through plural and mutual accountability. Thus positive responsibility is shared responsibility for more creative responses via interactions with others. Prof. Robinson also rightly noted that, ‘if not confronted with the other, by difference, we don't learn', thus emphasising the role of dialogue to foster understanding and consider alternative perspectives.

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