October 18, 2017 marked the fourth annual Global Ethics Day, with participation from over 60 organizations and individuals from 31 countries on five continents. Founded by Carnegie Council in 2014 to celebrate its centennial, Global Ethics Day is a global teach-in, an opportunity for institutions to explore the role of ethics in a globalized world. From the Gambia to Nicaragua to Romania, everyone celebrated in their own way.
Topics this year included ethics in business, climate change, personal values, democracy, and human rights. There were far too many activities to mention, but here are a few highlights.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), a global organization founded in the UK, released a study on Global Ethics Day revealing that a quarter of UK workers have been put under pressure to act unethically at work. "On this Global Ethics Day, we ask you to recommit to ensuring business does the right thing and is a force for good," wrote ACCA's chief executive, Helen Brand OBE, and the director of the Institute of Business Ethics, Philippa Foster Back CBE, in a joint full-page letter published in the Financial Times. In addition, the ACCA Singapore office launched its first ever Ethics Film Festival.
In Brazil, the Study Group on Ethics and Sustainability, part of the Business Administration Council for the State of São Paulo (CRA-SP), held a full-day series of free, public presentations on ethics in business, in response to corruption in Brazil. They also planted a tree and launched a physical and virtual time capsule to be opened on Global Ethics Day in 2025.
At Buraimi University in Oman, the theme was fighting climate change: the dean, students, and government officials planted trees, and students held a clean-up drive and promoted awareness at a local supermarket.
The Geneva-based international network Globethics.net took The Golden Rule, 'treating others as you would like to be treated,' as its theme this year, inviting everyone to post stories on how they apply the golden rule in their day-to-day lives. Inspired by globalethics.net, the University of Malawi held a panel discussion looking at the golden rule as it is reflected in Islam, Christianity, Bantu Ethics, and the work of Immanuel Kant.
Many universities worldwide held ethics panels, workshops, and classes, including Bard College and affiliates in New York, New Orleans, Berlin, and East Jerusalem. The University of Oklahoma's Integrity Council asked students, "How does contract cheating devalue your education?" and Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire asked students "What is the most pressing ethical issue today?" See some of the students' responses, along with many other Global Ethics Day photos, on Instagram, hashtag #globalethicsday2017.
For more on Global Ethics Day 2017, see the full list of participants, check out this blog page and the photo section on Carnegie Council's community network globalethicsnetwork.org, and search on Twitter for #globalethicsday2017.
If your organization took part in Global Ethics Day, we encourage you to post a blog about your activities on globalethicsnetwork.org, with the hashtag #globalethicsday2017.