Participants from Over 45 Countries Join with Carnegie Council to Empower Ethics on Global Ethics Day 2021

November 9, 2021

L to R from top row: Jazz (Pakistan), American High School at European School (Georgia), Map of Participants (Global), and ABRAPS (Brazil).

The eighth annual Global Ethics Day—a project of Carnegie Council—was held on October 20, 2021, with over 170 organizations and institutions participating in 45 countries with a theme of "Ethics Empowered."

Launched in 2014 and held on the third Wednesday of every October, Global Ethics Day is an opportunity for individuals and organizations to explore the meaning of ethics in daily life and come together to identify and address the most critical issues facing society. This year, events focused on democracy promotion, racial injustice, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and much more.

Carnegie Council hosted a live virtual panel and Q&A on October 20, titled "On the Frontlines of Democracy." The event featured activists who are fighting around the world to uphold and strengthen democracy. In addition to hearing from those working on the frontline and debating the role of international organizations like the United Nations, the panel explored how ethical actions by individual citizens can help to support and revitalize democracy.  

Moderated by Jennifer Williams, deputy editor at Foreign Policy, the event featured panelists Nathan Law, Hong Kong democratic activist and former legislator; Alfredo Romero, president, Foro Penal; Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, senior advocacy officer, Burma Campaign UK; and Franak Viačorka, senior advisor to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Joel Rosenthal, president of Carnegie Council, introduced and closed the event with a special message for Global Ethics Day.

In addition to the panel and Global Ethics Day explainer video, Rosenthal shared a special letter calling upon the global community to "use today to empower ethics." Cynthia Scharf, senior strategy director of the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative (C2G), released a video with a Global Ethics Day message focused on fighting climate change; and the Artificial Intelligence & Equality Initiative (AIEI) posted a message from Senior Fellow Wendell Wallach about AI and ethics, and debuted its "Technosocial Contract," a series of blog posts from Tom Philbeck, senior program advisor.

In addition to Carnegie Council's activations, dozens of organizations, institutions, and individuals around the world participated through social media messages on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Many organizations also held activities, virtual and in-person, including panel discussions, debates, tree-planting and other outdoor activities, and workshops. Organizations also posted video messages and podcasts focused on the importance of ethics. Photos, videos, and social media messages for Global Ethics Day 2021 have all been collected on GlobalEthicsDay.org.

Highlights from Global Ethics Day 2021 include:

  • PepsiCo produced a series of video features from their executive team discussing the critical importance of ethics in business.
  • Jeff Thomson, CEO of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), published a Global Ethics Day opinion piece in Forbes, "Technology and Covid-19: The Perfect Storm for Ethics Violations."
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) posted social video messages as part of its Ethical Awareness Week, including a video message from Christine Lagarde, president of the ECB.
  • International Council of Nurses published its revised Code of Ethics.
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Office of Ethics and Policy launched a Global Ethics Month webinar series with topics ranging from "Leading and Healing in the Aftermath of 9/11" to ethical consumerism.
  • The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the United Nations Development Programme in Vietnam, the Vietnam Association of Certified Public Accountants, and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, with the support of UK government, jointly hosted a webinar, "Towards Sustainable Business: Business Integrity and Compliance with Code of Ethics."