Presentations

Message on the Establishment of the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children

Professor Hans Küng
President, Global Ethic Foundation

Dear Rev. Takeyasu Miyamoto and dear Rev. Keishi Miyamoto,
Dear fellow members of the new Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children,
Dear participants in the Second Forum,

It would have been my honor and pleasure to be with you during this important meeting but the pressure to finalize my book on Islam and other commitments do not allow me to leave my desk these days. With my apologies I send you my cordial greetings. I warmly welcome the initiative of the Arigatou Foundation to promote global ethic education for children and I feel grateful to be privileged to become a member of the new Interfaith Council for this purpose.

In a world torn between globalization and fragmentation there is indeed an increasing need for identifying a basis of some fundamental ethical values and standards which can be shared by all people, adherents of religions and non-religions world-views alike. Religions, from their age-old wisdom, can offer valuable orientation towards such a Global Ethic. In its Declaration Toward a Global Ethic the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1993 adopted a key document which calls for a change of consciousness, both individually and collectively in order to build a culture of non-violence and respect for life, a culture of solidarity and a just economic order, a culture of tolerance and truthfulness, and a culture of equal rights and partnership between men and women.

As every major change of heart and consciousness this vision obviously involves educational efforts, starting with children and youngsters. The Chicago Declaration emphasizes therefore that young people should learn at home and in school that violence may not be a means of setting differences and that the use of property should serve the common good; they should learn to think, speak and act truthfully, and that sexuality is not a destructive and exploitative force but a life-affirming shaper of community, when partners accept the responsibility of caring for one another's happiness.

I am happy to know that the upcoming Interfaith Council for Ethics Education for Children is willing to cooperate with efforts related to this guideline and I pledge the cooperation of the Global Ethic Foundation in these efforts, of course always within the limits of the foundation's capacities.

I wish the Forum fruitful deliberations and the new Council an enthusiastic start.

Hans Küng
Tübingen, 6 May