JEDDAH: The speakers and panelists at the Values 20 (V20) Summit on Tuesday agreed that establishing shared values helps to promote global understanding and, as a result, sustainable prosperity and well being for all.
Jason Silva, a futurist and the host of the National Geographic TV show “Brain Games,” summed up the inspiration for the summit by saying: “We have only one life, and we must learn how to live it with shared prosperity.”
The G20 has several official independent engagement group that focus on sections and sectors of society, such as youth, women and science, and develop policy recommendations for the leaders of member nations. The V20 is a non-official engagement group designed to be a knowledge-sharing platform through which values experts from around the world can help shape G20 policy making.
Fahad Al-Mubarak, a minister of state and the Saudi G20 sherpa, said that global challenges require global solutions and the work of the V20 underscores the importance of values within civil societies when addressing these challenges.
Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qassabi said that agreeing shared human values is key to the process of building the foundations for deeper economic, social and cultural transformations of societies. “Values drive human behaviors and they are the true North Star for us all” to follow, he said.
Although societies, cultures and social norms differ around the world, core values are universal. During the summit, the participants discussed ways to measure these values, and how a global culture of values can emerge.
“The universal values are our own connectors,” said Asif Chowdhury, business development manager at the consultancy and training business Kaizen Institute. “We look forward and we see only the values that unite us.”
A number of speakers made the point that a reliance on shared values is especially important in this time of crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inspired by a strong belief that values can play an essential role in behavior and the creation of a better future in which all people can live, work and thrive in dignity, the founding of the V20 happened during a particularly turbulent moment in world history, as a result of the pandemic and the resultant global economic crisis. There is a need for global powers to stand united as they face the current challenges, the summit concluded.
Education, which is a key component of efforts to build a better future for the next generation, has been particularly badly affected by the pandemic. In some places millions of children are missing out education completely as a result of school closures, while in others efforts are being made to provide virtual alternatives to in-person teaching. The challenges are great.
“I believe that we need to concentrate on transforming education worldwide, from a narrow school system to one that can nurture both intellectual and internal aspects of humanity,” said Neil Hawkes from the UK’s International Values-based Education Trust.
In a world with a population of about 8 billion people, properly representing a wide variety of opinions, values and belief systems, and encouraging mutual understanding, are crucial for successful communication and coexistence. Organizations and governments can help people connect with each other and live in harmony.
Cecilia Attias — founder of Cecilia Attias Foundation for Women in France and co-founder of the New York Forum Institute — said she is hopeful that people can make the changes that are required.
“I am optimistic because I trust human beings,” she said. “I think we have the resources and the power that can help us make even huge changes.”
The summit was organized with the aim of supporting the G20 by developing proposals for values-based policy solutions that can have tangible results. The participants stressed that values are enabling factors in public policy and can effectively help to overcome global challenges.
Saudi Arabia holds the presidency of the G20 this year and the group’s annual summit is due to be held in Riyadh on Nov. 21-22.