The Power of Love and Compassion in Governance
– Sharing Actions for Effective Change

The focus of the second Forum was to explore the potential of love and compassion in bringing about effective change through governance and leadership. The aim is to begin to reconceptualise systemic change, especially in fields such as education, health, culture, science, business, politics and peace-building. The positive energy of love and compassion is one of the deepest and most enduring aspects of human nature. Taking this potential to be key for a sustainable economy, a loving society and a healthy environment, Reykjavik 2014 makes an explicit call for love and compassion in action.

Aims and Objectives

In general, the Forum explores the process of change within the individual and social institutions that enables transformation in a community and the world at large, with a focus on the empowerment and sustenance of core human values and their practical implementations in personal, communal and work life.

Reykjavik 2014 is specifically set to

  • raise awareness and deepen our understanding of the transformative power of love and compassion in practice and action in fields such as education, health, governance, business and peace-building
  • express and share formative ideas about effecting changes in social and institutional structures to nurture, support and integrate core human values
  • create space for dialogue and contemplation in order to create a shared vision for effective change
  • inspire and be inspired (through listening and dialogue) and to enact a new shared narrative of love and hope for the future
  • follow-up by establishing a learning network (Community of Practice) to continue sharing and supporting value-based approaches to governance.

Programme and Activities

Reykjavik 2014 will feature a wide range of transformative and experiential activities:

  • reflective roundtables and themed panels with individuals who have inspired profound change in their sphere of influence (keynote speakers drawn from diverse fields)
  • interactive small group dialogues exploring ways to energise our core human values (inspirational storytelling of love and compassion in practice)
  • sharing of practical case studies and powerful examples of transformation from around the world where decisions led by love and compassion have had a direct impact on a community or society
  • informal conversations in a supportive atmosphere that encourages in-depth reflection
  • Icelandic cultural and artistic experience.

By engaging in these diverse activities, the Forum will open a space to pose some key questions about love and compassion in action in governance and leadership in different fields. These questions include:

  • There is a growing emphasis on the need for love and compassion at work. What lies behind this, and why does it remain at the margin of recognition?
  • How can we experience love and compassion within organisations, and what would characterise the structure and culture of an organisation when it prioritises core human values?
  • How can we imagine and design organisations that nurture and express human values?
  • What can decision-makers at all levels do in order to embed core human values in governance and leadership, locally, nationally and internationally?
  • In what way can stories of love and compassion in governance inform the overall social policy agenda?

By providing an encounter space for those confronted by the need for systemic change and looking for new and better ways forward, Reykjavik 2014 will serve as a place of inspiration and understanding leading to renewed practical work and a greater realisation of the central place of love and compassion in our global society and in our relationships with nature.

Programme & Participants

10-12 April we will gather in Reykjavík to share our perspectives and work together on The Power of Love and Compassion in Governance. The 2nd Forum, Reykjavík 2014, will present concrete examples of values-driven projects in society with the purpose of creating a new ‘community of practitioners’ among world leaders.

230 participants have registered. These include heads of international organisations and national projects, well-known scientists, business leaders, artists and spiritual teachers.

Some key contributors

  • HE Mr Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Iceland (President of Iceland)
  • Mr Jón Gnarr, Iceland (Mayor of Reykjavík)
  • HE Ms Katalin Bogyay, Hungary (President of the 36th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Hungary to UNESCO)
  • Mr Ruud Lubbers, The Netherlands (Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Co-creator of the Earth Charter)
  • Mr Federico Mayor, Spain (former Secretary-General of UNESCO, Founder and Chairman of Foundation for Culture of Peace)
  • Mr Kul Gautam, Nepal (former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and deputy Executive Director of UNICEF)
  • HE Ms Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, Iceland (former President of Iceland)
  • Lord Stone of Blackheath, UK (Member, House of Lords)
  • The Most Rev Dr Thabo C. Makgoba, South Africa (Archbishop of Cape Town)
  • The Venerable Dharma Master Hsin Tao, Ling Jiou Mountain Monastery, Taiwan
  • Mr Matthieu Ricard, Nepal (author, Buddhist monk, Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery, Nepal)
  • Dasho Karma Ura, Bhutan (President, Center for Bhutan Studies)
  • Mr Simon Xavier Guerrand-Hermès, France (Board member of Hermès International, Founder and Chairman of Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace)
  • Mr Steve Killelea, Australia (Founder of the Global Peace Index and the Institute for Economics and Peace)
  • Professor Ervin Staub, USA (Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Massachusetts)
  • Mr Rolf Schmachtenberg, The Netherlands (President of AIESEC International)
  • Mr Matthias Strolz, Austria (Member of Parliament, Austria, Founder and Chairman of NEOS – Das Neue Österreich)
  • Ms Rosário Farmhouse, Portugal (High Commissioner for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue)
  • Mr Stewart Wallis, UK (Executive Director, New Economics Foundation)
  • Mr Richard Barrett, UK (Founder, Barrett Values Centre)
  • Mr Pedro Tarak, Argentina (Co-founder of Sistema B in Latin America)
  • Professor Horst-Henning Wolf, Germany (former Senior Vice President at BMW Group, Professor at the Technical University Munich)
  • Dr Scilla Elworthy, UK (Founder, Peace Direct)
  • Dr Rodney Irwin, Switzerland (Director, Reporting & Investment, World Business Council for Sustainable Development)
  • Dr Diana Whitney, USA (Co-Founder of Taos Institute, Founder of Corporation for Positive Change)
  • Ms Christina Brown, USA (Co-Founder, Center for Interfaith Relations)
  • Professor Tania Singer, Germany (Director, Department of Social Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute)
  • Mr Diego Hangartner, Switzerland (Director of Europe, Mind and Life Institute)
  • Dr Nicholas Foster, UK (Conference Manager, Caux – Initiatives of Change)
  • Ms Deborah Higgins, USA (Director of Programs, The Fetzer Institute)
  • Dr Jenneth Parker, UK (Research Director, Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems)
  • Dr Neil Hawkes, UK (Founder of Values-based Education, Founder of the International Values Education Trust)
  • Dr Jean Watson, USA (Founder Director, Watson Caring Science Institute)
  • Dr Chris Laszlo, USA (Faculty Research Director, The Fowler Center for Sustainable Value, Case Western Reserve University).

among many others.

Forum dates and times

Starts: Thursday morning 10 April at 08:15am / Ends: Saturday afternoon 12 April at 15:00pm

Organisations who will present their work

  • AIESEC International, The Netherlands
  • Alterra Foundation, Switzerland
  • B Corps (Benefit Corporation), The Netherlands
  • Barrett Values Centre, UK and USA
  • Center for Process Studies, USA
  • Caux – Initiatives of Change, Switzerland
  • Center for Process Studies, USA
  • Education 4 Peace Foundation, Switzerland
  • Fetzer Institute, USA
  • Foundation for Culture of Peace, Spain
  • Fowler Center for Sustainable Value, USA
  • Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace, UK
  • Mind and Life Europe, Switzerland
  • New Economics Foundation, UK
  • Peace Direct, UK
  • Pinea3 Living Organizations, Spain
  • Primeast, UK
  • Progressio Foundation, The Netherlands
  • Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems, UK
  • Taos Institute, USA
  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Switzerland

Fields represented

  • Education and Social Work
  • Health and Health Care
  • Arts, Culture and Spirituality
  • Science and Environment
  • Business and Economy
  • Politics, Peace-building and Conflict Transformation

The 2nd Spirit of Humanity Forum Report

The power of love and compassion in governance – Sharing actions for effective change

We left Reykjavik in April and spread out again across the world, but it seems that, having taken part in the Forum together, we have become a community, a community of practitioners. It offers a huge potential for us to stay connected inwardly through sharing human values and outwardly through working together through collaborative actions.

Indeed, we hope that this report will remind us of Reykjavik 2014, and will encourage you to continue to share your experiences and collaborate with people

on this growing Spirit of Humanity (SoH) global network. And for those who were not able to be with us in Reykjavik this year, we hope that it will provide an opportunity for you to learn more about the Forum and join our community. The Spirit of Humanity Forum sees that part of its mission is to be called to serve this community, to nourish it and make it more visible in the world. Our ultimate aim is to encourage work that is underpinned by love and compassion and that seeks to promote a new paradigm of governance at all levels of our society.

We hope that you will find this report interesting and that with time it will develop into a living document, an emerging narrative about the SoH community. Since Reykjavik 2014, the future shape of the Forum has begun to emerge. It is clear that a key component of our work is going to facilitate a greater variety of local

activities that are organised, funded and undertaken by you the members of the community. We welcome this and aim to sustain a core team that will support the interconnections between us all and plan for future events. Whilst our purpose is clear, and the overall approach to living it is clear, the means and resources to achieving our purpose are less so and not yet in place. We seek your help in building the momentum and resources that will ensure the sustainability of SoH. This is our call to action.

Gábor Karsai and David Cadman on behalf of the Executive and Advisory Board