Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Global Integrity--24

Living in Integrity
Moral Wholeness for a Whole World

Marley's Ghost, from Charels Dicken's A Christmas Carol (1843)
“The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains…none were free…The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power forever.” 

Integrity is moral wholeness—living consistently in moral wholeness. Its opposite is corruption, the distortion, perversion, and deterioration of moral goodness, resulting in the exploitation of people. Global integrity is moral wholeness at all levels in our world—from the individual to the institutional to the international. Global integrity is requisite for “building the future we want—being the people we need.” It is not easy, it is not always black and white, and it can be risky. These entries explore the many facets of integrity with a view towards the global efforts to promote sustainable development and wellbeing.
Living in Integrity as Global Citizens
Trio Gathering 16

In this entry we invite you to connect with the recent Trio Gathering at our home. Have a look at how we are engaging in the topic of global integrity with a diverse group of colleagues in the Geneva area.

Trio Gatherings (2013-current)
Trio Gatherings provide a relaxed place where colleagues can interact on important topics for mutual learning and support. They are informal and not sponsored by any organization/group. The gatherings are part of our commitment to encourage “global integration”—connecting and contributing relevantly on behalf of the major issues facing humanity and in light of our core values. The hosts (Michèle and Kelly O'Donnell) are consulting psychologists working in the areas of personnel development for international organisations, humanitarian psychology, anti-corruption advocacy/action, and global mental health.

Background and Content
Global citizenship is both a concept and a growing commitment that emphasizes our common identity and responsibility as humans. The Trio Gatherings this year (2016) focused on what it means to be global citizens, including educating global citizens, eradicating poverty, promoting peace, and living in integrity. Four of the main materials we used to guide our interactions: the Gyeongju Action Plan: Education for Global Citizenship (from the UN DPI/NGO), Poverty Inc. (film), materials from Geneva Peace Week, and various materials on integrity (10 pages).

Summary of Trio 16
Saturday 10 December (10:00-13:00) was the date for Trio Gathering 16. Thirteen people from various backgrounds participated (e.g., UN, civil society, health, education, business) The overall theme was Living in Integrity as Global Citizens with the particular focus being Moral Courage. We prepared some concise materials to guide our interactions and in consideration of Sustainable Development Goal 16International Anti-Corruption Day (9 December), and International Human Rights Day (10 December). Our desire was to encourage us all to be people of integrity who as global citizens resolutely do good and courageously oppose corruption at the individual-institutional-international levels.

“Fighting corruption is a global concern because corruption is found in both rich and poor countries, and evidence shows that it hurts poor people disproportionately. It contributes to instability, poverty and is a dominant factor driving fragile countries towards state failure.” UNDP and UNCOC (2016)

We found our group interactions to be very thoughtful and challenging. As the group discussed integrity, we moved beyond more general definitions towards the deeper essence of character, morality, and living congruently with our core values and our “best selves”. We watched a challenging TedxTalk by Mukesh Kapila on Courage or Cowardice, based on his personal struggles and eventual resolve to blow a whistle as a high-level UN official on the atrocities in Sudan.

Take Aways for Michele
1. A message I picked up from our interaction is that character is key to integrity. Integrity is developed over time when we are faithful in the small things, or in other words, when we consistently choose to do the right thing. I wonder what influences subtly erode character, including my character, in contemporary culture, and why?

2. I am struck by the important role of deep reflection, which includes looking back over our lives to see the way forward, when we are at critical crossroads and decision points. I think reviewing the impact (positive and negative) of our personal history and past decisions in this reflection process is instructive and helpful. I want to make more space for reflection in my daily life.

3. Two meaningful quotes from Robert Jackall, Moral Mazes (2010)
“... bureaucratic work causes people to bracket off, while at work, the moralities they might hold outside the workplace... or privately and to follow instead the prevailing morality of their particular organizational situation. As a former vice-president of a large firm says: ‘What is right in the corporation is not what is right in a man’s home or his church. What is right in the corporation is what the guy above you wants from you.’
... Actual organizational moralities are thus contextual, situational, and highly specific, and, most often, unarticulated.”  (2010)

Take Aways for Kelly
1. I was encouraged to hear several talk about the personal challenge/responsibility to live in integrity. And that corruption is not just about the bad people, bad leaders, and bad systems “out there.” A drop of hypocrisy pollutes integrity. But a drop of integrity does not purify hypocrisy. ‘Like a trampled stream and a polluted well so are righteous people who give way before the wicked’ (Proverbs 25:26).

2. I am especially challenged by these quotes from the readings:
--“When we make mistakes, we must calm the cognitive dissonance [inner disharmony between our ideal self and actual self] that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right—a belief that is dumb, immoral, and wrong.” (Tavris and Aronson, 2007)

“The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains…none were free…The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power forever.” (Dickens, 1843) 

Watch the 14 minute TedxTalk on Courage or Cowardice.
--How can the issues raised support your living in integrity?
--How do the issues raised affect your living in integrity as a global citizen?

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