Thank you for inviting me here to be with you all, it is a real pleasure for me to be here in this prestigious institution which is committed to better policies for better lives. The topic I will focus on today is "Ethics for a Sustainable Globalised Economy".
Why ethics? And why should we be ethical? This is not an easy question to answer. Young people today want to make quick money without thinking about ethics. When sensibility and sensitivity converge, then ethics becomes a reality in life. Sadly, the wrong notion that one must be unethical in order to progress in business is a mindset that youngsters possess around the world. But when young people are shown how you can be prosperous following ethical means it really opens their eyes. With this vision we started the Global Forum for Ethics in Business. We focused on showcasing concrete role models to young people which can become their guiding light and demonstrate that we can be both ethical and progressive.
When we brought everyone together in our youth forum and showed what happens to people who rise unethically and how fast they subsequently fall, it made young people become more aware of what they should be and should not be doing.
With this idea we have been promoting ethics in business. There is one thing that is very common today and that is stress. Stress permeates our societies and is present in almost every field. When people are stressed, their perception is blurred and their expression is regretful. We need to help people get out of stress and our efforts have focused on this goal over the past 35 years–whether it is in prison, or in schools, or in colleges.
So the question is how do we free ourselves from stress and smile more?
Born in 1956 in Southern India, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was a gifted child. By the age of four, he was able to recite parts of the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Sanskrit scripture and was often found in meditation. His first teacher was Sudhakar Chaturvedi, who had had a long cooperation with Mahatma Gandhi. He holds degrees in, both, Vedic literature and physics.
He founded The Art of Living as an international, non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization. Its educational and self-development programs offer powerful tools to eliminate stress and foster a sense of well-being. Appealing not only to a specific population, these practices have proven effective globally and at all levels of society.
In 1997, he also founded the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) to coordinate sustainable development projects, nurture human values and coordinate conflict resolution in association with The Art of Living. In India, Africa and South America, the two sister organizations' volunteers are spearheading sustainable growth in rural communities, and have already reached out to 40,212 villages.
A noted humanitarian leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's programs have provided assistance to people from a wide range of backgrounds–victims of natural disasters, survivors of terror attacks and war, children from marginalized populations and communities in conflict, among others. The strength of his message has inspired a wave of service based on spirituality through a huge body of volunteers, who are driving these projects forward in critical areas around the globe.
As a spiritual teacher, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has rekindled the traditions of yoga and meditation and offered them in a form that is relevant to the 21st century. Beyond reviving ancient wisdom, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has created new techniques for personal and social transformation.
These include the Sudarshan Kriya which has helped millions of people to find relief from stress and discover inner reservoirs of energy and peace in daily life. In a mere 31 years, his programs and initiatives have touched the lives of over 370 million people in 152 countries.
As an ambassador of peace, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar plays a key role in conflict resolution and spreads his vision of non-violence at public forums and gatherings world-wide. Regarded as a neutral figure with a sole agenda of peace, he represents hope to people in conflict. He has received particular credit for bringing opposing parties to the negotiating table in Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Kashmir and Bihar. He was appointed the Chairman of Reception Committee for the 500th anniversary celebrations of the Coronation of Krishnadevaraya (by Government of Karnataka, India). Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is also a member of the Amarnath Shrine Board (appointed by Government of Jammu and Kashmir, India).
Through his initiatives and addresses, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has consistently emphasized the need for reinforcing human values and recognizing humanity as our highest identity. Fostering interfaith harmony and calling for multi-cultural education as the remedy for fanaticism are significant parts of his efforts to achieve sustainable peace on our planet.
His work has touched the lives of millions of people around the world, going beyond the barriers of race, nationality and religion with the message of a "One-World Family"; that inner and outer peace are possible; and that a stress-free, violence-free society can be created through service and the reawakening of human values.
©OECD Observer November 2016