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ARC launches a major partnership with big ideas

March 20, 2013:

Formed in 1968 the Club of Rome is a unique network of expertise and influence

ValuesQuest - launching a major partnership between ARC and the The Club of Rome

2013 sees the beginning of what promises to be a groundbreaking piece of work initiated by ARC and the Club of Rome aiming to discover 'values which will make a world of difference'.

The ValuesQuest initiative arose from last year's 40th anniversary of the Club of Rome's The Limits to Growth - the first major paper produced by the influential international think-tank, and a radical (and prescient) challenge to the consumer boom of the 70s. As part of the celebrations ARC Secretary-General Martin Palmer was invited to deliver a thought-provoking presentation to the Club, which he did in the form of a blog in January 2012.

The ValuesQuest discussion paper examines the social, historical and environmental contexts of values and raises many challenging ideas.
Titled How beliefs, values, ethos and inspiration are essential for saving the world the blog looked at the ways these essential driving forces for social change were ignored or undervalued in contemporary debates. The ideas presented in the blog led to ValuesQuest, a more detailed discussion paper jointly written by Martin Palmer and Karl Wagner, Director of External Relations, Club of Rome and published in early 2013.

In the words of the Club of Rome: "ValuesQuest intends to explore and articulate the origins of values and to make us understand the importance of addressing values and of understanding the role of our narrative and of stories in transmitting and changing value systems. It aims to focus, sharpen and clarify an already existing debate by contributing a philosophical and historical underpinning to the discussion."

This is more than just an academic discussion, however, as ValuesQuest aims "to explore these issues and to map out a path forward, addressing the need for values to inform and shape our ways of life in the expectation that these will enable a more humane and just society to develop, one more attuned to the needs of others and the needs of the planet."

The discussion will begin in May 2013 with a series of events at HowTheLIghtGetsIn, an annual festival of ideas held in Hay on Wye, UK. ValuesQuest authors Martin Palmer and Karl Wagner will attend the festival and take part in formal and informal debates to begin raising the ideas that will be explored further over the next two years.

As clear areas for exploration arise it is anticipated the ValuesQuest initiative will be commissioning specialist papers and debates from a diversity of thinkers and organisations around the world. The results of all of this will be brought together into a report for the Club of Rome that will be published as a book in late 2014.

Among the events at HowTheLightGetsIn will be four discussions on subjects including: the loss of Utopianism; the impact of atheism on European culture; the importance of non-rational experiences in shaping values; the ways that humanity's relationship with the Earth affects our values. Each debate will have its own panel of respected experts and thinkers, with contributors including Simon Glendinning, Marina Benjamin, Jenni Calder and Fazlun Khalid as well as the ValuesQuest authors themselves.

The culmination of ValuesQuest will be in 2015 when the Millennium Development Goals are due to be revamped. It is intended that, as with all Club of Rome reports, the ideas and challenges thrown up by the project will be brought to bear on the reality of decision making about international thought and action on the environment and development and funding will be sought to allow a major conference on values in that year.




Useful links

Club of Rome website

Martin Palmers January 2012 blog

Club of Rome ValuesQuest page

ValuesQuest Discussion Paper

HowTheLIghtGetsIn Festival



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