Why Love Matters

Values in Governance

by Scherto Gill (Volume editor) David Cadman (Volume editor)
©2016 Textbook VIII, 273 Pages


As our current systems of decision-making are increasingly unable to meet the global challenges of climate change, resource depletion, poverty, healthcare, economic instability and global violence, the contributors in this book make a radical proposal for an innovative form of governance that is based on core human values such as love, compassion, care, justice and dignity. Arising from a concern that the «old paradigm» of alienation, consumerism, selfishness and exploitation is damaging for humankind and the family of Earth, the book postulates that a new way of being must be in place so that intrinsic values of caring for others should underpin the intent of our decisions at personal, regional, national, international and global levels. With illustrative references and examples in fields of politics, economy, health and peace, the content of this book argues forcefully that Love, with a capital L, matters in governance, where values can serve as the basis to transform human consciousness about international institutions, community relationships and individual actions. Why Love Matters provides an important introductory text to students of global governance, management studies, political economics, international relations and peace studies, and equally offers illuminating and instructive ideas to leaders, managers and practitioners who are interested in what values-based governance means and looks like and how to go about it in practice.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Foreword
  • List of Figures
  • Acknowledgments
  • General Introduction
  • Part I: Love Matters: An Emerging Shift in Consciousness
  • Introduction to Part One
  • 1. The Leap in Consciousness
  • 2. Nourishing the Soul of a Leader
  • 3. The Need for Altruism
  • 4. A New Economic System Based on Core Human Values
  • 5. Governance with a Human Face
  • Part II: Values in Governance: Towards a Compassionate System
  • Introduction to Part Two
  • 6. Compassionate Governance in Corporations
  • 7. Love, Compassion and Respect in Earth System Governance: The Contribution of Convergence
  • 8. Globalisation of Compassion: The Example of Global Health
  • 9. Communities and Freedom: Transforming Governance
  • 10. Pillars of Peace
  • 11. A New Form of Global Governance
  • Part III: Governance in Action
  • Introduction to Part Three
  • 12. Governance and Politics
  • 13. Reconciliation: From Hostility and Violence to Valuing the Other, Compassion and Altruism Born of Suffering
  • 14. Caring Science
  • 15. Finding the Others: The Re-Imaging of Politics for a Brighter Future in Iceland and Canada
  • 16. The Efforts of King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue to Promote a Culture of Dialogue and Tolerance in the Saudi Society
  • Epilogue
  • References
  • Contributors
  • Index

← vi | vii →




About 15 years ago, at the Peace Centre that I gave my name to, we organised a Colloquium on Values-Based Leadership. Since then, I have been reflecting on values and governance and have come to understand a bit more about the most desirable qualities in leaders. From Nelson Mandela, for instance, I have learned that great leaders serve and lead for the sake of and on behalf of people; from his Holiness the Dalai Lama, I have learned that great leaders personify and exemplify by embodying and living the values they wish to instill in the community, in the nation; from Aung San Suu Kyi, I have learned that great leaders inspire and they invite others to share the spirit of magnanimity and purpose.

However, as South Africa continues celebrating its journey from apartheid into democracy, I am also learning that great qualities and great leaders are not enough. The future of South Africa lies in good governance. For most of us, good governance is about transparency, accountability, respect for human rights, rule of law and democracy. However, the more I observe South Africa’s processes, the more I realise that good governance is more than that. Good governance is about a vision of what it means to be human, together.

In other words, good governance is to live out Ubuntu at a global scale. Ubuntu is a South African word suggesting that humans cannot exist in isolation because we are bound together in oneness. Ubuntu means that we can become who we truly are only through our relationship with others and through others being themselves. We are interconnected. Ubuntu is the ultimate philosophy of good governance. Without Ubuntu, without love and compassion, there will be no human dignity—dignity as the result of our caring for one another which underlies other moral pillars of our societies: respect, forgiveness, understanding and justice. ← vii | viii →

At the moment, our world is threatened by terror, fear, hatred and division and equally humanity is struggling to bring prosperity and well-being to all corners of our planet. The need for a new narrative that restores love and compassion as our core values and humanness as our way of being together has never been greater. Therefore, set in the context of such a global urgency, this deeply insightful book not only points out the need for a new narrative for our humanity, but in my view, it is itself part of the new narrative. In reading the collection of articles, we are once again reassured that we are each made for goodness and that ordinary acts of love and compassion speak to the extraordinary promise that every human life is of inestimable value. As one reflects on the ideas put forward in the book, is it not more clear that if such propositions are regarded as radical, it is a sorry commentary on all of us? And yet might it be that the acceptance of these truths and bringing them to the centre of our lives is now absolutely necessary for our very thriving—together?

Love Matters: Values in Governance, despite being provocative, speaks forcefully about the emergent shift in human consciousness. These articles offer compelling exemplars illustrating that Ubuntu is not just a philosophy but a possible reality if it is embedded in the fundamental considerations for a system of governance and leadership.

I commend the many thoughts, ideas and actions contained in this book. The wide range of different but connected aspects of our lives addressed in the book—sustainability, spirituality, community, health, well-being, economics, politics, peace and reconciliation—are helpful in enriching our understanding of values in governance.

I hope that the ‘story’ being told in this book is heard, understood and acted upon.

God bless you.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Cape Town, South Africa

← viii | ix →


List of Figures

Chapter 7

Figure 1. How rocks, oil, fish, and grass lead to people (Koca, 2013).

Chapter 10

Figure 1. The Pillars of Peace.

Figure 2. Stronger Pillars Lead to More Peaceful Outcomes.

Figure 3. Effective Governance.

Figure 4. Causality.

Figure 5. Peace as a Guiding Principle. ← ix | x →

← x | xi →



The proposal for this book was originally put forward at the 2nd Spirit of Humanity (SoH) Forum held on April 10–12, 2014, in Reykjavik, Iceland. This volume is a collection of selected articles inspired by the Forum.

We first want to thank each of the contributors of this volume who were also participants, presenters, and speakers at the SoH Forum. We are grateful for their imagination and articulation of the emerging shift in governance as well as their invaluable insights into the global challenges and complexities confronting humanity today.

We are most indebted to the team at the SoH Forum without whose encouragement we wouldn’t have been able to put together this collection. We are equally thankful for the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace for its trustees’ understanding and appreciation of the meaningfulness of this volume and for their thoughtful contribution to this project.

We also thank the City of Reykjavik for its partnership in hosting the SoH Forum. The leaders of the City, in particular, the former Mayor Jón Gnarr, the Director of Culture and Tourism, Svanhildur Konradsdottir and MP Óttarr Proppé, have been exceptionally supportive of us in the process of editing this unique volume, which is also an expression of the City’s dedication and commitment to values-based governance.

We owe a special note of thanks to Laura Hobson for her invaluable administrative support as well as to the team at Peter Lang for their assistance during the final production phase.

Scherto Gill and David Cadman
← xi | xii →

← xii | 1 →


General Introduction

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other—not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.

—Nelson Mandela

Towards a New Story

We are storytellers.

From the beginning, we have told each other stories for comfort and for explanation. Indeed, it is by the telling of stories that we have held together as communities—families, tribes, nations, and civilizations; it is through stories that we belong—we share the story of who we are and who we aspire to be and become.

Stories are fundamentally about the values that we share and the ways in which our communities come together. In other words, stories articulate a value system through which we agree to live with one another. When we encounter the need for change, we must re-examine the old stories and their underlying value systems that have brought us to where we are and create new stories to live by. That is to say we must truly distance ourselves from the old narrative rather than looking from within its boundaries. This requires a shift in consciousness.

At present, humanity is between stories. We shall suggest that the old story is increasingly seen to be inadequate and even harmful and that a new story is yet to be imagined and to be told. If the old story is about competition, assertiveness, and unlimited consumption to support economic growth, the new story seems likely to be about collaboration, reciprocity, and an economy of enough, an emerging narrative that speaks of that Ubuntu, an African ← 1 | 2 → philosophy of solidarity and interdependence, to which Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu refers in his Foreword.

The new story is not just an aspiration or dream; it also points to pragmatic action grounded in a necessary shift of human consciousness and already being pioneered by some individuals and organisations who have started to change. To make this shift, or rather this leap, in consciousness, is to see that to be truly human is to be part of a greater whole, whether this be the integration of the inner and outer being of the individual, the individual in the community, humanity as part of Nature, or indeed of our interconnected being within the universe.

At the core of this new story is a key message: core human values such as love, respect, compassion, justice, and dignity are not external to our life or our society; rather they are integral to our being. Indeed, they arise from our true being, which cannot be otherwise. This is so for all aspects of our lives, including family, personal relations, work, the way of our economic, corporate and institutional structures, our relationship with the natural environment, and all forms of political governance and decision-making.

It was within this context that the Spirit of Humanity (SoH) Forum began its work to explore core human values in decision-making. In September 2012, the first SoH Forum took place in Reykjavik and brought together over one hundred leaders from different parts of the world to examine the practical possibilities offered by this shift in human consciousness. Reykjavik was chosen as the birthplace of the Forum due to its uncompromising commitment to strive to become a world capital of peace. And here the idea of establishing a community of practice was born, aimed at connecting people from around the globe who share a passion for values-based work and who aspire to learn from each other through such connections.

In April 2014, over two hundred people from forty countries around the world again gathered in Reykjavik to take part in the second SoH Forum. Recognising the positive energy of love and compassion as one of the deepest and most enduring aspects of human nature and realising that these core human values are key guiding principles for good economy, peaceful society, and sustainable environment, Reykjavik 2014 made an explicit call for creatively re-imagining new forms of governance that respect people and Nature. It served to create a space for thinkers and activists to discuss and share value-based decision-making in many fields. Within this space, a community of practitioners came together with the possibility that they would continue their work feeling supported and invigorated by having shared with and learned from each other. ← 2 | 3 →

These two forums also prompted us to explore certain core values in depth and reflect on what might be meant by ‘values in governance’. This book is, therefore, an attempt to undertake that exploration, in particular, to examine more closely the underlying principles that have sustained this active work around the globe, to make propositions with regard to ways to effect positive change at a systemic level, and to inquire into practical examples that illustrate how the work of values might have profound and beneficial impact on our societies and our planet.

The book thus serves as a platform for bringing together divergent voices from different fields of action to narrate this emergent story. The inspirational and pragmatic nature of the narrative suggests that it will have different kinds of ‘plots’—plots that have to be brought together as a whole, brought into some kind of balance and harmony. This includes the balance of the global system in its entirety with the sum of its parts, spirituality and mysticism with political realism, philosophical reflection with social practices, critical analyses with compassionate concerns, and individual inner values with collective outer actions.

We believe that bringing these diverse voices together and letting them be heard will further strengthen the coherence of the new story that has started to be developed in the SoH Forums. Thus Stewart Wallis, the Executive Director of New Economics Foundation, and one of the speakers at Reykjavik 2014 and a contributor to this book, describes this story as our ‘new world symphony’ orchestrated in such a manner that the different instruments and voices play and sing to the same music score—a common narrative that compels us, the leaders and the led, to be, become and act from who we truly are and for the future of humanity.

Aims of the Book

In light of this, and with a sense of urgency, this book aims to explore the new story, the emerging narrative; to try and understand how such a shift in human consciousness could take place, and how it is, in effect, already taking place, and what insights we might gain in order to overcome the challenges.


VIII, 273
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2016 (February)
global governance politics national dialogue
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2016. VIII, 273 pp.

Biographical notes

Scherto Gill (Volume editor) David Cadman (Volume editor)

Scherto Gill (PhD) is a Research Fellow at the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Sussex. She writes in the fields of education, peace and dialogue. Her most recent publications including Rethinking Secondary Education (2013) and Religion, Spirituality and Human Flourishing (2014). David Cadman is a Quaker writer and a Visiting Professor at University College London and University of Maryland, and an Honorary Professor of Practice at the University of Wales Trinity St. David. Among other positions, he is a Senior Fellow of The Prince’s Foundation of Building Community and a Trustee of the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts. His most recent publications include Love Matters (2014).


Title: Why Love Matters