Zoom Round Table on the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad and Reconciliation between the Jews and Palestinians — Join us Tuesday, July 23

I have reported, hopefully with good effect, on our providing good offices for the study of the covenants given by the Prophet Muhammad to respect and protect Christians and Jews.

In May, with the gracious permission of the Pontifical Institute for the Study of Arabic and Islam, we convened two meetings in Rome to present in public the importance for today of the Prophet’s covenants.

The book describing the contents and historicity of the covenants written by our colleagues, Professor Ibrahim Zein and Ahmed El-Wakil, can be found here.

Please join us for a Zoom round table at 8:30 am (CDT) on Tuesday, July 23, to discuss the covenants.

Some of those who helped lead this effort will be joining us.

To register, please email jed@cauxroundtable.net.

I also attach here a recent commentary of mine published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on how covenant might be used to bring about reconciliation between the Palestinians and Jews.

The event will last about an hour.

2023 Dayton Award – Wednesday, July 17

The American people do not trust the institutions that sustain their Constitutional Republic.  As of last April, 23% of Americans say they trust the government in Washington, D.C. to do what is right “just about always” (2%) or “most of the time” (21%).  Last year, 16% said they trusted the government just about always or most of the time, which was among the lowest measures in nearly seven decades of polling.  Only 8% of Americans Congress.  Only 14% trust television news and 18% trust newspapers.  Only 26% trust public schools and the presidency.

Without trust, social capital evaporates.  Without social capital, human capital withers.  Without social and human capital, constitutional republics collapse.

Trust emerges when people tell the truth, when what they say can be relied upon.

Telling the truth, then, is necessary for the success of constitutional democracy.

Telling the truth, then, is the moral obligation of leaders in a free society.

For 2023, our board has selected from among those nominated Liz Collin of Alpha News to receive the Dayton Award for her documentary, The Fall of Minneapolis.  In recommending her for the award, she was described as focused on mission, community and government impact, as well as having the vision and prudence of a level 5 leader.  She was credited with having a “powerful mixture of personal humility and indomitable will.”  “Her ambition is first and foremost for the cause of truth, not for herself.”

The award will be presented to her at a lunch at the Minneapolis Club at noon on Wednesday, July 17 and you are invited to join us.

Cost to attend is only $15 (plus tax).

For more information or to register, please click here.

Caux Round Table Book Club for 2024: Books and Dates

I have been discussing with our staff and some fellows and interested participants the value to our network of starting a book discussion club in 2024.

Since the formidable works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx, our understanding of capitalism and its alternatives – and of economics, sociology, psychology, politics – has been formed by books.  Those who don’t (can’t) read are at a great loss for not having many contextualizing frames of meaning and narratives with which to think about and rationally act in our world.  They know little about how we got here, what is shaping our lives and where we might go.

Every week or so, it seems to me, there appears one or more new books with relevant contributions to our assessments of the past, present and future.  Too many for me to keep track of.

As we learn from books, we also learn from each other.

We will meet once a quarter by Zoom to discuss a book which has been selected for us to read.

Somewhat haphazardly, we propose these four recently published books:

Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle OverTechnology and Prosperityby Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson
Why Empires Fall: Rome, America and the Future of the Westby Peter Heather and John Rapley
The Civic Bargain: How Democracy Survivesby Brook Manville and Josiah Ober
Mandeville’s Fable: Pride, Hypocrisy and Sociabilityby Robin Douglass

The times and dates of the discussions are:

-9:00 am (CST) Thursday, February 15 – Power and Progress
-9:00 am (CDT) Wednesday, May 15 – Why Empires Fall
9:00 am (CDT) Thursday, August 15 – The Civic Bargain
9:00 am (CST) Friday, November 15 – Mandeville’s Fable

We will send a notice of meeting and reminders before each date so that you may register to participate.

If the discussions prove fruitful, we can consider adding books and discussion sessions.

I hope this initiative meets with your approval and that you might want to participate.

Please let me know any thoughts you might have on making this initiative as rewarding as possible for participants.

American Education In-person Round Table – Thursday, May 23

Our colleague, Michael Hartoonian, keeps us thinking about how a society can meet expectations of promoting moral capitalism and benefiting from moral government if citizens are not well educated.

America is in crisis – mostly due to elite failure in government and culture.  Our slogan, to borrow from students in our elite educational institutions, might be: “From the Atlantic to the Pacific – America is unhappy.”  The crisis has enveloped all our institutions of education, from pre-K to post graduate.  Failure of educational institutions has aggravated our dis-ease.

One set of data on this is the following chart:

Michael has recently drafted a statement on public education.  I have sent it to the presidents of colleges and universities in Minnesota with a request that they work with us on a Minnesota statement of ethical principles for higher education.  I attach a copy for your review.

Please join at noon on Thursday, May 23 at Landmark Center for an in-person round table over lunch to discuss what needs to be done to address what is both a consequence and a cause of our national anxiety and consequent low expectations of ourselves and our leaders.

Registration and lunch will begin at 11:30 am.

Cost to attend is $20.

Lunch will be provided by Afro Deli.

To register, please email jed@cauxroundtable.net.

Sufficiency Economy Philosophy Zoom Round Table – Tuesday, May 7

Please join us at 8:30 am (CDT) on Tuesday, May 7, for a Zoom round table with two insightful colleagues – Patrick O’Sullivan and Vasu Srivibha – to explore the Theravada Buddhist approach to, if you will, moral capitalism.

Their article on stewardship and the sufficiency economy philosophy – known in Thailand as the “SEP” – was published in the February issue of Pegasus.  You may read the article here.

Vasu is my colleague at the Sasin School of Management in Bangkok and Patrick has taught there, as well.

The SEP was the exceptional contribution of His Late Majesty King Bhumibol to his people, a proposal for equilibrium and sustainability in our economies – personal, family, communal, regional, national and international.

I was once privileged to have a long audience with His Majesty years ago, as he was starting to develop his framework for having restraint and taking due care in our lives.  I was quite impressed with his sincerity and his dedication in getting it right.

Please join us for a cross-cultural consideration of optimizing our lived experiences.

To register, please email jed@cauxroundtable.net.

The event will last between an hour and hour and a half.

Cultivating a Better Understanding of AI: An In-person Round Table with Fellow Micheal Wright on April 2

We are delighted to invite you to an in-person round table presentation on the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its potential applications across research and strategy development at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, April 2, at the Landmark Center (room 326) in St. Paul.  The session will be led by our colleague, Michael Wright, CEO of Intercepting Horizons, a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience across various sectors, including public, private and nonprofit and a fellow of the Caux Round Table.  He is also the author of two patents in micro-fluidics and two books, The Exponential Era and The New Business Normal, both on management and technology.

Michael is a values-driven leader and innovator who is passionate about leveraging technological convergences to shape future business landscapes.  He has a diverse background in industries, such as software, IoT, semiconductor equipment from lithography to test and AI-based strategic foresight and business development.  He has also chaired the SEMI Industry Strategy Symposium and received the IABC Excel Award for Leadership.

In this presentation, Michael will provide an overview of AI, including key terminology, types and use cases, with a particular focus on strategic foresight.  He will share insights from his experience working with AI and highlight its potential to transform industries and drive sustainable growth.

We believe this presentation will be of great value to you and will stimulate engaging discussions on the future of AI and its implications for businesses and society.

Registration, with light refreshments, will begin at 4:30 pm.

Cost to attend is $15.

To register, please email jed@cauxroundtable.net.

The event will last between an hour and hour and a half.

I Don’t Know about God, But is Higher Education Dead? Please Join Us February 1 on Zoom

Given the high-profile, recent scandals in higher education (Harvard and Claudine Gay come to mind), is it, in the West, still higher education? As Nietzsche might ask, “Is higher education dead?” If so, what is it and what can we do about it?

Please join us at 9:00 am (CST) on Thursday, February 1, on Zoom to discuss.

To register, please email jed@cauxroundtable.net.

The event will last about an hour.

What Happened in 2023 and What Does it Mean for the Long Run? Please Join Us on the 28th on Zoom

One of the mantras of sustainability, ESG, climate change advocacy and corporate social responsibility is long-termism over short-termism.

So, when things happen – presidents elected, inflation erodes well-being, wars are started, wars slog through stalemate and soldiers die, inventions come on line, companies go bust, families quarrel, cultures clash – are these just passing episodes of no account or are they making history?

Ralph Waldo Emerson resented that “Events are in the saddle and ride mankind.”  Are not events largely the products of human minds?

Please join us at 9:00 am (CST) on Thursday, December 28 on Zoom to reflect on what has happened to us during the 12 months of 2023.

Are we happier, better off, in worse shape or what?  What did the year set in motion for our futures?  Was it determined by our past?  What was the role of human genius and human error?

We would like to hear your thoughts.

To register, please email jed@cauxroundtable.net.

The event will last about an hour.

Please Join Us for In-person Round Table over Lunch December 19 to Discuss Safety in Our Schools

Please join us for an in-person round table over lunch at noon on Tuesday, December 19, at the Landmark Center in St. Paul on safety in schools and student character development with Ambrose Russell.

Ambrose is a member of the Minnesota Character Council. Ten years ago, he founded the Inner Hero Organization to work with youth in schools on becoming community leaders.

As “bad” behaviors when someone harms another become more and more to the fore in our communities – theft, assault, unsafe schools – we look for causes and for solutions.

Where public schools are concerned, one response, now questioned by many, is to place police or other law enforcers in schools.

But if the cause of “bad” behavior is a failure of character, the weakening of the moral sense, succumbing to fears and insecurities, the rise of self-referential values and disparagement of the “other,” then should not these causes of “bad” behavior be addressed, rather than responding to behavior as only symptoms?

What could be the constructive deployment of ethics in our schools to improve their safety for all students?

Cost to attend is $20 per person, which you can pay at the door.

Box lunches will be provided by Afro Deli.

To register, please email jed@cauxroundtable.net.

The event will last between an hour and hour and a half.

Moral Perspectives from Bangkok and Tokyo: Please Join Us on Zoom on November 9

Please join us on Zoom at 9:00 am (CST) on Thursday, November 9, for a briefing on my discussions in Bangkok and Tokyo on bringing forward the middle way taught by the Buddha and similar perceptions of balance and harmony, which underlie Shinto philosophy.

To register, please email jed@cauxroundtable.net.

Relatedly, some reflections on following a “way” will be included in the October issue of Pegasus, which will be available shortly.

The event will last about an hour.