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Horasis Declaration: Our Commitment to Principled Leadership in Times of Disruption

17 Mar, 2020

by Brian J. Grim, Ph.D.


This is part of a daily blog by RFBF President Brian Grim highlighting positive business responses to the pandemic, and part of the COVIDxNOW Global Economic Leaders Consortium, which is seeking to deliver innovative solutions for COVID19


Another casualty of Covid-19 coronavirus is this year’s annual global meeting of Horasis in Cascais, Portugal. As I have done for the past four years, I was to lead a panel of business and faith leaders to discuss the role of ethics in our global economy.

Included on our now-canceled panel was Klaus Moosmayer, Ph.D. Chief Ethics, Risk & Compliance Officer of Novartis. Swiss-based Novartis is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies by both market capitalization and sales. Novartis, like many companies, are responding to the pandemic in a variety of ways, ranging from funds to help economically impacted communities to using their own capabilities to seek for solutions.

I applaud Frank Jurgen-Richter, Chairman of Horasis, for his tireless efforts to find solutions to global challenges, including this one. He emphasizes — in the following Horasis Declaration — the importance of principled leadership during this unprecedented global challenge.


The Horasis Declaration

Our Commitment to Principled Leadership in Times of Disruption

At the dawn of a new decade, humankind faces unprecedented challenges to the wellbeing of our planet and the prosperity as well as survival of our species. Confronting the perils of climate change, economic, racial, ethnic and gender inequality, and most recently disease outbreak, urgently necessitates increased international and inter-generational collaboration and collective creativity.

Yet, the trend towards populism is sowing seeds of division and isolation within society, undermining this capacity to effectively work together to address the globe’s most pressing issues. ‘Us versus them’ ideologies further strain socio-economic, racial and government relations, all while neglecting to provide solutions.

Businesses also feel the effects of the leadership crisis. Saddled with uncertainty surrounding trade disputes and the decoupling of long-standing international organizations, industry leaders face deepening existential challenges.

As government, private, and non-profit sector leaders of influence at this most decisive moment in history, we collectively express our conviction that the biggest problems of humanity can and must be resolved by adhering to a more Principled form of Leadership, defined as the alignment of a leader’s behavior with the values the organization outlines for itself. By leading by example to apply ethical standards that reflect shared values, we can best apply this leadership. Furthermore, we hereby commit to:

  1. 1. Promoting a culture of collaboration within and amongst societies, as well as between the public and private sectors.
  2. 2. Foregoing short-term, personal gains in favor of benefiting humankind and the planet in the long run.
  3. 3. Running our governments and organizations with openness, transparency, honesty, humility, and trust in others.
  4. 4. Championing the rights of all stakeholders, not just those of shared affiliations or mutual interests.
  5. 5. Actively investing in underserved communities to better address global inequality.

Historically, times of crises have opened the door to oppressors. Now, facing perhaps the biggest test to humankind and the future of our planet, it will be up to principled government and business leaders to lead society to favourable, democratic resolutions.

We thusly make known our firm resolution to this endeavor.

  • — Mohamed ElBaradei, Former Vice-President of Egypt, Nobel Peace Price 2005, Egypt
  • — Ibrahima Guimba-Saidou, Minister and Special Advisor to the President of Niger, Niger
  • — Luca Jahier, President, European Economic and Social Committee, European Union
  • — Dalibor Jevtic, Minister for Communities and Return, Kosovo
  • — Dylan Jones, Deputy Minister for Western Economic Diversification, Canada
  • — Diene Keita, Minister for International Cooperation and African Integration, Guinea
  • — Fawzia Koofi, Vice President, National Assembly, Afghanistan
  • — Ernest Bai Koroma, Former President of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone
  • — Yves Leterme, Former Prime Minister of Belgium, Belgium
  • — Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, Norway
  • — Ehud Olmert, Former Prime Minister, Israel
  • — Jonathan T. M. Reckford, Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity International, USA
  • — Valerie Rockefeller, Chair, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, USA
  • — Amos Sawyer, Former President of Liberia, Liberia
  • — Eva-Lotta Sjöstedt, Member of the Supervisory Board, Metro, Germany
  • — Karen Tang, Executive Director, The Better Hong Kong Foundation, Hong Kong
  • — Vitaly Vanshelboin, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations, Denmark
  • — Luca Visentini, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), European Union
  • — Deborah Wince-Smith, President, United States Council on Competitiveness, USA