April 5, 2017, Lecture & Workshop on “Learning to be Human and Corporate Culture Construction”

Hosted by the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies (IAHS) and the World Ethics Institute Beijing (WEIB), a Lecture & Workshop on “Learning to be Human and Corporate Culture Construction” took place on April 5, 2017 at m. 108, Bldg. 1 Lee Shau-kee Humanities, Peking University. This lecture & workshop aims at bringing together China’s most culturally conscientious business elites and top university academics, and thereby on the one hand allowing theoretical study of Confucianism to be more in touch with social practice, while on the other hand helping practical implementation of Confucian culture to receive more theoretical reflection and global attention. It is our hope that this meeting can play a leading role in deepening collaborations between the academia and businesses.
Presided by the well-known TV host Jin Bo, the meeting featured key speeches by Board Chairman and President of the FOTILE Group Mr. Mao Zhongqun and Vice General Manager of Suzhou Good-Ark Electronics Ms. Gu Meijun. More than 40 distinguished scholars and business leaders attended the meeting, including Prof. Tu Weiming (the Director of IAHS), Klaus M. Leisinger (Founder and President of the Foundation Global Values Alliance), Prof. Ni Peimin (Executive Vice Director of IAHS), and Prof. Fan Heping (Adjunct Vice Director of WEIB and Vice Director of Jiangsu Provincial Academy of Social Sciences).
Under the title of “FOTILE Confucian Way,” Mr. Mao introduced in detail how his company implemented Confucian values and ideas systematically in corporate operation and management. He points out that what differentiates a great company from big company is compassionate love, and how the idea may translate into very concrete actions and generate great success. Ms. Gu in her speech introduced her company’s experiences of building a “happy enterprise” through learning the culture of the sages. She shared many touching examples of how their employees were transformed by the learning programs and activities they organized, including environmental protection and supporting rural area primary education. After their speech, Professor Fan Heping offered commenting remarks, in which he highly praised these two companies. He pointed out that culture construction must be the mission of our entrepreneurs and not merely used as strategies. What businesses create are not just their products, but cultures as well.
The afternoon session began with Prof. TU Weiming awarding Mr. Mao and Mr. Wu Nianbo, the Board Chairman of Good-Ark Electronics (Ms. Gu received it on behalf of Wu),  certificates of Honorary Advisor of WEIB. After which a panel of eight scholars and business leaders, including Prof. Leisinger, Prof. Ni, Mr. Mao, Ms. Gu, Prof. Fan, Mr. Qin Yunong (President of the Chinese Culture Society at CEIBS, Board Chairman and Managing Partner of the Huili Foundation), Prof. Matthias Niedenfuhr (Vice Director of the China Center Tubingen at the University of Tubingen, Germany), and Dr. Jonathan Keir (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Global Ethic Institute, the University of Tubingen, Germany), had a conversation about business ethics and responded to the comments and questions from the audience. An emerging consensus at the meeting was that parallel to “learning to be human,” business enterprises, as a major force that influences the direction of the contemporary world, need to transform from “profit-making social entities” to be carriers of great cultures and major pillars for social development.
The meeting ended with Professor Tu Weiming’s excellent concluding remarks. Professor Tu pointed out that the rise of China must be accompanied by the rise of Chinese culture, and the rise of Chinese culture must not be taken as the rise of nationalism. The way of China must be viewed in association with the destiny of human civilizations, and it must be a way the benefits of which can be shared by the entire human race.

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