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    "Conflicts of value go with being human. The reason is not that human beings have rival beliefs about a good life. Nor is it -- though this comes closer to the nub of the matter -- that the right action sometimes has wrong as it shadow. It is that human needs make conflicting demands… We do not need common values in order to live together in peace (but we do) need common institutions in which many forms of life can coexist… (where) conflicts of interests and values can be negotiated.”

John Gray in ‘The Moral Universe’, Demos, London, 2001

Values & Culture

We have discussed elsewhere our interest in values and culture.

In this section we have simply provided a short note on a project we ran in 2002 which looked in depth at social values and the important role that values play in the work of social profit organisations. For us, this was a very important piece of work.

Dancers from The Dimitrie Luchiana School in Piscu (a small village in Eastern Romania) performing songs and dances about water. The group performed the piece on Piscu’s Village Day in July as part of a school project on water.

Vision & Values Project

Our Vision and Values Project brought together partners from 10 countries to explore fundamental questions about the work of NGOs, including underlying core values, and also to examine how we might collaborate more effectively in the future to empower and invigorate other non-profit groups involved in social reconstruction, community development and public education. We also wanted to examine the legitimacy and modus operandi of development NGOs, both local and international, extend our network of contacts, and sharpen our message. In preparation for the workshop we prepared a number of position papers on various topics ranging from the role of NGOs in civil society to the nature of 'mentality' (the state of the public's mind).

The workshop lasted 8 days and was held in Milton Kenyes. The countries represented included Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Sierra Leone, Sweden and the UK.

Project: B087 (2002); Sponsor: Network for Social Change.

Since we ran the workshop a number of groups have carried out local projects concerned with the nature of values in society.

Teachers from Alexandru Ioan Cuza School in Bacau, Romania, have recently completed a project on values in daily life. They are here demonstrating some of the materials produced by the students.