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Friday, April 17, 2020

Black Scholar Explains Why the International Day of Conscience is So Important

By Dr. Zekeh Gbotokuma

Dr. Zekeh Gbotokuma

Nationwide — On September 26-27, 2019, I attended the 2019 World Leader Summit on the theme, “Promoting the Culture of Peace With Love & Conscience.” It took place at UN Headquarters in New York. It was organized by the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL) and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the UN in conjunction with the UN 74th Session of the General Assembly (#UNGA 74).

The purpose of the Summit was to celebrate the UNGA’s Resolution designating April 5 as the International Day of Conscience (A/RES/73/329) and strategize for the original celebration on April 5, 2020 (http://en.worldpeoplenews.com/news/art-culture/2019-10/40254).

On February 19, 2020, I returned to the UN Headquarters to attend another conference on the theme, “Year of Asia-2020: Justice Forever, Liberty For Ever, Take Action For Multiculturalism For A More Just World.” It was co-organized by the Strasbourg-France-based Council on Justice, Equality, and Peace (COJEP International) and FOWPAL. This gathering was an opportunity to remind participants – most of whom attended September 2019 Leader Summit and/or UNGA 74 – of the first observance of the UN-designated International Day of Conscience.

We were supposed to meet in New York’s Time Square for a mega celebration open to the public. Unfortunately, the celebration has to take place online because of the #Coronavirus or COVID-19-related social distancing draconian measures urging people to #StayHome. It is worth noting with solidarity, sorrow, and sympathy that as of April 3, 2020, there were more than 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 54,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The pandemic epicenter has moved from Wuhan, China to the United States where there were more than 245,000 confirmed cases and more than 6,000 deaths, as of April 3, with New York City claiming the lion’s share.

May all COVID-19 patients worldwide get well soon. May all those who have died rest in peace and may CONSCIENCE be our guide during our ongoing teleworking, social distancing, and #StayHome experience.

On behalf of President of Polyglots For Diversity, Inc (PAD), I have accepted FOWPAL’s cordial invitation to join the international community in observing the First UN International Day of Conscience on April 5 (#InternationalConscienceDay). More precisely, I was invited to share my perspective on conscience.

It is a self-evident truth that for us as humans and rational, truth-seeking, and peace-loving, happiness-pursuing beings, Conscience Matters. Yes, it does.

* Conscience matters because as Dr. Tao-Tze Hong of FOWPAL puts it, “Conscience is the compass in people’s hearts.”

* Conscience matters because it takes conscience to seek and find global solutions to global problems, and transform our world.

* Conscience matters because it takes conscience to respect the Paris Climate Accord and rescue the warming planet and the humankind through responsible actions to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

* Conscience matters because it takes conscience to solve the migrant and refugee crisis through international solidarity and commitment to the UN Global Migration Compact. It takes conscience to combat and overcome racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, pretend-populism, and misguided nationalism.

* Conscience matters because it takes conscience to stop the assault on science and reason and trust facts and truth in the international community’s concerted effort to find global solutions to the COVID-19 crisis.

* Conscience matters because it takes conscience to realize the crucial role that world language skills play in acquiring global competency, enhancing global communication ability, gaining cross-cultural understanding, conducting cultural and public diplomacy, and carrying out successful peace-making and peace-keeping operations.

* Conscience matters because, conscience is a GPS that guides humanity’s journey in its relentless quest, request, and conquest of happiness.

* Conscience matters because as the French philosopher François Rabelais stated, “Science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul.”

* Conscience matters because it is urgently needed in today’s “World 4.0,” one that is characterized by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

* Conscience matters because it reminds us of our quintessence as human beings created in the image of God, and endowed with inalienable and basic rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

* Conscience matters because, when Wuhan sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. COVID-19 is not just a Wuhan-Hubei-Chinese-Asian problem anymore. It’s a global problem calling for global solutions consistent with the UN Global Goals.

May the #CORONAVIRUS pandemic be a catalyst for a positive change in the way we think, live, survive, act, react, overreact, underreact, and interact in today’s spider’s web-like, interconnected, interdependent, ‘coviding,’ flattening, warming, unequal, complex, complicated, and hopefully, more collaborative world.

May COVID-19 lead all and each of us to realize the importance and urgency of accessible and affordable healthcare for ALL as a basic human right.

We are all Wuhan. Yes, we are because “We Are the World.”

Conscience matters because finding global solutions to our global problems thereby transforming our world is a matter of Conscience.

Happy International Day of Conscience!

Dr. Zekeh Gbotokuma is a polyglot and Founding President of Polyglots in Action for Diversity, Inc. (PAD). He is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and former Director of the Center for Global Studies at Morgan State University, in Baltimore, Maryland. His “extraordinary commitment to global learning and international understanding” made him the recipient of the prestigious Dr. Sandye Jean McIntyre, II International Award 2008. #Cosmoportism is his philosophy of international education and global competency. He is the author and editor of numerous publibications, including but not limited to Global Safari (2015) and A Polyglot Pocket Dictionary of Lingala, English, French, and Italian (2016). He can be reached at zekehgbotokuma@gmail.com

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