Charter of Compassion (Handvest voor Compassie)

12 November 2009

Staff members of the Knowledge Centre Religion and Development were present at the presentation of the Charter for Compassion. After an introduction regarding the story of the good Samaritan by Amsterdam's Mayor Job Cohen, the rabbi Awraham Soetendorp presented the text of the Charter for Compassion. Central starting-point in the Charter is the principle of compassion, that is the basis of all religious, ethnic and spiritual traditions. Because of this, we have to treat others like we want to be treated ourselves. 

Philosopher Tariq Ramadan, who was also involved in writing the text, gave an extra explanation on the Charter of Compassion. He translated compassion into intellectual empathy. Being humble and delaying judgement are important values for compassion.

The last lecturer was Herman Wijffels, who emphasised the need to bring back compassion and empathy within the world of economy. The current world economy needs two things. First, a cycle economy, in which we have to find more 'light' ways of living and relating to others. This will lead to a more sustainable economy. Second, we need triple P governance (people, planet, profit), in which companies much learn to reflect on the consequences of their behavior for other people and the environment. Compassion plays a central role in this.



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