The first in-person edition of the symposium since 2020 brought together experts and stakeholders from across academia, industry and the NGO sector.
City hosted its fourth successful National symposium on Developing Socially Responsible Professionals on January 11th 2023, sponsored by Accenture and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) UK.
City’s President, Professor Sir Anthony Finkelstein, warmly welcomed participants to the event and remarked on the significance and ethical dimensions of City’s mission as “The University of business, practice and the professions”.
In his presentation, ‘Setting the Challenge’, SST Executive Dean and City’s Social Responsibility lead, Professor Rajkumar Roy, discussed the objective measurement of social value and shared indices on trust in a variety of professions in the UK and the USA.
Three pre-lunchtime keynote addresses provided penetrating insights into ethical and moral issues in contrasting contexts.
Dr Victoria Baines, Worshipful Company of Information Technology (WCIT) Professor of IT at Gresham College, spoke about the ethics of the Metaverse and how activities carried out in immersive environments such as Runescape carry ethical implications for real-world interactions.
Andrew Baughen, Chaplain and Visiting Lecturer at Bayes Business School, spoke about Soulful Enterprise which maps the types of value an organisation is generating and helps individuals see the specific contributions to the overall value they are creating.
Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at City, Professor Stephen O’Connor, detailed several case studies of breaches of medical ethics and disreputable practices by medical practitioners and medical equipment manufacturers in the UK, Germany and the USA.
The keynote speeches were followed by the panel debate, titled “Ethics in different professions – UG and PG curriculum requirements”, chaired by Andrew Vautier, Senior Managing Director at Accenture. The panel featured Dr Victoria Baines, Professor Stephen O’Connor, Andrew Baughen, Professor Felicean Campean (Associate Dean, Research and Innovation at the University of Bradford); Professor Sanowar Khan (City Professor of Instrumentation and Sensors and SST Associate Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) and Dr Jonathan Truslove (Education and Skills Lead at EWB UK).
Professor Nalin Thakkar (Vice-President of the University of Manchester) spoke about the university’s journey in embedding social responsibility on campus and in its outreach overseas in his post-lunch keynote address. It was followed by Professor Andy Phippen (Professor of Digital Rights, Bournemouth University) in ‘We shouldn’t always do it just because it's technically possible’, addressing, among several issues, some of the trust issues around assurances given to parents by companies selling software to them to monitor their children’s use of the internet. Dr Manny Contomanolis (Director of Career Services at Harvard University) spoke about ‘Social responsibility and employability’ in the context of Harvard and the American university student experience. Julia George (Court Liveryman at the Worshipful Company Information Technologists) presented an environmental, social and governance (ESG) White Paper prepared by City students which critically assessed an ESG model proposed by the WCIT’s Social Value Leadership Group (SVLG).
This was followed by a panel debate chaired by Master of the WCIT, Rob Wirszcyz, comprising Julia George, Dr Manny Contomanolis, Professor Mike Sutcliffe (Chairman of the Engineering Professors Council), Andrew Vautier, and Professor Nalin Thakkar.
Professor Rajkumar Roy said discussions and debate at this year’s National symposium “serve to embed City’s involvement in leading the discourse around what a socially responsible professional should look like”.
“We are very grateful to our very thoughtful and inspiring invited speakers and chairs, and to our sponsors, Accenture and Engineers Without Borders UK, for their invaluable assistance”.
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