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KSG Support for the World Ethics Foundation

The need for a “World Ethos” can be traced back to the manifesto “Project World Ethos” presented by Professor Hans Küng in 1990. In this document, Küng developed the idea that the religions of the world can make a contribution to the peace of humankind only if they reflect on the fundamental ethic that they have as a universal original ethos already in common from their founders. Consequently they already have a fundamental consensus in already existing binding values, irrevocable standards and fundamental personal attitudes like the 2500 years old Golden Rule (see SM 121127) and its derivates like i.e. the Jewish/Christian Ten Commandments etc.


“Project World Ethos” traces these existing origins and elaborates on the binding values in those basic convictions of humankind. Efforts to overcome differences and cultivate normative common features are important contributions for dissolving differences as well as the tragic and militant conflicts within and among religions. Whilst religions and churches separate peoples, the well understood Worldethos idea unites - when thinking. In global businesses this is obvious and trust-building.


In 1998 I therefore asked Prof. Küng whether and, if so, how the essential and – in my opinion – trust-building elements of his World Ethos idea could be used to improve the company culture of Putzmeister. In our endeavours to realise such a development, the Karl Schlecht Foundation (KSG) established at that time regular financial supports for Prof. Küng`s World Ethos Foundation Tübingen (SWT) by making a yearly contribution of 250.000 Euros. This turned the KSG Foundation into the most important donor of SWT. Due to not reaching the original purpose a focus was put on to the World Ethos speeches as a specific KSG project.*

When I concluded that the desired practical effect on the economic sector and the business code of conduct had not been achieved after 1998, I initiated and participated in the work to come up with a Manifesto Global Economic Ethicin 2010 actively involving renowned economic leaders and ethicists, in particular Prof. Klaus Leisinger (Novartis Foundation), Prof. Josef Wieland (Centre for Economic Ethic Constance), and Prof. Hermut Korman (Voith) – in addition to Hans Küng and his staff.

In order to practically implement these ideas into the economic life and business training and to help win other sponsors, I for years requested (in vain) a connection to the curriculum of Tübingen University. The rector was open-minded about these ideas, but only under the provision of receiving at least 1 million Euros a year as financial payment.

Since in spite of my efforts it was not possible to raise funds even in parts from third parties, I decided in 2010 to give this amount from private sources. For this I donated into my non-profit KSG Foundation a privately owned US- factory rented to Putzmeister GmbH, with the intention of allocating the rent payments for a business orientated World Ethic Institute at the University of Tübingen (WEIT). 


Thanks to this decision – and to the big surprise and joy of the rector of Tübingen University and Prof. Küng – the long-yearned-for World Ethics Institute for business at Tübingen University (WEIT) was launched. It should realize my old concern given 1998 to Prof. Küng for cultivating values based business culture with the World Ethos idea. Details of the Institute and its guiding ideas can be found in WD 110204.


In line with the original sponsors 7 guidelines (see in WD 110204) the development of a practical business orientated economic ethic is now realized at the WEIT and over 30 years extra long-term sponsored. This includes the precise and specific research and implementation work at University standards. The academic teaching of application of the World Ethos ideas based on business experiences collected in WEIT is also an intrinsic element of the Excellence Program at Tübingen University.


The KSG sponsoring of SWT should in future no more be its highest but one of many others. It  is intended to be changed step-by-step into the financing of specific projects. Different to earlier, where KSG was very small, this will in future happen with the rules of governance underlying these, being the same as those of other important and professionally managed foundations.


Besides contributing to its basic SWT structure our present KSG-sponsorship for the different SWT is now reduced to the current School Project. This was decided at the end of 2012 by the Board of KSG- Trustees. SWT is active with expositions and teaching of World Ethos ideas. It will focus for us on the nearby Eduard-Spranger Gymnasium (secondary school) in Filderstadt. This will also prove whether some external concerns, that arose there, can be resolved and make it effective.

World Ethos at School

Promoting the World Ethos Idea in educational work inside and outside of schools is a central topic of SWT.  Thus "World Ethos at School" was launched as main Project in 2013 with a Budget of 100.000 €.

Since 2013 Schools can be awarded with the title "World Ethos School" for their ethic approach in their school work.  In return, a School can receive financial Support from the World Ethos Foundation and can also receive teaching material from the Foundation at no costs. The criterion to become a World Ethos School can be read here.

*KSG donations were used to modernize the World Ethos Foundation’s IT and office organization, among other goals – in particular, to cover expenses incurred for lectures held on global ethics at the University of Tübingen and to engage the Foundation in the field of economy and the development of the interactive learning platform, “A Global Ethic Now”.


World Ethos Speeches

Since 2000, the World Ethos Foundation together with the University of Tübingen has sponsored the World Ethos speeches in which prominent persons from diverse areas of public life reflect upon the Global Ethic Theme from their own perspectives.

The seventh speech on global ethics was given by Helmut Schmidt, Germany’s former Chancellor and editor of the weekly Die Zeit, on the subject “Ethos of a Politician”.

All World Ethos speeches can be downloaded from the Website of the World Ethos Foundation.

Alternatively, you can view videos of almost all World Ethos Speeches (with the exception of the World Ethos speech held in 2014). These are available on the Website of Tübingen University:

Select "Browse" and enter "Weltethos Reden". Then select the speech of your choice.

letzte Aktualisierung 141126 - SM 130218

Annual Reports

13. Weltethos - Rede - Heinrich Bedford-Strohm

13.  Weltethos-Rede - „Verheißung oder Verhängnis? Globale ethische Herausforderungen der Globalisierung"


New: Weltethos Institute at University Tübingen

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