Heidelberg Institute at GSMAC 2017

HI at Emanuel University in Oradea, Romania

ORADEA/ HEIDELBERG. “Civil Society: The Engine for Economic and Social Well-Being” was the title of this year’s Griffiths School of Management Conference (GSMAC) on May 11, 2017. More than 13 speakers came from Romania, the United States of America, and Germany to explore the link between civil society and the economics and social well-being. Among them was Prof. Dr. Harald Jung, associate and president of the Heidelberg Institute, who was a key note speaker talking about “‘Called by name’ – state and society in a personalist-Christian view of man.”

2017 Jung OradeaIn his lecture, Harald Jung referred to the overall topic of the conference in pointing out the essential  meaning of civil society for social well-being. In front of more than 200 people, he criticized the incompleteness of the Hobbesian version of a controversy between the antagonists of private individuals and a constituted public sphere which was installed by the state. The state lives out of the moral, cultural and social capital of civil society. Here, ideological and religious players are important sources. Both Romania and Germany made the tragic experience of totalitarianism which arises when the state wants to take over  this task itself. However, if this “capital” is not constantly renewed, a threat of depletion and erosion of civil  life can occur which is dangerous and observed often. In his speech, Jung went further though. He reminded  the audience of the tradition of a Christian-established ORDO-liberal paradigm and social market economy. These paradigms take up a Christian personalist  view of mankind. In this view, civil society not only fulfills a serving purpose on social well-being. The free development of the individual in pre-state areas of social life such as in family, associations, churches, interest groups, political parties, and the various local, regional and national groups must be the goal itself which the state needs to serve.

Lucas Wehner, associate and consultant at the Heidelberg Institute, gave a seminar to more than 100 listeners about “The influence of social entrepreneurship on local civil society,” illustrating social entrepreneurship’s role in the history of civil society, exploring various forms of social entrepreneurship and looking at a case example of a local social entrepreneurial venture.

The conference also provided room for networking and exploring Emanuel University, the host of the GSMAC. There, Jung and Wehner had the opportunity to meet with university president Prof. Dr. Dr. Paul Negrut and the dean of the Griffiths School of Management, Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vaduva. During the talk, both sides made clear that they wanted to partner in providing excellent education which is based on Christian principles to their societies.

Prof. Dr. Harald Jung and Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vaduva will explore collaborations in the field of teaching and research in business administration, especially business ethics. Prof. Dr. Harald Jung said: “At Emanuel University, we found new friends and likeminded people who wanted to make an impact for God in their society. I am certain that our two institutions will work closely together in future endeavors.”

Furthermore, Jung was impressed with the efforts that Romanian civil society has made: “When walking through Oradea, you could sense growth. It was a wonderful opportunity to see how much has been invested in Romania. This needs to continue!” Jung and Wehner appreciated Emanuel University staff taking them through Oradea as well as showing them around the Emanuel University campus. Both of them hope to visit again in the future.