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Luther links with Earth Charter

Luther links with Earth Charter

Rev. Dr. Mark Harris, principal-dean of Martin Luther University College, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Earth Charter International (ECI) as a way of strengthening the school’s commitment to care for the Earth and its inhabitants.

“As a Lutheran home to a multifaith community, we are determined to care for God’s creation in all its diversity,” Harris says. “Our agreement with ECI strengthens our efforts to build bridges between cultures, respect the environment, promote peace and conduct ourselves as global citizens.”

Mirian Vilela, executive director of the Costa Rica-based Earth Charter International Secretariat, says “partnering with Martin Luther University College, an organization committed to making the world a better place through education, makes it possible to reach faculty and students and help them in their professional development to support the transition to peaceful and sustainable ways of living.”

Under the three-year agreement, Earth Charter International will provide scholarships for Luther’s members taking ECI courses or programs. Luther is to incorporate the Earth Charter into its training, and to promote the activities of Earth Charter Initiative. (View details about Luther’s affiliation with ECI here.) Both institutions agree to explore opportunities for co-operating on curriculum enhancement and on a variety of courses including, but not limited to, a student abroad program.

Mary (Joy) Philip, Luther’s associate professor in Lutheran Global Theology and Mission, spearheaded the school’s link with Earth Charter International. Philip says entering into partnership with ECI, which espouses many of the same values as Luther, is a mark of the school’s commitment to living together as one Earth community.

“How can we not enter into such a partnership? It is at the core of our life together on this planet,” she says. “The Earth houses and sustains us. We are Earthlings. We cannot but listen to the voice of the Earth, and her diverse Earthlings, and be Earth conscious if we are to live together -- not only sustainably but justly in peace with the immense diversity of life on this planet.”

During Luther’s Board of Governors meeting in October 2018, members unanimously passed a motion to make the Earth Charter a core part of the school’s activities. Although the Charter is not legally binding, the motion noted, it is consistent with Luther’s mission. It is also in keeping with the corporate social responsibility policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Foundation of Eastern Canada (ELFEC), which manages Luther’s investments.

About the Earth Charter

The Earth Charter is an ethical framework for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations. The Earth Charter provides a valuable educational instrument. It encourages to search for common ground in the midst of our diversity and to embrace a global ethic that is shared by an ever-growing number of people.

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