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The Third AUA Annual International Conference took place on the 8th to 11th September 2016. The overarching theme was Social Responsibility: The Ethics of Caring for the World that we live in.

akintayo odeyemi

The keynote speakers were Dr. Basharat Masih, Director of Clinical Operations at the Adventist Chaplaincy Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and Dr. Odeyemi Akintayo, Executive Director of ADRA Africa. Akintayo appealed to each conference participant to wake up and “do something” at an individual level for the community and for the Lord. Masih shared a section of his personal life testimony and of God’s continual favour upon his life and his family. He prayed that the Adventist Church would move from a mere informational community to a transformational body of believers.

basharat masihVarious research papers were presented by other speakers ranging from issues dealing with corporate social responsibility (CSR) and poverty, moral absolutes in relation to situational ethics, food safety, stewardship awareness and environmental practice, occupational health and safety, and the church’s social responsibility. Exegesis from the Bible and understanding from the Spirit of Prophecy was extensively elaborated.
Case studies from Equity Bank, Mukuru kwa Njenga informal settlement, food vendors in Kenya and Uganda were presented. A recurring theme revolved around the disconnect between social responsibility awareness vis-a-vis actual action, and also individual social responsibility vis-a-vis corporate social responsibility. Another interesting research presentation revealed that there was a relationship between happiness and giving—that the more people gave the happier they were.

Another interesting research presentation revealed that there was a relationship between happiness and giving—that the more people gave the happier they were.

One presenter called for a radical shift from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to Christian Social Responsibility (ChSR). ChSR is a higher mandate to Christians that calls for a lifestyle—and not sporadic events—but a lifestyle of sacrificial giving, selfless care of the needy and benevolent acts of kindness regardless of race, tribe, gender, and/or calibre.

One point that was made several times is the concern of a Christian Social Responsibility is embedded within the relationship one has with Christ. The commission to go to the world and be the salt and light of the world is not human-sourced but divine-sourced and hence helps avoid the extremes of activism. In the end, it is all to the glory of God.

Research Conference 2016

The participants of the Research Conference affirmed that social responsibility is a Divine Imperative, born in the Christian out of love for God and His creation, both animate and inanimate. They further confirmed that social responsibility is based on a spirit of cooperation and self-disinterested service, with the conviction that Jesus is the Answer to human need that we are His people and therefore, we are His hands, His feet, and His heart in the World.

For more on the 2016 Research Conference Resolutions click here.

The AUA Research Director, Dr. Susan Baker challenged the participants to commit to one or two SMART goals on social responsibility following the conference, get an accountability partner, and execute by God’s grace. She encouraged the members to share their success stories and challenges as a follow-up to the Research Conference.

 

 

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