Skip to content

European SPES 2024 Conference

The 20th Anniversary Conference of European SPES entitled “Spirituality & Business in the Anthropocene Era” was held at the Corvinus University of Budapest in June 20-22, 2024 in Budapest Hungary.

Co-organizing partners of the conference included the Free University of Amsterdam – Faculty of Religion and Theology; Neyenrode Business University; the UNESCO Chair towards a Culture of Economic Peace, Grenoble School of Management; ABBS School of Management, Bangalore; S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai; and the Macau Ricci Institute, University of St. Joseph, Macau.

Sponsors of the conference included the Corvinus University of Budapest, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung – Hungary, and UCSIA – St. Ignatius University Centre, Antwerp.

The conference was a good time to reflect on the prospects of spirituality in business and society as the new reality of Anthropocene emerged in the form of multiple crises.

As consumption and human numbers have risen, humankind has ushered in a new era called the “Anthropocene” in which we are altering the biogeochemistry of the planet itself, destabilizing climate and influencing co-evolution at the planetary level. The Anthropocene is a regrettable exit from the placid past ten thousand years – the Holocene – a period of climate stability in which human civilization arose.

The dramatic symptoms of the Anthropocene – climate change, biodiversity loss, the collapse of the ecosystems, wellbeing deficiencies, raising global inequality, and migration – indicate that humanity may approach a point of no-return where the survival of our civilization is at stake.

While the Anthropocene is reshaping human consciousness and human-nature bonds, there is another big force that is racing to alter the human spirit and consciousness: Artificial Intelligence. For example, Google filed patent for “System & method for conscious machine” comprised of an artificial neural network configured to identify correlated temporal patterns and attribute causality and agency, which can recognize itself and other agents in a dynamic environment, in a way similar to biological consciousness in humans and animals.

What is the role of spirituality in such an unprecedented situation and what business and other social institutions can do to avoid further catastrophes? What should responsible professionals do? What is meaningful action today? How should we change our way of life? These and similar questions constitute the grand themes of the conference.

65 scholars and practitioners participated in the conference from Europe, Asia, and the USA. Keynote lectures included

Andras Ocsai and Laszlo Zsolnai (Corvinus University of Budapest): The Economics of Pope Francis & The Economy of Francesco,

Stephan Rothlin, SJ (The Macau Ricci Institute, St. Joseph University, Macau): The Shift of Dialoguing with China: Sustainable Competitiveness,

Peter Rona (University of Oxford): Homo Curator: Towards the Ethics of Consumption,

Surya Tahora & Jagdish Rattanani (SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai, India): An approach to embedding Indian spiritual traditions in a business school curriculum,

Laurent Ledoux and Moses Garelik (UniOne Foundation, Brussels, Belgium): UniOne Centers: Leadership & Spirituality in Practice.

Conference leaflet latest