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Professor steers SAAX Group in better direction

Around 70 Southern African actuaries gathered at the Gherkin on 8 February for the Southern African Actuarial ConneXion (SAAX) Group’s first event of 2011, where corporate philosopher Professor Roger Steare was the main speaker.

Professor Steare’s insightful talk was based on survey data that demonstrates the nature of our ‘moral DNA’. This was broadly split between the three ethics of reason, care and obedience. To begin, Professor Steare showed a video clip where the current world population was considered to comprise 100 people. Some surprising statistics followed — 14 people have malnutrition, 12 cannot read and only eight have access to the internet. If someone has food in their fridge, clothes in their wardrobe and a bed to sleep in, they are richer than 75% of the entire world population.

Professor Steare is a well-respected thought leader. He has done extensive research on human character and judgment and found the ethics of reason, obedience and care as powerful tools in understanding fundamental human behaviour. He explores external driving forces in our lives, such as nationality, gender and occupation, that have an effect on our intrinsic beliefs. Through unique programmes and his ability to communicate his views, he encourages companies and government bodies to understand human ethical behaviour.

The talk covered a bit of everything, including life, the universe and humans as individuals — how we behave and think and how this is influenced by our environment. Addressing the southern Africans, he compared how we behave in comparison to other nationalities and, interestingly, how we can hold a mirror up to ourselves and learn how to be more morally aware and thereby more mature in our actions.

Professor Steare is an eloquent speaker and grabbed the audience’s attention right from the start. He ended his talk by encouraging us to not only live with optimism and yearn for a better day but, more importantly, to do what is right in order to achieve it.

SAAX is a not-for-profit, actuarial member interest group whose aim is to bring together people with a common actuarial connection and sharing an affiliation with southern Africa. The event was kindly sponsored by Swiss Re.

By Kelvin Chamunorwa