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Why values matter

Posted by Jamie Livingstone Head of Oxfam Scotland

18th Jan 2012

What do you value in life? It sounds like a simple question, but the answer has huge importance.

Is it money and power? Or are you more interested in equality and the environment? In truth, most of us value all of these things - and many others - to some degree at different times in our lives.

But, taken together, these set of values are our guiding principles and have a major influence over our actions. At Oxfam we want to know whether harnessing the power of values can help us end poverty and suffering around the world.

To learn more - and to share our experience - we co-hosted a conference in Edinburgh recently alongside WWF Scotland. Led by the Public Interest Research Centre, the audience included people from different sectors - including international development, the environment and education.

The key-note speaker was Professor Tim Kasser, Chair of Psychology at Knox College. He explained why values matter, how they develop and whether they can be harnessed to influence behaviour.

Part one

Part two

To help guide you - here is the overall slideshow used during the day.

We then heard from Martin Kirk, Head of UK Campaigns for Oxfam, about how this research is influencing Oxfam's work:

and here are Martin's slides.

This event was only the beginning - but by coming together we hope we can help bring about a fundamental improvement in people's lives.

Blog post written by Jamie Livingstone

Head of Oxfam Scotland

More by Jamie Livingstone