Presentation to the Transparency School.
Vilnius, July 4 2016.
Organized and hosted by Transparency International Lithuania
“10 Key Corruption Issues”
Frank Vogl, Co-founder, Transparency International
It is an honor to be invited to meet with you today, to share some thoughts, to exchange perspectives and to participate at the outset of what will assuredly be a remarkable week for each of you.
Just a few days ago on June 29, President Barack Obama spoke to the Canadian Parliament and stressed that there are values, not just American or Canadian values, that we should not be shy about speaking up for – these are universal values of pluralism, tolerance and equality. He said we must stand up: “For the rights of citizens in civil society to speak their minds and work for change. For the right of journalists to report the truth. For the right of people of all faiths to practice their religion freely. Those things are hard, but they’re right. They’re not always convenient, but they are true.”
These are core themes that I want to explore with you today. In 1993, I joined with a few friends to create Transparency International. We have learned that our mission is succeeding because of many people who are willing to speak truth to power, who have enormous courage, who see the human rights abuses around them and decide to fight. They well understand that where there is extensive corruption, there is almost always a great deal of crime and violence and human rights abuse. Where there is great corruption in government there is denial of basic freedoms, there is press censorship, there is manipulation of the system of justice.
We need to look at our challenge by first asking a basic question: Why should a civilization that has put a man on the moon, that has the technological skills to create weapons of mass destruction, be unable to ensure that every person in the world has the opportunity to live a life of dignity – a life free of extortion, with decent housing, sanitation, education and work?
When my former World Bank colleague Peter Eigen said corruption is a major cause of poverty and we need to change this, then I said “sign me up.” Peter, then serving as the World Bank’s director in Kenya, gathered together a handful of friends to establish TI. We had never worked in civil society, we had no money to fund TI, we had many people saying we are crazy and that corruption is part of human nature, part of culture. But, a powerful idea is what makes the difference in life. I hope it makes a difference in the lives of each of you. So 23 years ago a bunch of middle-aged people said let’s go – we announced Transparency International as the first global non-governmental anti-corruption organization.
I have learned many things from experiences in seeking to contribute to the war against corruption. Yes, it is a war. Permit me now to highlight 10 themes, which you may wish to explore in greater depth in our discussion and this week. Read the fulkl address for the 10 themes and more…Vilnius Transparency School Frank Vogl July 4 2016