Participating in the Inter-Council Network’s discussion on Ethics in Public Engagement was truly an honour. I am so grateful to have had the chance to learn with, and from my incredible co-panelists and moderator. This session provided much needed nuances in discussions of ethics in the international sector, and hearing other panelists’ expertise and experiences clearly demonstrated why we always need folks with a wide range of experiences present in decision-making and process planning.
Ethics and ethical engagement is a critical aspect of any work, and in all sectors. It is the underlying foundation of how we conduct our work, and engage with others. As a researcher, ethical conduct is an ongoing question, conversation, and process for me. I am keenly aware of the very harmful history of unethical research, in which power relations have been (and continue to be) exploited for the gain of one dominant community, at the expense of marginalized, and most often Black and Indigenous, communities.
It was fantastic to share and hear about how our experiences within existing systems and structures inform our biases, narratives, and actions. Everybody clearly pointed to the importance of taking an intersectional approach in our presentation, representation, and engagement.
For me, the discussion reinforced the need to engage folks and communities in every step of our work, and the critical role of transparency and accountability. Only by being truly transparent about our motives, processes, and actions, can we begin to build trust and engage in meaningful work. More importantly, it is our transparency and accountability when we make mistakes that will most impact trust, and demonstrate our commitments and intent.
I look forward to seeing how we all take up the call to incorporate and use tools that allow us to be more accountable, ethical, and therefore impactful in our work.