Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers, delivered the 2021 Annual Lecture of the Inclusive Society Institute (ISI) on 4 December 2021. The topic of the lecture was, “Public Accountability, Ethics, Morality and Social Cohesion – a pragmatic approach to underpin sustainable development.”
Gift of the Givers is a non-governmental organisation that was established to offer disaster relief and response, together with other humanitarian work, with the aim to reach people worldwide. The organisation has worked in 43 countries, including South Africa.
Dr Imtiaz Sooliman is a medical doctor. He was born in Potchefstroom, and completed his high school education at Sastri College in Durban. He qualified as a medical doctor by obtaining his MBChB at the then University of Natal. He ran a medical practise in Pietermaritzburg up to 1986.
Dr Sooliman’s lecture centred on spirituality, morality, and ethics. In the lecture, Dr Sooliman made the following points among others:
For the past 29 years, the motto of Gift of the Givers has been: “Best among people are those who benefit humankind”.
Cooperation is possible across race, culture and religion. Spirituality is all about love. Serve all of humankind unconditionally. When the hearts connect, the words become understandable.
Gift of the Givers designed the world’s first containerised mobile hospital in 1994; in 2005, the equipment was still being used in Bosnia.
As South Africans, despite our problems, we have shown that we can respond to disasters in other countries. Do we believe in our own capabilities to solve our own problems?
Everyone in government is not bad. We need to focus on the good. We need to fix the system. We promote the good of the soul. As the light gets brighter, the blot gets dimmer.
We live in the context of urgency, emergency and disaster. Government and corporates are institutions. They are made up of people. They need to understand this.
The 2021 Annual Lecture was the second time that the Annual Lecture was delivered. The first Annual Lecture was delivered by Justice Albie Sachs.