Business: A powerful force for
interfaith understanding & peace

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Jury 2016

The Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards recognize business leaders – current or past CEOs – who have demonstrated leadership in championing interfaith understanding and peace. The Awards are a partnership initiative of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) and the United Nations Global Compact Business for Peace (B4P) platform, with the collaboration of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).


Awards were presented on 6th September 2016, the night before the opening of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where award recipients had the opportunity to present their commitment to interfaith understanding and peace, while contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: “Promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”


The jury was comprised of a small group of high-level experts, including from the United Nations (H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations); the religious freedom community (Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice, and a former head of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom); and the business & peace community (Per L. Saxegaard, Business CEO, and Founder and Executive Chairman of the Business for Peace Foundation, Oslo, Norway).

Additional input during the judging process was provided by the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding and its CEO, Joyce S. Dubensky, Esq..


H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

On March 1st, 2013, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser assumed the post of UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations. Prior to that, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser assumed the Presidency of the Sixty-Sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly from September 13, 2011 to September 17, 2012.

A veteran diplomat, Mr. Al-Nasser has the rank of Minister, granted by His Highness the Emir of the State of Qatar.mHe has contributed to advancing the multilateral agenda in the realms of peace and security, sustainable development and South-South cooperation over a career spanning nearly four decades.

For the past 13 years, from 1998 to 2011, Mr. Al-Nasser served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations. During this period, he played leading roles as Chairman of the General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee (2009 to 2010) and as President of the General Assembly High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation (2007 to 2009). He also chaired the Group of 77 and China at the United Nations in New York (2004), guiding action that paved the way for the Second South Summit of the Group, which took place in Doha, Qatar, the following year, and led to the establishment of the South Fund for Development and Humanitarian Affairs, a financing mechanism aimed at assisting the countries of the South in addressing issues such as poverty, hunger and natural disasters.

Mr. Al-Nasser represented his country on the United Nations Security Council during the two-year term of Qatar as a non-permanent member (2006 to 2007). He was Security Council President for the month of December 2006, when the Council took action on a range of complex peace and security issues, including international cooperation to combat terrorism and the protection of journalists in armed conflict. He also presided over three of the subsidiary bodies of the Council.

During his term as Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Al-Nasser also served as a Vice-President of the fifty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly (2002 to 2003) and represented his country at numerous international and regional conferences and other forums. At the same time, he served as non-resident Ambassador to a number of countries in the Americas, including Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Earlier, Mr. Al-Nasser was appointed as his country’s resident Ambassador to Jordan (1993 to 1998), before which he was first posted to the Permanent Mission of Qatar to the United Nations, New York, as Minister Plenipotentiary (1986 to 1993).

Mr. Al-Nasser entered the international arena at an early age, and was appointed Attaché at the Embassy of Qatar in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1972. He was assigned to the Embassy of his country in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 1975 and, later that year, was dispatched to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he served as Consul-General for Qatar through August 1981.

The recipient of numerous decorations and awards, Mr. Al-Nasser was made an honorary fellow of the Foreign Policy Association in New York in 2009. He also holds three honorary doctorates, in international affairs from the government of China through Chongqing University, from the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in recognition of his efforts to foster cross-cultural understanding and strengthen the work of the UN Alliance of Civilizations initiative, Doctorate of Laws from Fordham University in the United States and an Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy from TERI University and Institute in New Delhi – India. He was recently awarded by the United Nations Association of New York their 2012 Humanitarian Award. A wide range of countries have conferred on him their national awards, including the Medal of Independence of the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Grand Officer, Order of Merit (Italy); Medal of Grand Commander of the Order of Makarios III (Cyprus); National Order of Doctor José Matias Delgado (El Salvador); and Commander of the National Order of the Republic (Côte d’Ivoire).

In his private capacity, Mr. Al-Nasser serves on the boards of a number of institutions, including the Board of Advisors of the New York University Center for Dialogues. Educated in Doha and Beirut, he is fluent in Arabic and English. Mr. Al-Nasser was born on September 15th 1953 in Doha. He is married to Muna Rihani and has one son, Abdulaziz.


Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett

Katrina Lantos Swett, Ph.D, recently served as Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In March of 2012, she was appointed to USCIRF by Senator Harry Reid and Six months later was elected to serve as Chair. She served as Vice Chair for one year and in 2014 she was once again elected as Chair. Dr. Lantos Swett established the Lantos Foundation in 2008 to carry on the work of her father, the late Congressman Tom Lantos. In addition, she has taught Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy at Tufts University, a subject she also taught at the University of Southern Denmark during her husband’s tenure as US Ambassador to Denmark.  While living in Copenhagen, Katrina led a successful advocacy effort to convince the Danish government to take action against illicit trafficking of women and children through Denmark.

Katrina currently serves on the Board of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, the International Advisory Board of UN Watch, the Budapest based Tom Lantos Institute, the Advisory Board of the annual Anne Frank award & lecture, the US Global Leadership Coalition’s New Hampshire Advisory Board, the Executive Advisory Board of the Iranian American Majority, and the Advisory Board of the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership, and Public Policy.

Lantos-Swett graduated from Yale University with a degree in Political Science.  She received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and later earned a PhD in history at The University of Southern Denmark.


Mr. Per L. Saxegaard

Per is the founder and chairman of the Business for Peace Foundation.

Per has been an active business entrepreneur, investment banker and investor for the last 30 years and is founding partner of Norden Realkapital Group, operating various advisory services and investment management businesses. He is board chair and member of several corporate boards, as well as sits on the steering committee of the UN GC Business 4 Peace initiative. Per holds a Master Degree in Business Administration from the Norwegian School of Economics, and has written several articles and forewords to academic books in the business and peace space.

The Business for Peace Foundation has for the last ten years arranged annual summits on the topic, and bestows the Oslo Business for Peace Award to recognize the world’s most businessworthy leaders.  The Award has been described by international business media as the “Nobel Prize of Business”.

The concept of being businessworthy was coined by Per to communicate the essence of the Foundation mission. It seeks to inspire business leaders to apply their business energy ethically and responsibly with the aim of creating economic value that also creates value for society. The Foundation works to accelerate the business mindset and value creation relevant to the challenges and opportunities of our times while contributing to building peace.  Being businessworthy reflects well the mindset and action needed for business to engage in reaching the UN Sustainable Developments Goals. UN Global Compact, UN Development Program and ICC, International Chambers of Commerce are global supporting partners to the Foundation.


Additional Feedback
Joyce Dubensky

Tanenbaum’s CEO, Ms. Dubensky, has directed its dramatic expansion, adding new initiatives to each of Tanenbaum’s core programs. Her dynamic leadership transformed Tanenbaum from a well-regarded U.S. institution to an internationally recognized thought leader. Ms. Dubensky has overseen many firsts, each a new contribution to the burgeoning field of interreligious understanding: the first toolkit on religious diversity for workplace managers, the first comprehensive guide on the intersections of religion and health care and the first book collecting the compelling life stories of Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action.

Internationally in demand as a speaker and trainer, Ms. Dubensky speaks, trains and conducts workshops on all Tanenbaum programs including on managing issues of religion in the workplace, health care and in schools. As an attorney, Ms. Dubensky served as a National Consultant for the Council of Jewish Federations (now Jewish Federations of North America). She also created the Legal Department at the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York and served as its General Counsel for over ten years. Ms. Dubensky began her legal career with the law firm of Botein Hays Sklar and Herzberg and holds her J.D. from New York University School of Law.