Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Meet the Finalists: 2018 Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards

17 Dec, 2017

The 2018 Global Business & Interfaith Awards recognize business leaders – current or past CEOs – who have demonstrated leadership in championing interfaith understanding and peace. The Awards are an initiative of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation in collaboration with the United Nations Global Compact Business for Peace (B4P) platform, the Global Compact Network Korea and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.

The 2018 Awards will be given in Seoul, Korea, on March 8, 2018, the day before the opening of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympics. The Awards support UN Sustainable Development Goal 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.”

From a field of nominees representing 25 countries on all six inhabitable continents — business CEOs (and former CEOs) will be presented medals for their work in advancing interfaith understanding and peace through one of four avenues: (1) Advocacy and public policy engagement, (2) Core business, (3) Partnerships and collective action, and (4) Social investment and philanthropy. Gold, Silver, Bronze ad High Honors medals will be awarded in each category.


Advocacy and public policy engagement

Mr. Joon Myung CHOI, Founding Chairman of YOJIN Construction & Engineering, ensures his employees are free from religious discrimination and free to believe in their own faith. He also is an active supporter of interfaith understanding and peace initiatives for decades, including now as Board Chairman of Won Buddhism United Region Foundation, with interfaith activity at its core.

Escaping with his life from ethno-religious riots in Indonesia, Mr. Sumartono ‘Martono’ Hadinoto, owner of CANDI aluminium building materials company, takes a leading role in organizing humanitarian and socioeconomic initiatives as well as intercultural programs, such as the annual Solo Imlek Festival, that bring people together so that such religious and ethnic violence might never happen again.

Mr. Steve Killelea, Executive Chairman and Founder of Integrated Research and of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), has shifted the paradigm in how the world thinks about peace. Using data-driven research, Steve shows that peace is a positive, tangible and achievable goal. The World Bank, the United Nations and many others use IEP’s research which has helped, among other things, dispel misconceptions about religion’s role in conflict. Steve also funds a growing number of projects advancing interfaith understanding and peace.

H.E. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, President of Zayed University and former CEO of Tejari, is a powerful force behind the UAE Pledge of Religious Tolerance adopted by government, civil society and business leaders. She not only works hand-in-hand with local Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Sikhs groups, but also with global political leaders and religious figures such as Pope Francis, helping the UAE become a world leader in interfaith action.

Core business

Mr. Haidar Bagir, President Director of the Mizan Group, contributes to interfaith understanding and peace in Indonesia in multiple ways: publishing books championing pluralism; supporting Charter for Compassion International; funding Yasmin Foundation, a Salvation Army-like charity; advising on peace education; and leading the Compassionate Islam Movement, which galvanizes and mobilizes moderate Muslims in the face of increasing extremism and inter-religious tensions in the country.

Mr. Nerdah Bo Mya, President and Founder Karen Enterprises, a company in eastern Myanmar, is leading an international effort to attract responsible investment and to drive sustainable and inclusive business initiatives to stabilize peace in the Karen region of Myanmar through entrepreneurship and business. Now that conflict has ceased, Nerdah is working to bring in the economic pillars that can consolidate the peace.

Under the UK Chairman Steve Varley’s leadership, EY (UK) has created a first-of-its-kind online program, Religious Literacy for Organizations. The program uses the tagline “turning tolerance into respect” and can help businesses worldwide advance interfaith understanding and peace. And EY puts it to practice, earning the #1 slot on DiversityInc’s 2017 diversity and inclusiveness list.

Mr. Mark Woerde, Founder Havas Lemz and, believes he can make the world a better place through advertising. This year his team advanced interfaith understanding and peace in a global campaign featuring the world’s most prominent religious leaders – from Pope Francis to Ayatollahs, Chief Rabbis and Hindu Swamis – making a joint appeal to “Make Friends Across Religions.”

Partnership and collective action

Mr. Bambang Ismawan founded Bina Swadaya, which through its 15 companies and training arms has helped about one million Indonesian Community Based Organizations, each with membership of 25 people or more, become self-reliant. Working across faith lines, Bambang Ismawan has built the largest network of people and organizations working to eliminate poverty, build interfaith understanding and peace in Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population.

Mr. Al Jubitz, Founder & former President of DAT Services, co-founded and currently funds the Rotarian Action Group For Peace with members in 71 countries. The Action Group works with Rotary International to develop and support peace projects around the world to enhance and enrich lives of people from all walks of life, races, cultures and religions. Rotary International has raised over $142 million for peacebuilding missions.

Mr. Jeyul MUN, CEO of Unam International Inc., is a signatory of the Corporate Pledge on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Mr. Mun is working to have 30 Korean CEOs sign and implement the Pledge. He is a board member and active supporter of Love in Lights, an interfaith NGO bringing solar lighting to impoverished regions in Cambodia, the Philippines, Columbia, Kenya, Mongolia and Indonesia.

Former Dell Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Ms. Ingrid Vanderveldt, has the audacious goal of by 2020 empowering a billion women from all faiths to work together to achieve more, give more and accomplish more. She believes that the relationship between women in business and this mission is sustainable and helps women leaders worldwide to pursue unity, love and peace.

Social investment and philanthropy

Inspired by her own faith and working among the blind in Tibet, Ms. CAI Shiyin founded of Dialogue in the Dark in China. Through activities such as supporting the first blind runner to complete the Boston Marathon, she is changing society’s prejudices against blind/deaf and all other marginalized groups, and providing job opportunities with dignity to the marginalized.

Mr. Steve Hitz, former CEO of U.S. Reports, promotes interfaith action and peace through Launching Leaders Worldwide Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides a personal development and leadership experience for a new generation. Piloted in New Zealand and scaling up globally, it moves beyond dialogue to interfaith action, helping participants of different faiths create plans for their lives, and reach out through interfaith service projects.

Mr. Carlos Wizard Martins, President of Sforza Holding, encourages his employees to bring their whole self to work – faith and all. Globally, Carlos is a vocal proponent of religious freedom as a member of the 2014-16 World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Faith, and at home, helping to fund Brazil’s 2015 Religious Freedom Festival in Latin America’s oldest mosque.

Mr. Leardo Ravaioli, CEO of lighting company Ghisamestieri, worked with Italian Rotary Clubs and faith leaders to bring sustainable sources of water, food, education, and light (through solar power) to people of all faiths in Sierra Leone after its civil war. His interfaith commitment continues as his company sponsored Italy’s first annual interfaith festival in 2017.

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