2021 Global Business & Interfaith Peace Award Winners
Intel CEO and Tyson Foods Chairman are among those to receive Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards on Aug. 24
Others honored come from UK, Iraq, Israel, India, Australia, Japan, from multiple sectors: technology, construction, health, food, manufacturing, legal services
PRESS RELEASE: Washington DC and Tokyo, 22 August 2021
Ten business men and women from around the world will take the stage, speak and be honored virtually at the global Dare to Overcome conference on August 24 for their work in interfaith understanding, religious freedom and peace. All of the leaders are recognized for using their businesses to bridge cultural and religious divides.
Winners of the third biannual Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards will express their thoughts on faith and work as they are presented with Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in a virtual global ceremony at 12:00 noon US Eastern Time, Tuesday, Aug. 24, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. For winners in Japan, a special awards ceremony will be held at the prestigious Sophia University in Tokyo on Aug. 22.
Previous Awards were presented in tandem with the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro (2016) and in Seoul (2018), where former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, and former general manager of Bain Capital, Robert C. Gay, gave keynote addresses.
The awards are presented by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, a US-based nonprofit, in cooperation with the United Nations Global Compact’s Business for Peace initiative. The foundation helps educate the global business community about how religious freedom is good for business and how they can promote respect for freedom of religion or belief.
Winners come from a variety of religious backgrounds and manage companies and multi-national enterprises based in Australia, India, Iraq, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals are given in three categories: Core Business, Philanthropy, and Advocacy.
The Core Business gold medal is shared by Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s CEO, and Sandra Rivera, Intel Executive Vice President, former Chief People Officer and now General Manager of the Datacenter & Artificial Intelligence Group, who have helped create a culture where people can bring their whole selves to work – faith and all – thanks to solidly incorporating religious diversity into their overall diversity & inclusion commitments.
The Philanthropy gold medal goes to Dr. Judith Richter, CEO of the Israeli heart stent company Medinol, who also founded the NIR School of the Heart to help high school students not only understand cardio-vascular career opportunities but also connect the hearts of people from different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.
The Advocacy gold medal goes to King Husein, Chairman and CEO of Span Construction & Engineering, who has played a critical role addressing the rising tide of restrictions on religious freedom that has swept the globe over the past decade. His efforts range from helping found the South Asian Consortium for Religion and Law Studies, to helping to kick off the first-ever Business Roundtable to advance International Religious Freedom during the 2019 UN General Assembly in New York City.
Silver medals go to John Tyson (Core Business), Chairman of Tyson Foods, who was an early pioneer of building a faith-friendly workplace by recognizing the spiritual and psychological needs of all employees; Maurice Ostro (Philanthropy), Chair of Ostro Fayre Share Foundation, Vice Chair of the Council of Christians and Jews (the UK’s oldest interfaith organization) and the Founding Patron of the Faiths Forum for London; and Peter Mousaferiadis (Advocacy), founder of Cultural Infusion in Australia, who is a pioneer in using cultural and artistic expression as a means of promoting social cohesion and interfaith understanding.
And the three bronze medals go to Khalid Khowshnaw (Core Business), founder the Hemn Construction Group in Iraqi Kurdistan, who combats discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, or sectarian identity by intentionally hiring differing nationalities to work alongside one another; Dr. John Gathright (Philanthropy), founder of Tree Climbing Japan, who helps children of differing faiths, abilities, and challenges come together to find an increased self-confidence through embracing the challenge of climbing trees; and Candice Corby (Advocacy), founder of Cobra Legal Solutions in India and the U.S., who promotes the celebration of religion and belief, encouraging employees to be their full selves, including bringing their faith and beliefs to work in this majority-female law firm.
“These CEOs show that business is a powerful force for building interfaith understanding, religious freedom and peace in workplaces, marketplaces and in societies at large,” said Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation and global chair of Dare to Overcome. “Indeed,” Grim said, “civil society and governments have much to learn about building religious freedom in practice from these amazing champions.”
The awards (at noon US ET on August 24, 2021) are presented virtually as the culminating event of Dare to Overcome (DTO), the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s signature global conference, which has the mission of shining a light on successes in promoting mutual respect and allyship among diverse communities.
Each day of Dare to Overcome focuses on a different theme:
– Aug. 22: Social Justice, Equity and Religious Non-discrimination
– Aug. 23: Intersectionality Between Faith & Abilities Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
– Aug. 24: Business for Interfaith Understanding, Peace & Inclusion.
Please join on the 24th us to hear and interact with these CEOs as well as experience DTO’s gala finale: our virtual 200-member global choir from dozens of countries, faiths and ethnicities singing the Dare to Overcome original anthem!
The 2021 jury is comprised of a group of high-level experts, including from the European Union (H.E. Ján Figeľ, former Special Envoy for promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU); the NGO religious freedom community (Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice, and a former Chair 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).
2021 Gold Medalists
The Intel Corporation is the most religiously inclusive Fortune 100 company in America, according to the REDI Index. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger and executive vice president Sandra Rivera have helped create a culture where people can bring their whole selves to work — faith and all — thanks to solidly incorporating religious diversity into their overall diversity and inclusion commitments. Intel’s embrace of religious inclusivity is seen in their willingness to officially sponsor a wide range of faith-based employee resource groups. These groups not only support members of their particular faiths, but also work together in an interfaith association to support all employees at Intel to succeed in work and life, indeed, a positive model for society at large.
In the Holy Lands, differing religious, cultural, and historical claims are connected to ongoing conflicts. In response, Medinol CEO Dr. Judith Richter founded the NIR School of the Heart to help high school students not only understand cardio-vascular career opportunities but also connect the hearts of people from different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Dr. Richter helps students build bridges across cultures through the process of learning. As one graduate summed up the experience, The NIR School of the Heart “will make the whole Middle East a better place.” The program has become widely popular and currently has 826 graduates who are functioning as ambassadors for peace, out of which 225 are also pursuing careers in medical-related professions.
King Husein, Chairman and CEO of Span Construction & Engineering, has played a critical role addressing the rising global tide of restrictions on religious freedom. King’s efforts range from helping found the South Asian Consortium for Religion and Law Studies, to helping kick off the first-ever Business Roundtable to advance International Religious Freedom during the 2019 UN General Assembly in New York City. In diverse venues such as the Horasis Global Conference in Portugal and the IRF Summit in Washington DC, King shares how religious ethics benefit business. His advocacy also looks toward the next generation by his helping launch an initiative at BYU Hawaii to equip students from across Asia to know how to advance religious freedom when they return home.
2021 Silver Medalists
John Tyson, Chairman of Tyson Foods, was an early pioneer of building a faith-friendly workplace by recognizing the spiritual needs of team members. John was instrumental in the program that today has about 100 chaplains of various faiths on staff, providing compassionate pastoral care and ministry to Tyson’s team members and their families regardless of their religious affiliations or beliefs. Chaplains offer counsel, assist in managing crises, celebrate milestones, and help employees work through a variety of personal and professional experiences. The program is implemented in over 150 facilities and has allowed many of Tyson’s 141,000 employees to feel more supported. The Tyson Foods Chaplain Services has been providing compassionate care to team members and their families since 2000.
Maurice Ostro, Chair of Ostro Fayre Share Foundation, has been an interfaith champion for decades, serving as Vice Chair of the Council of Christians and Jews — the UK’s oldest interfaith organization — and as the Founding Patron of the Faiths Forum for London. Maurice has been involved in advising the UK Governmental, most recently on the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission. He has promoted religious inclusion in the businesses he has started and grown, providing workplace prayer rooms for all faiths represented by his employees to ensure that all feel comfortable practicing their faiths during the workday. Maurice has also established a social enterprise making jewellery in Burma, providing dignified, well-paid jobs to Buddhist and Muslim women and building bridges between these communities.
Peter Mousaferiadis, founder of Cultural Infusion, is a pioneer in using cultural and artistic expression as a means of promoting social cohesion and interfaith understanding. Cultural Infusion has developed award winning and world leading platforms that can transform diversity and inclusion in organizations and communities and people’s understanding of cultural diversity. Beyond art, Peter led the development of Cultural Infusion’s Diversity Atlas, an online survey tool to assess and monitor diversity within companies and organizations across the four interconnected diversity pillars: Religion and Worldview; Country of Birth; Language; and Ethnicity and Race. Diversity Atlas allows teams and organizations to measure and understand its diversity stories. This enables better inclusion and allows teams to value their cultural identity.
2021 Bronze Medalists
Following the sectarian conflicts in Iraq, many families were forced to flee the country in hopes of seeking a safe place to openly practice their faith and beliefs. In response, Khalid Khowshnaw founded the Hemn Group which combats any form of discrimination — in his construction company — including that of race, religion, ethnicity, or sectarian groups. The Hemn Group promotes inclusion of differing nationalities working alongside one another, oftentimes sharing in each other’s celebrations and feasts. They are also credited for providing jobs for countless Christians, Muslims, and Yezidi in areas that are safe to practice their faith and beliefs free of discrimination and facilitates the free practice of worship. This also creates an inclusive, sustainable economy, an antidote to sectarian conflict.
People with differing physical or emotional abilities often feel like outsiders in life. Dr. John Gathright believes principles of kindness, love, peace, understanding, diversity, and a sense of global family can bring different groups together. Dr. Gathright founded Tree Climbing Japan, helping children of differing faiths, abilities, and challenges come together to find an increased self-confidence through embracing the challenge of climbing trees. The program’s goal is to help all children grow up like magnificent trees, standing tall and strong, kind and unique, and helping each other. Tree Climbing Japan has helped thousands of people feel included through tree climbing activities all over the country. This has produced a better awareness and appreciation for all people, despite their differences.
To provide rights and freedoms for all religions and beliefs in the workplace, Candice Corby, CEO of Cobra Legal Solutions, promotes the celebration of religion and belief, encouraging employees to be their full selves including bringing their faith and beliefs to work. Cobra Legal Solutions accomplishes the goal of being a religiously inclusive workplace by observing every festival and religious holiday world-wide, and also by hosting a commemoration for religions in a week known as “Cobra Life Week”. Candice is actively involved with many prominent organizations including the World Economic Forum, Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and the U.S. State Department, working for greater gender empowerment and interfaith understanding within Cobra and the global community they serve.