Business: A powerful force for
interfaith understanding & peace


2018 Global Business & Peace Symposium and Awards


March 7th/8th/9th 2018 Seoul, South Korea

The Global Business and Peace Symposium welcomed the “Olympic Truce” between Seoul and Pyongyang and the opportunity for contact across the DMZ.

The Global Business and Peace Awards were presented at a ceremony held at the Grand Hilton Hotel in Seoul. This is the second Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards. The inaugural awards were given the day before the opening of the Rio Paralympics in 2016.

The 2018 Awardees and Symposium delegates held high level meetings at the Korean National Assembly (Parliament), the Presidential Blue House, and with the Mayor of Seoul. Delegates from the conference were also welcomed by senior politicians at the Korean National Assembly, where RFBF President Brian Grim was awarded the Main Prize at the World Peace Prize Ceremony.

Awards & Symposium Highlights

Awardees include:


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.

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.”

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.

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.

The Global Business & Peace Awards also included business leaders from South Korea who have worked to build positive ties with North Korea, selected by high level government officials:

The late CHUNG Mong-hun was a pioneer in cooperation between South and North Korea. He opened the door for business cooperation between the two Koreas through significant projects between the Hyundai Group, which he led, and North Korea. Receiving the GOLD Korean Peninsula Business and Peace Prize in his honor was his wife Mrs. HYUN Jong-en, Chairman of Hyundai Group.

CHEH Que-bok, Chairman and President of Yuhan-Kimbery, is committed to keeping Korea green – both North and South of the DMZ. The North has especially faced deforestation, and he has set up a nursery enabling hundreds of thousands of trees to be grown and planted in North Korea. Mr. CHEH received the SILVER Korean Peninsula Business and Peace Prize.

CHUNG Ki-sup was instrumental in setting up and making successful the Gaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea that allowed tens of thousands of North Koreans to work in factories financed and managed by South Korean firms. Mr. Chung received the SILVER Korean Peninsula Business and Peace Prize.


2018 Awardees, continued


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.

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. 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.

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. 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.

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.

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. 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.Partnership and collective action.


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. 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 Religion Foundation, with interfaith activity at its core.


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.


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.

This pioneering peace initiative was started by RFBF and is a collaboration with the Global Compact Network Korea, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). The Awards began after H.E. Ban Ki-moon established the Business for Peace platform in 2013 within the UNGC, the world’s largest corporate member organization committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, which notably include SGD 16 (Peace) “Promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

Religious Freedom & Business Film Winners


Film: Love Has No Borders

by Deborah Paul and Christy Anastas

Deborah Paul and Christy Anastas‘s film,  Love Has No Borders won the Religious Freedom & Business Film Competition Gold Medal, The short film shows two women from different backgrounds joining together to build a business to serve those in need.

Film: Global FC

by Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake

Global FC by Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake won the Religious Freedom & Business Film Competition Silver Medal. The film shows that Global FC strengthens Kansas City by using their business to serve the religiously mixed refugee community with a soccer program.


The 2018 jury is comprised of a small group of high-level experts, including from the United Nations (H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations); the European Union (H.E. Ján Figeľ, 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 head of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom); the business & peace community (Per L. Saxegaard, Business CEO, and Founder and Executive Chairman of the Business for Peace Foundation, Oslo, Norway); and the religion and peace community (Dr. Sunggon Kim (김성곤) Honorary President, Asian Conference of Religions for Peace). 

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