Faith and business are powerful forces for peace

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Business Peacemakers in Asia


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

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


Meeting in the wake of the potential for fresh talks on the Korean Peninsular, the high level Conference sponsored by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation pledged to “use its influence in support of every effort at dialogue aimed at discerning new ways of overcoming the current disputes.”

Business for Peace DECLARATION on North Korea

The delegates rallied in support following a keynote address from former UN Secretary General, HE Ban Ki Moon, in which he also welcomed the new developments while emphasizing a need for caution. The symposium which included key speeches from the former Japanese Prime Minister HE Yukio Hatoyama and HE Philip McDonagh former Irish Ambassador to the Holy See who was involved in the Northern Island peace talks, unanimously supported a commitment to “…advocate for a common peace in East Asia based, first, on agreed principles; and second, on measured, parallel progress on security and arms control, societal and justice issues, and economic development.”

Previously delegates from the conference had been 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.

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.”


Business Peacemakers include:

Australia

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.


China

Inspired by her own faith and working among the blind in Tibet, Ms. CAI Shiyin founded 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.


Korea

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. 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.


Business leaders from South Korea who have worked to build positive ties with North Korea:

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.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

UN Global Compact Board Member Y.W. Junardy


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. 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.


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.


 

Myanmar

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.