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).
The 2018 Awards will be presented in Seoul, South Korea, timed to coincide with the Winter Paralympic Games in nearby PyeongChang. Award recipients will have 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.”
Nominations for the 2018 Awards are now open until 1st October 2017.
The inaugural awards were presented on 6th September 2016, the night before the opening of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The first awards honored business men and women from around the world for their work in interfaith relations. All of the leaders were recognized for using their businesses to bridge cultural and religious divides. From among the top finalists profiled in the video below, seven were awarded with Gold (1), Silver (2) and Bronze (4) medals the first-ever Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards.
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 will be provided by the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding and its CEO, Joyce S. Dubensky, Esq.
- High Representative
- United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
- Citizenship: Qatar
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.
- Special Envoy for promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU
- European Commission
- Citizenship: Slovakia
On March 5th, 2016, H.E. H.E. Mr. Ján Figeľ became the European Union’s first Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the European Union. Former European Commissioner Ján Figeľ assumed this new role for an initial mandate of one year. The one-year mandate is renewable.
As European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced his decision to appoint Mr Ján Figeľ (former European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth from 2004-2009) as the first Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the European Union, he said that “Freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental right which is part of the foundation of the European Union. The persistent persecution of religious and ethnic minorities makes protecting and promoting this freedom inside and outside the EU all the more essential. I trust that Ján Figeľ, our Special Envoy, will help us in this endeavour, sharpening our focus and ensuring that this important issue gets the attention it deserves”.
Given the importance of promoting and protecting freedom of religion or belief outside the EU in the context of the European Union’s dialogue and assistance programmes with third countries, the Special Envoy Figeľ serves as Special Adviser to the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.
Mr Figeľ has extensive experience in European and international affairs. He served as European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth from 2004 to 2009 and was First Deputy-Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic from 2010 to 2012. As part of his mission, Mr Figeľ will present a report in the context of the on-going dialogue between the Commission and churches and religious associations or communities, which is led by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans.
- Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice
- Citizenship: USA
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.
- Founder and Executive Chairman
- Business for Peace Foundation
- Citizenship: Norway
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.
- Honorary President
- Asian Conference of Religions for Peace
- Citizenship: South Korea
Dr. Kim has a distinguished career spanning more than three decades as a peacemaker, politician and academic (Ph.D. Temple University). He served as a representative in the 15th, 17th, 18th and 19th National Assemblies. He is also currently Chief Head of Seoul Peace Education Center; Chairman of Korean Solidarity for Peace and Reunification; Chief Vice Chairman of Central Committee of Democratic Congress on Global Koreans of Democratic United Party; and Chairman of Political Forum for the Unity.
Dr. Kim also recently served as Chair of the Regional Committee of Gangnamgu Gap of Korea’s Democratic Party, Chair and Professor of Wonkwang University Graduate School (Buddhist Studies), and Chair and Professor of Yong-in University Graduate School (Reunification).
Dr. Kim’s notable career includes: – Lector in Yonsei, Ehwa, Wonkwang Universities (1992-1995); – Secretary General of Korean Conference on Religion and Peace; and Professor of Yongsan University (1993-1996); – Member of the 15th National Assembly; Special Assistant of the President of Democratic Party, Dae-jung Kim; Deputy Speaker of the Policy Planning and Coordination Committee; and Member of the Environment and Labor Committee (1996-2000); – Member of Science, Technology, Information and Telecommunication Committee; Deputy Floor Leader (1998); – Member of Agriculture, Forestry, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Committee; Chairman of Special Committee on Science and Technology; and Professor of Wonkwang University Graduate School (1999); – Chief Head of Seoul Peace Education Center (2001-present);
His notable career also includes: – President of National Youth Center of Korea; and Executive Member of Independence Hall (2001); – Secretary General of Asian Conference of Religion and Peace (ACRP) (2002); – Chairman of the Uri Party Special Committee on Religion (2003); – Member of the 17th National Assembly; Member of Special Committee on Budget and Accounts; Chief Advisory to Uri Party Chairman; and Head of Uri Party Reformation of Foreign Policy and National Security System; – Chairman of National Defense Committee (2006); – Supreme Member of Uri Party (2007); – Member of the 18th National Assembly; Member of Democratic United Party; and Member of Land, Transport and Labor Committee (2008-2012); – Member of Planning and Finance Committee; and Chairman of Overseas Korean Business Corps of Democratic United Party (2008-2012); – Chairman of Korean Solidarity for Peace and Reunification (2008-present); – Chief Vice Chairman of Central Committee of Democratic Congress on Global Koreans of Democratic United Party; and Chairman of Political Forum for the Unity (2010-present); – Assistant Administrator of the National Assembly Special Committee of World Expo; and Representative of after the event sector of the National Assembly Special Committee of World Expo (2011); – Member of the 19th National Assembly; Chairman of the National Assembly Special Committee of World Expo; Member of Foreign Affairs & Unification Committee; and Co-Chairman of Korea Governance Forum on Climate (2012); – Chairman of the Democratic Party Special Committee on Trade Negotiation (2013); – Chairman of task force for North Korean Human Rights Act (2014); – Member of emergency board meeting of the Democratic Party of Korea; and Head/Chairman of Strategy Screening Committee for Party nomination (2015).
- Joyce S. Dubensky, Esq.
- Chief Executive Officer
- TANENBAUM | Center for Interreligious Understanding
- Citizenship: USA
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.