Faith and business are powerful forces for peace

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Global Business & Interfaith Peace Award Nominees 2016

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), its Brazilian affiliate, the Associação pela Liberdade Religiosa e Negócios (ALRN), and the United Nations Global Compact Business for Peace (B4P) platform.

NOMINATIONS WERE ACCEPTED IN FOUR CATEGORIES:

Core business

Championing interfaith understanding and peace through a company’s core business operations, including internal procedures, human resources hiring practices, training, product/service development, sourcing policies, supply chains, as well as the development of products and services that promote interfaith understanding and peace.

Social investment and philanthropy

Financial and in-kind contributions, and strategic social investment support for NGOs, UN and multilateral agencies or directly to affected communities and/or contribution of functional expertise through volunteering efforts.

Advocacy and public policy engagement

Fostering social cohesion and inter-group dialogue and relationship-building in the workplace, marketplace and local community.

Partnership and collective action

Joining forces with Governments, UN entities, civil society organizations and/or other businesses to act collectively to promote interfaith understanding and peace and forge long-term partnerships for local or regional economic and sustainable development.


Awards will be presented on 6th September 2016, the night before the opening of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where 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.”


The 2016 Nominees

  • – Yaya Winarno Junardy, President-Commissioner, PT Rajawali Corpora, Indonesia
  • – Fouad M. Makhzoumi, Executive Chairman-CEO, Future Pipe Industries Group Limited (FPIGL), UAE/Lebanon
  • – Zahi Khouri, Chairman and CEO, National Beverage Company, Palestine
  • – Aziz Abu Sarah and Scott Cooper, Co-Founders/Co-CEOs, MEJDI Tours, USA and Israel
  • – Emma Nicholson, Baroness of Winterbourne, Executive Chairman (IBBC); Founder and Chairman, Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) and Amar Foundation, UK and Iraq
  • – Brittany Underwood, Founder, AKOLA PROJECT, USA and Uganda
  • – Abdo Ibrahim El Tassi, President and CEO, Peerless Garments LP, Canada
  • – Kathy Ireland, Founder and President, kathy ireland Worldwide, USA
  • – Tayyibah Taylor (1952-2014), CEO, Founder WOW Publishing, Inc. (Azizah Magazine), USA
  • – Don Larson, Founder and CEO, Sunshine Nut Company, Mozambique
  • – Joaquim Augusto Sanches Pereira, Regional Business Leader/CEO, Cuascor do Braxil Dresser-Rand, a Siemens Business (Guascor do Brasil), Brazil
  • – Graham Power, Chairman of the Board (Founder and ex-CEO), Power Group of Companies, South Africa
  • – Douglass Robison, President & Founding Partner, ExL Petroleum LP, USA
  • – H. Bruce McEver, President and Co-Founder Berkshire Capital Securities LLC, USA
  • – Michael Feder, Founder and CEO, PrayerSpark, USA
  • – Frank Fredericks, CEO, Mean Communications, USA
  • – Jonathan Shen Jian, CEO, Shinework Media, China
  • – Jideofor Okwudili Umeh, CEO, IMO Bamboo Company, Nigeria
  • – Cornelis Hulsman, Director, Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation, Egypt
  • – Mehool H Sanghrajka, Founder and CEO, Learning Possibilities Group, UK
  • – Tunc Ozkan, Chairman, Work Environment Foundation (WEF), Egypt

Yaya Winarno Junardy (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
  • – Partnership and collective action
Overview:

Mr. Y.W. Junardy is a national and international leader in actions, advocacy, and partnerships that help business leaders support interfaith understanding and peace. In his own company he pursues policies and practices that create a diverse and inclusive workplace. In his nation, he uses his influence and resources to overcome dire social problems that, if unaddressed, would result in a cycle of poverty and potential violence. Internationally, he is helping to build a global network of business leaders who see that doing good for people is doing good business. Junardy is the President Commissioner of PT Rajawali Corpora, an Indonesian national holding investment company operating in diverse industries, i.e., hotel & property, transportation, agriculture, mining, infrastructure and IT Services.

Key initiatives:

Y.W. Junardy directly leads the involvement of PT Rajawali Corpora and its business units in Global Compact (GC) Network Indonesia’s activities. He also initiated the company to pledge for support the Business for Peace (B4P) initiatives. One of the biggest initiatives that he led is the Interfaith Mass Wedding and Birth Certificate Program. This project is a collaborative undertaking by the Global Compact in collaboration with House of Love Foundation (member of GC) as the project’s champion, and with the support of provincial government, companies, NGOs and universities. It aims to help poor families to obtain their legal identity so that they can access education, health, formal employment, micro-credits and other public services.  He has alerted the government that the country may face future risk if the problem of 42 million children currently have no legal identity is not resolved. This event, considered the largest in the world, has raised the attention of Ministry of Social Affairs, which is now planning to launch the program nationally. This has also inspired companies that “what is good for society and the environment” is also “good for business.” It is more than just a “do no harm approach,” but essential part for doing business. Junardy also raised the importance for companies to take a role in promoting inter-religions and inter-cultural peace and harmony for ensuring the social license for their business sustainability. Internally, he always emphasized the aspect of inter-religions and inter-cultural peace and harmony as an important corporate policy. It is reflected in practical implementations; for example, his company is providing a proper praying room for the employees (especially for Muslims who needs to be able to pray 5 times per day) and sponsoring the celebration of Eid al-Fitr and Christmas with participation by employees from various religions showing tolerance and respect of others. The Business Units also provide the transportation for the employees who return to their home town for religious festivals.

Biography:

Junardy is the President Commissioner of PT Rajawali Corpora, an Indonesian national holding investment company operating in diverse industries, i.e., hotel & property, transportation, agriculture, mining, infrastructure and IT Services. Prior to his current position he served in various companies including Managing Director of PT Rajawali Corpora, CEO of Excelcomindo, a national cellular operator and Board of RCTI, a national TV broadcasting. Prior to this, he worked for IBM Indonesia, IBM Regional HQ in Hong Kong, New York and Tokyo before his appointment as CEO of PT USI – IBM Indonesia. In addition to his responsibility as a business leader, Junardy has been passionately promoting the importance of social community development and directed the company to play a leading role in fostering intercultural and interfaith understanding for peace and harmony at work as well as in society. He initiated the company to become one of the founders of Global Compact Network Indonesia. He also sits as a board-member in various non-profit organizations, among others: Indonesia Business Links; House of Love Foundation; Indonesian Association on Religion and Culture; and Bhumiksara Foundation. He also serves as President of Asia Marketing Federation Foundation and a member of the President’s Advancement Advisor Committee of National University of Singapore.

Nominating Organization:
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Fouad Makhzoumi (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Core business
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
  • – Advocacy and public policy engagement
Overview:

Fouad is a leading Arab industrialist, philanthropist, social activist, and politician who uses his influence in each of these areas to argue for and build inclusive societies where everyone has the opportunity to become an empowered and self-reliant citizen contributing to the common good. At home and abroad he speaks passionately about the importance of freedom of religion or belief, and the opportunity the Arab world has to advance towards more open and stable societies. His foundation has provided employment and life skills to a sizable portion of the population of his home country, Lebanon. Mr. Makhzoumi is the Executive Chairman and CEO of theFuture Pipe Industries Group Limited as well as the founder and Chairman of the National Dialogue Party (NDP) and the Forum for National Dialogue (FND) in Lebanon.

Key initiatives:

Mr. Makhzoumi has taken many initiatives to promote interfaith understanding and peace. To name but a few: Corporate Governance at Future Pipe Industries Group Limited (FPIGL) (2008), Corporate Social Responsibility at FPIGL (2009), at Makhzoumi Foundation (MF) (1997), which developed departments, programs and units to address the needs of the Lebanese community and that of its residents across all sectarian and faith traditions. It does that through reducing sources of tensions by improving their socio-economic status by extending loans, developing skills, through informal and formal vocational trainings, providing health awareness and supplying core relief items to the most vulnerable communities, making good value healthcare available, preserving and raising awareness on agro‐environmental issues, empowering youth potentials, and orienting them to achieve self‐sustainability and independence. NDP aims at fair and just treatment and justice among all, through effective ways and procedures that will prevent the abuse of power and position. Sectarianism and confessionalism, in the political sense, have proved to be a tool for corruption leading to more political influences of sectarian leaders. NDP believes in multi-confessions and religious sects, for these are vital dements of a coherent nation; but, at the same time, political sectarianism has mislead the true definition of multi-confessionalism. This distortion has adversely impacted the various religious sects. It is with these undeniable facts in mind that the NDP aims at abolishing political sectarianism and its negative implications, as called for in Al-Taif Accord, in order to unify the Lebanese citizens and enhance nationalism. This will have the happy result of eliminating traditional misuse of power and leadership through religious affiliation. “Beirutiyat”, created in 2015 (Beirutiyat), is another NGO targeting and addressing Beirutis and their welfare. Our community aims to pay homage to the heart of this glorious country, this melting pot for cultures and religions, and a place that turns a heterogeneous population into a homogeneous one. Its career guidance, management and volunteering- function Civic and civil engagement another initiative of Rami Makhzoumi Chair on Corporate Governance (2011).

Biography:

Mr. Makhzoumi earned his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. After working in the pipe manufacturing industry, he founded Future Pipe Industries and built it up to become the global leader in the large diameter fiberglass pipe industry. Mr. Makhzoumi has been a member of the International Board of the Council on Foreign Relations: US/Middle East Project since 1996. From 1995 until 1998, he acted as Vice Chairman of the Institute for Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Mr. Makhzoumi is a member of the Advisory Board of the CSIS, as well as a member of the IISS. He is also a long time member and former director of the International Desalination Association. In 1997, he founded MF, a private Lebanese non-profit organization that contributes, through its vocational training, health care and micro-credit programs to Lebanese civil society development. Mr. Makhzoumi is also the founder and Chairman of the National Dialogue Party (NDP) and the Forum for National Dialogue (FND) in Lebanon. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy in 2013, and received the Socrates Oxford Annual Award for 2014 by the European Business Assembly (EBA) in Vienna. He has received as well many other awards and trophies.

Nominating Organization:
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Zahi Khouri (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Advocacy and public policy engagement
Overview:

Mr. Khouri uses his position as a leading business entrepreneur in Palestine not only to provide much needed employment and a model of top quality business, but just as importantly, to be a catalyst for peace in the Holy Lands. Mr. Khouri was instrumental in launching the Breaking the Impasse (BTI) initiative. This unprecedented move joined prominent Palestinian and Israeli business people and civil society leaders in calling to political leaders (Palestinian, Israeli and global) to achieve a peace resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an inherently religious conflict. Zahi W. Khouri, a Palestinian- American born in Jaffa, Palestine, is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The National Beverage Company (the exclusive Coca-Cola licensee for Palestine).

Key initiatives:

Mr. Khouri was instrumental in launching the Breaking the Impasse (BTI) initiative. This unprecedented move joined prominent Palestinian and Israeli business people and civil society leaders in calling to political leaders (Palestinian, Israeli and global) to achieve a peace resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an inherently religious conflict. The group called on political leaders to attach the highest priority towards achieving a two-state solution and an end of the conflict between the two peoples. Its members took it upon themselves to back such an endeavor and to garner domestic and international support for it. Members did not join lightly, indeed most of the Palestinian members were attacked by the larger community for “normalizing” relations with their occupier. Yet, the group grew to include some 300 independent, non-political, business leaders and major employers, representing a meaningful share of the GDP of both economies and its efforts were adopted by the World Economic Forum, which hosted several meetings. This initiative was unprecedented in that it was the first time that the private sector from both sides took a stand on the conflict. They planned to use their wide economic power to pressure their politicians to action. The group attempted, through several meetings to draft a position statement that would include mutual positions on key issues like borders and settlements. The positions put forth by the Palestinian side were nothing new and were based on shared values as well as on international law, international resolutions concerning our conflict, and past agreements. Yet, even during this context, both sides blamed each other for the situation and the initiative failed to achieve even this basic step. Mr. Khouri was courageous to defend his decision to help launch BTI and, after it failed, to truthfully speak about what happened.

Biography:

Zahi W. Khouri, a Palestinian- American born in Jaffa, Palestine, is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The National Beverage Company (the exclusive Coca-Cola licensee for Palestine). Mr. Khouri is an active Middle East businessman and holds a number of executive positions and Board. Memberships including the Chairman of Jerusalem Development and Investment Co (Jedico), and Intram Investments Inc. in Orlando, Florida. Mr. Khouri serves as Board Member of Palestine Development & Investment Co (Padico), the largest Palestinian holding Co. In the UAE, Mr. Khouri is a Board member of Rasmala Holding Co. Mr. Khouri was an Executive Board Member of the Olayan Group and CEO of the Olayan Saudi Holding Co. in Saudi-Arabia and USA for over 20 years. He also holds a number of civic positions among others, Chairman of the local chapter of Partners for New Beginning (PNB), Board member of the local International Chamber of Commerce, and the Jerusalem Arbitration Center. Mr. Khouri received an M.B.A. from the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD), Fontainebleau, France and an M.Sc. in Engineering from the Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart, Germany. He ended his high school studies at the IC/AUB in Beirut, Lebanon. Mr. Khouri is fluent in Arabic, English, French, German and Spanish.

Nominating Organization:
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Aziz Abu Sarah and Scott Cooper (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Core business
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
  • – Partnership and collective action
Overview:

MEJDI Tours is bringing people from various religious, national and cultural backgrounds together through the promotion of tourism throughout the Middle East and as far as Indonesia. MEJDI runs ‘Dual Narrative’ tours, which, for instance, in the Holy Lands are led by Israeli and Palestinian guides who each offer their own perspectives on culture, politics and religion at each tour location. Tourism is a major global business which Aziz Abu Sarah and Scott Cooper are tapping into to bring interfaith understanding in locations where the lack of understanding can be a trigger for conflict. Aziz Abu Sarah and Scott Cooper are co-founders of MEJDI Tours. Aziz Abu Sarah is an entrepreneur, speaker, peace builder and author. He is a National Geographic Explorer and a TED Fellow. Scott Cooper is a successful business owner, social entrepreneur, and business strategist, spent a decade in the private sector as a banker and financial representative for JP Morgan Chase, before joining George Mason University’s (GMU) Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution as its co-executive director in 2009.

Key initiatives:

The Middle East and Justice Development Initiative (MEJDI Tours), provides dual narrative, co-leading trips in which guides are required to engage in interfaith co-leadership in multiple aspects which allow them and the participating travelers to learn from different perspectives, about each other, and about religious interfaith collaboration while meeting with religious leaders from different backgrounds. MEJDI Tours is an interfaith and intercultural tour company running tours in numerous countries including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Palestine. They seek to foster peace and cultural understanding through the promotion of tourism. In the Holy Lands, for instance, MEJDI runs the “Dual Narrative” tour, which is led by Israeli and Palestinian guides who offer their perspectives on culture, politics and religion at each tour location. This approach to peace building and understanding has gained additional support from organizations such as the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) which mentors the company as it works to build bridges between cultures.

Biography (Aziz Abu Sarah):

Aziz Abu Sarah is an entrepreneur, speaker, peace builder and author. He is a National Geographic Explorer and a TED Fellow. In 2009, Aziz co-founded MEJDI Tours, a cultural exploration vehicle for an ever-changing travel market. In 2014, he gave a TED Talk about his vision for redefining tourism. Aziz has spoken at countless of international organizations and universities, including The United Nations, Nexus, TED, BMW, and European Parliament. Aziz is the recipient of the Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East from the Institute of International Education, the European Parliament’s Silver Rose Award, and the Eisenhower Medallion. The Royal Strategic Centre in Jordan named him one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the World for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. He won the Intercultural innovation award from the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group. UNSG Ban Ki Moon also recognized him for his work in peace building.

Biography (Scott Cooper):

Scott Cooper is a successful business owner, social entrepreneur, and business strategist, spent a decade in the private sector as a banker and financial representative for JP Morgan Chase, before joining George Mason University’s (GMU) Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution as its co-executive director in 2009. Under Scott’s direction, the center’s budget grew 100-fold, and operated programs in Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. The MEJDI co-founder and CEO established GMU’s first business and conflict resolution program, and spearheaded an innovative study abroad program that takes students throughout the Middle East and beyond. He previously worked at the United States Institute of Peace on a project focused on evaluating peace-building programs in conflict zones, and has advised numerous NGOs on sustainable models for organizational growth. Scott holds a degree in political science from Arizona State University and a Master of Science degree in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University.

Nominating Organization:
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Emma Nicholson, Baroness of Winterbourne (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Advocacy and public policy engagement
  • – Partnership and collective action
Overview:

Baroness Nicholson is the founder and Chairman of the Amar Foundation. In a country that has been driven by religious discrimination, AMAR serves those in need without regard to faith or ethnicity. AMAR’s Combating Religious Discrimination (CRD) program educates students, educators, and civil society and religious leaders on issues of religious tolerance, human rights and non-discrimination. Baroness Nicholson has guided the development of AMAR which provides its services through an all-Iraqi team of about 1,000 staff and volunteers. AMAR’s work with displaced persons is supported by local government leaders. And its projects help, in particular, all aspects of life for displaced women: health (mental and physical), education, recreation, and work skills. Baroness Nicholson is Executive Chairman of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), an organization which facilitates business, trade investment, human resources, training and transfer of technology and know-how into the Republic of Iraq.

Key initiatives:

The AMAR Foundation has brought healthcare and education to people caught in conflict and poverty for 25 years, without regard to the faith or ethnicity of those in need. When ISIS (Daesh) overran Iraqi cities and towns, AMAR sought to help all displaced persons, raising funds for new health facilities in the camps where internally displaced persons (IDPs) had congregated. Iraqis who had been chased from their homes on grounds of religion were relieved to be welcomed and cared for as individuals in need, not as members of a faith group. Some of the displaced persons served by AMAR are Yezidis, including young women and girls who were brutally mistreated by Daesh and subsequently escaped to the displaced persons’ camps. AMAR designed and implements a psycho-social program to help these traumatized young women to be healed of their mental trauma. The Baroness and AMAR recognized the need to inform the world of what religious intolerance had inflicted on Yezidi women. To that end, she took several of the Yezidi women to Britain to meet with the media and to visit British high schools so that young British Muslims would learn the truth about the crimes of Daesh. AMAR’s Combating Religious Discrimination (CRD) program was developed specifically to address religious tolerance, human rights and non-discrimination that has been so prevalent in Iraq’s history.

Biography:

Baroness Nicholson is the founder and Chairman of the Amar Foundation. Baroness Nicholson started AMAR in 1991 in response to Saddam Hussein’s systematic persecution and extermination of the Marsh Arabs, and it has now grown to become one of the leading charities in the Middle East. Baroness Nicholson is a member of Britain’s Upper Chamber of Parliament, the House of Lords, and has recently been appointed as the Chairman of the House of Lords Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee. She chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Foreign Affairs and was a member of the influential ad-hoc Soft Power Committee. She has taken part in many election observer missions to countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Russia, Moldova, Kenya and Zambia, and was Chief International Observer twice in Yemen and Armenia. She was a member of the European Parliament for ten years, and served as Vice President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Defense, and Security Policy. She also served as a Rapporteur for Iraq, Kashmir, and Romania. She continues to serve on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and is the former chairman of the Interparliamentary Standing Delegation between the European Parliament and Iraq. Baroness Nicholson began her political life as a Member of the Parliament in Britain in 1987, serving a constituency in the South West of England for 10 years. Previously she had worked as a Director of Save the Children, and started life as a computer software developer and engineer. Away from work, her great love is music. She trained at Britain’s Royal Academy of Music.

Nominating Organization:
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Brittany Underwood (nomination form)

  • Brittany UnderwoodFounder and President
  • AKOLA
  • USA and Uganda
Categories:
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
  • – Advocacy and public policy engagement
  • – Partnership and collective action
Overview:

Brittany Underwood is Founder and Chairman of Akola, a mission-driven enterprise that empowers women to become agents of transformation in their families and communities through economic development. Her work through Akola promotes gender equality, human rights and religious freedom by providing women a pathway to financial peace and a better quality of life. When women thrive the whole community thrives. Mothers can focus on their children education and teach them to respect all peoples. Brittany discovered that by training and employing women and guaranteeing them a monthly income we could care for thousands of children, without the construction of an orphanage home. By ensuring children safety and care at home, communities can focus more on development than conflict and societal pressures that challenge basic freedoms.

Key initiatives:

In 2007, Brittany launched a new sustainable model to uplift women and children. The women named it “Akola”, which means “to work” in their local dialect. After five years in the field, she worked with the best development practitioners in the country to develop a sustainable impact model for women. The work paid off. Over the last seven years, the Akola Project has blossomed into a thriving social-business that empowers women across the globe. Their merchandise is sold in 500 major department stores around the nation. The hope of Akola is to encourage new thinking about international development and to inspired the next generation of social innovators to to deliver the highest level of impact in disadvantaged communities. Brittany’s work promotes gender equality, human rights and religious freedom by providing women a pathway to financial peace and a better quality of life.  When women thrive the whole community thrives. Mothers can focus on their children education and teach them to respect all peoples.

Biography:

In 2004, Brittany Underwood was moved to compassion as a sophomore in college after meeting a Ugandan woman named Sarah who cared for 24 street children in her home. Compassion escalated to action as Brittany founded a non-profit to construct an orphanage home to house children who slept on Sarah’s floor. In 2006, upon graduating college, Brittany moved to Uganda to begin the construction of the orphanage and the drilling of over 20 water wells throughout the country. As the team traveled to different villages, they were amazed by women who cared for 10+ children in their homes. Like Sarah, they had a hope and vision for their families; they simply did not have the income or confidence to embrace their calling. After completing the orphanage, Brittany discovered that by training and employing women and guaranteeing them a monthly income we could care for thousands of children, without the construction of an orphanage home

Nominating Organization:
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Abdo Ibrahim El Tassi (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
Overview:

Mr. El Tassi’s goal as a businessman and a member of the Arab community in Canada has been to build a better life for his family, his employees and newcomers to Canada. He has dedicated himself to building bridges to promote tolerance and harmony between and among our multicultural and Multifaith communities. With the general collapse of an indigenous Canadian garment industry, Mr. El Tassi has striven not only to maintain but to expand a proudly Canadian company, in no small measure through the diversity and dignity of his hiring and retention policies.

Key initiatives:

Mr. El Tassi’s efforts, reflected in corporate policy, are also the individual contributions of a committed philanthropist in the Muslim tradition. Of special note is the corporate conviction and policy of  hiring persons of every faith tradition, and maintaining harmonious and respectful relations with all.

Biography:

Mr. El Tassi was born in Lebanon, where he became a schoolteacher and principal. He came to Winnipeg in 1969 and his first job was loading trucks in the shipping department of Peerless Garments. In 1978, he was appointed their General Manager and by 2003, he had become President and CEO.  Since that time he has increased the company’s annual sales from $3 to $45 million. He brings this drive to the many boards on which he sits, including the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice in St. Paul’s College. Mr. El Tassi has sponsored dozens of people to come to Canada and established training and development opportunities at Peerless Garments for newcomers to learn marketable skills and English. To date, he has provided over $1.7 million in interest-free loans to cover business startup costs, mortgages and university tuition for immigrants building new lives in Canada. He once helped a former Secretary of State for External Affairs reunite two boys in Lebanon with their mother in Winnipeg. As a founder of the Islamic Social Services Association of Manitoba, the Al Hijra Islamic School, and the Mosque of Thompson, Manitoba, Mr. El Tassi has exhibited his commitment and dedication to his personal faith. He is also a member of the Arab Jewish Dialogue group, which helps bolster relations between differing cultures and religions in Canada. Beyond our borders, Mr. El Tassi is so dedicated to the worldwide effort to remove landmines from war-torn countries that the President of Lebanon has personally congratulated his efforts.

Nominating Organization:
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Kathy Ireland (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
  • – Advocacy and public policy engagement
  • – Partnership and collective action
Overview:

Kathy Ireland supports the extraordinary work of Hardwired, a women-led initiative to advance dignity and freedom in the face of religious oppression which is escalating every day. Kathy helps Hardwired as an advocate and supporter, including helping host an event for Yazidi women escaping oppression, which included an appeal to Congress to take immediate action to stop ISIS. Kathy hosted an event last fall for Yezidi girl who had been enslaved by ISIS to share her personal story. As a result, many new partners joined Hardwired’s work. She helped Hardwired provide support for the Yezidi girl over the past year to help her recover from the trauma. Kathy also has been instrumental in inspiring others to join Hardwired’s work for religious freedom. Kathy Ireland Worldwide has not only made donations to Hardwired, but has also come alongside to offer time and resources to help Hardwired, including producing a video to highlight the unique interfaith methodology Hardwired uses to train leaders worldwide in defending freedom for all. (The video is currently in production.) Kathy has also inspired her business partners to also come alongside Hardwired to publicize their work in various ways, including sharing contacts with the media and other resources to help Hardwired raise greater awareness about our work in Iraq and Sudan. Kathy is personally committed to religious freedom beyond just supporting Hardwired, including for Meriam Ibrahim from Sudan, who was condemned to death for her faith. Kathy argues that “whatever your political beliefs, whatever your religious tradition and faith, nothing can stop you from joining people of every belief in supporting Hardwired’s work to end unimaginable cruelty.” Supermodel-turned-mogul Kathy Ireland was included in 2015 by Forbes’ first ever ranking of America’s top 50 most successful women as measured by their net worths.

Key initiatives:

Hardwired (HW), a U.S.-based non-profit organization, focuses on expanding civil society space so that more people around the world can experience religious freedom.  HW has created the only training program in the world that is focused on training leaders in the skills to address local issues related to freedom of religion and belief (FORB) and to change worldviews that negatively impact and exacerbate oppression of religious minorities. HW trains local leaders in the legal, educational, religious, and media arenas to defend religious freedom by creating multi-faith coalitions which are prepared to counter serious legal threats and social hostilities in their countries for long-term, sustainable change. HW also provides educational training and resources for educators globally, and trains and provides policy recommendations to government leaders.

Biography:

Kathy Ireland, a well-known American model and actress from the 1980s and 1990s, and the Founder of kathy ireland Worldwide, is a highly successful entrepreneur and businesswoman with her company selling over $2 billion in products. Her business acumen and integrity make her well respected by those in the modeling and acting arena as well as by those in the business world. Kathy’s concern for those in need has directed her involvement with non-profit organizations focused on HIV/AIDS, education, emergency response and training for children, disease research and management, and international issues related to women and justice and freedom of religion or belief.

Nominating Organization:
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Tayyibah Taylor (1952-2014) (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Core business
Overview:

Tayyibah Taylor (1952 – 2014) was a Muslim business entrepreneur who helped Muslim women as well as many women and men of other faiths better understand the life and accomplishments of Muslim women. She was a tireless advocate for Muslim women, a mentor and role model to countless Muslims in America and abroad. A learned and spiritual woman, she was a firm believer in Allah’s mercy, she was a pioneer woman who spoke and wrote about Islam and spirituality, often when the only prominent voices in the American Muslim community were of men. Among the most well traveled Muslim women of the world, Ms. Taylor logged millions of miles in visits to countries on six continents, advocating for peace, constructive interfaith relations, and Muslim women’s empowerment. The most notable part of her life’s work is founding the institution of Azizah Magazine.

Key initiatives:

Tayyibah Taylor launched Azizah Magazine in 2000, along with co-founder, Nina Soerakoesoemah. Azizah magazine is a quarterly lifestyle magazine celebrating the stories and accomplishments of Muslim women. In addition to providing engaging articles, Azizah is the magazine American Muslim women and their families read to learn about new trends, useful products and quality merchandise. As the only print magazine of its kind, targeted to women of this global market, and soon to be digital publication, Azizah is steadily growing in its reach and popularity. The magazine’s reach not only spans to Muslim women, but also many women and men of other faiths who are able to get better understanding into the world of the life and accomplishments of Muslim women.

Biography:

Tayyibah Taylor was the founding editor-in-chief and publisher of Azizah Magazine, an award-winning publication. Ms. Taylor was named as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Middle Eastern think tank The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies and was featured in Huffington Post as one of the Ten American Muslim Women You Should Know. Through Azizah, Ms. Taylor realized her vision to provide a vehicle for the voice of Muslim American women – a vehicle that portrays their perspectives and experiences, and shatters commonly held stereotypes. She  presented lectures on Islam and Muslim women at national and international conferences and has travelled to 40 countries, spanning six continents, some of which was sponsored by the US State Department. Ms. Taylor worked on several interfaith initiatives and traveled to Turkey, Spain, Morocco, Jerusalem, Greece, Jordan and Canada with various groups of Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Nominating Organization:
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Don Larson (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
Overview:

Don Larson works across faith and cultural lines using The Sunshine Approach™ based on the simple idea that companies can have profound positive impact on people’s lives. The Sunshine Nut roasting facility in Mozambique allows them to deliver the freshest product worldwide while training and employing adult orphans. Sunshine Nut profits are re-invested in Mozambican communities with a total of 90% of proceeds going to transformative initiatives. Of their proceeds, 30% goes to supporting farming communities through ‘hand-up’ assistance, 30% to caring for orphans and vulnerable children, and 30% to creating new food companies. Don, being an evangelical Christian and motivated by his faith to do good through his business, has been a strong advocate for building bridges across faith lines and raising people of all faiths up through business in Mozambique. For instance, Sunshine Nut Company has concentrated on obtaining and maintaining good relations with Muslim communities and Muslim lead businesses such as the company led by Mohamed Abuacer, Proconsult. Mohamed handles all of the financial aspects of the Sunshine Nut Company. He is a key financial advisor and a trusted member of the Sunshine Nut team. He assisted in establishing Sunshine Nut Company in Mozambique. Mohamed also represents us, Sunshine Nut Co, with various enterprises within the Mozambican Government. Sunshine Nut Co also conducts regular meetings with our cashew shelling factories and cashew suppliers which are Muslim owned. Through these interfaith connections a network of collaboration between different faith communities is flustered and promotes a culture of peace within a religiously diverse country. Why Mozambique? At the time of independence in 1975, Mozambique was the leading cashew producing country. Cashew processing was a major industry and an employer for many. Independence was followed by sixteen years of violent civil war in which over one million lives were lost. To make matters worse, orchards were ravaged by rampant disease causing the industry to collapse, leaving thousands destitute. Mozambique is ready to regain the status it once had. Sunshine Nut Company believes in Mozambique and is playing an active part in reestablishing the industry. These cashews are transforming lives in Mozambique through bringing opportunity, dignity, and fairness to everyone beginning with the grower. Don Larson, Founder & CEO of the Sunshine Nut Company and author of The Sunshine Approach, has over 25 years of experience in the food industry – many of which were at the Hershey Company.

Key initiatives:

Don Larson quit his corporate life in America working as an executive for some of the country’s top companies to pursue a calling of transforming the lives of the poor and orphaned in sub-Saharan Africa across faith lines. He developed a business model called the Sunshine Approach which has a quadruple bottom line – financial, environmental, social, and transformational. The companies using this business model will be based on developing world class food products in these sub-Saharan African countries for the benefit of the entire value chain. The purpose is to develop a market for the smallholder farmer communities. The factories will employ mainly young men and women who were abandoned or orphaned in their youth. 90% of the company’s distributed profits (a reverse tithe) will go to the poor and orphaned of the country – 30% to orphan care, 30% to transformative projects for the farming communities, and 30% as a growth component to open up other food companies using this same philanthropic business model. Don Larson and his family sold all of their possessions in 2011 and moved to Mozambique, Africa where they have lived the last 5 years. He formed Sunshine Nut Company in the USA and Sunshine Nut Limitada in Mozambique. In the last 18 months, Sunshine Nut Company cashews are now on the shelves of nearly 2,000 of the best retailers in the USA (Whole Foods, Giant, Stop & Shop, Wegmans, Martins, Raley’s, Harmons, Mother’s Markets, Natural Grocers, and many more). Don’s presence has been requested at the Grow Africa/World Economic Forum for the past 4 years with them paying his way, the European Economic Summit, and next month he will be at Oxford University for a Roundtable Forum. He has performed 2 TEDx talks and has articles appearing in Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, Skoll World Forum, ONE.org and other publications.

Biography:

Don Larson, Founder & CEO of the Sunshine Nut Company and author of The Sunshine Approach, has over 25 years of experience in the food industry – many of which were at the Hershey Company. Don’s 13 years at Hershey were in turn-around assignments in manufacturing, industrial engineering, e-business, strategic sourcing, global sourcing, commodities trading, new product introductions, and project management. In 2011, Don and his family left their lifestyle of abundance and material wealth for one of purpose. They sold nearly everything they owned – including his hot air balloon – and poured their life savings into Sunshine Nut Company. Don and his wife Terri and their youngest son, relocated to Africa – away from their daughter in college and son in his last year of high school. They have lived in Mozambique for 5 years now – one of the world’s poorest countries – working to make a difference in the lives of the poor and orphaned.

Nominating Organization:
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Joaquim Augusto Sanches Pereira (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
Overview:

Joaquim Pereira’s  support for the Vaga Lume initiatives promote interfaith understanding and peace in the Amazon region. In a country undergoing massive religious transformations, Joaquim Pereira has placed a priority in his social investment and philanthropy to protect the religious and cultural diversity of Brazil’s Amazon region which is known for having a wonderful cultural and religious diversity. It is estimated that there are about 200 indigenous societies in Brazil, some of them have common histories, but they usually have different ways of living; which comes from influences of “mestizo”, indigenous and Afro-Brazilian cultures and brings a richness variety of symbols, myths, rites and languages. He is CEO of Cuascor do Braxil Dresser-Rand, a Siemens Business (Guascor do Brasil).

Key initiatives:

Joaquim Pereira started working in rural areas of the Brazilian Amazon region in 1997, because of Guascor’s efforts to generate power in isolated areas of Brazil. Always concerned about the reality of the people who live in these remote areas, Joaquim looked for a way of making them seen and respected by the rest of the country and the world. In 2004, he discovered Vaga Lume Association, a non-profit organization founded in 2001, grounded in the belief that the best strategy to transform the reality of people of the Amazon is to provide them with access to intercultural exchange opportunities – by promoting the access to reading implementing community libraries with volunteers to read aloud to children and by engaging teenagers from São Paulo and from the Amazon in an intercultural dialogue. The connection was immediate: Joaquim had never seen any initiative focused on the people from the isolated communities where he was working and Vaga Lume had never met any company CEO that valued initiatives for intercultural understanding. Joaquim realized that it was very strategic to Guascor to invest in Vaga Lume’s activities, but, as a visionary, he went far beyond, he encouraged Guascor’s employees to learn the organization’s methodology and engage in its literature activities as a way of promoting understanding and peace. This partnership has gone deeper, nowadays, many Guascor’s employees are trained to read aloud and carry out many social actions using this methodology; all Vaga Lume’s volunteers and beneficiaries recognize Guascor’s support; and Joaquim is now a chairman of Vaga Lume’s Advisory Board. With Guascor’s and Joaquim’s support, Vaga Lume went far: more than 26,000 children, teenagers and adults involved in intercultural understanding activities, more than 86,000 literature books provided to people in remote communities of the Amazon, hundreds of volunteers promoting reading and intercultural dialogue.

Biography:

Joaquim Pereira, 65 years old, was born in Brazil. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering (1974) and in Work’s Security Engineer (1975) at the Brás Cubas University. Joaquim is post graduated in Project Management and Viability at Vanzolin Foundation (1982) and in Marketing at FEI (1984). His career started as a project engineering and quality at Nachi do Brasil (1974-1978). Afterwards, he assumed the position of Sales Management at Gremafer Comercial (1978-1990) and became Commercial Director (1990-1995), being responsible for commercializing imported products. Then, he became Commercial Director of Gamesa Comercial Importadora, to implement its commercial area. In 1997, he lead the implementation of the Spanish company Guascor in Brazil, with the aim of generating power in isolated areas of Brazil’s North region, initiating his trajectory at Guascor do Brasil as Director-President. In 2011, the company became part of Dresser-Rand, North-American multinational. Joaquim, then, became Regional Business Leader, being responsible for Guascor do Brasil’s business – important recognition of his inspiring leadership. Recently there has been a new change in controllership and Siemens took control of both Dresser-Rand and Guascor’s business, creating a new company: Dresser-Rand, a Siemens Business. After an admirable and successful professional trajectory, Mr. Joaquim will retire in 2016.

Nominating Organization:
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Graham Power (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
  • – Partnership and collective action
Overview:

Graham has used his position of influence to create a global movement that requires individuals and organisations from every sector of society and faith to make a commitment to stand against crime, corruption and collusion: the Unashamedly Ethical Movement. This is done by challenging individuals and organisations to take a stand for ethics, values and clean living. In 1983 Graham Power founded a civil engineering company, Power Construction, with only one small vehicle and three staff members.  It would only take 15 years before the Power Group of Companies would become one of Southern Africa’s leading suppliers of civil, roads, building, turnkey housing, project engineering and property development services.

Key initiatives:

Graham has used his position of influence to create a global movement that requires individuals and organisations from every sector of society and faith to make a commitment to stand against crime, corruption and collusion: the Unashamedly Ethical Movement. This is done by challenging individuals and organisations to take a stand for ethics, values and clean living. Once the form has been registered all information is captured on a data base of individuals and organisations that have decided to conduct their affairs in an ethical manner. This provides a network of like-minded individuals and organisations that can engage with each other, to promote partnerships and forge sustainable working relationships. The final step in the process is a demonstration of the commitment to accountability, where an ombudsman has the authority to mediate on the conduct of all members who do not adhere to the code of conduct as sited in the commitment form. Corruption is currently crippling corporations, industries and even nations. The tangible evidence of corruption is failed economies that ultimately affect the poor. Corruption steals around $150 billion each year from African economies, (25% of the continent’s GDP.) It is estimated that about $1 trillion USD is paid in bribes each year. No nation is immune. The current global economic crisis means that greed, the excesses of corporate cultures, dishonesty and unaccountable behavior has touched us where it hurts. Nations go to war because of corruption and crime. Graham believes that every individual needs to play his or her role in stemming the tide of corruption. His dream is to stand together so that we can stop the filthy flow of corruption and bring about nation transformation that leads to peace and prosperity while forging long term partnerships for economic development.

Biography:

In 1983 Graham Power founded a civil engineering company, Power Construction, with only one small vehicle and three staff members.  It would only take 15 years before the Power Group of Companies would become one of Southern Africa’s leading suppliers of civil, roads, building, turnkey housing, project engineering and property development services. After a personal encounter with God, in 1998 Graham rewrote his life goals and determined to be an instrument of change, bringing peace and reconciliation to the peoples and nations in Africa. This goal soon proved to be inadequate as Graham’s life impacted individuals, corporations and nations around the world. After South Africa transitioned from apartheid to democracy there was a season of euphoria that was punctuated by fear as bombs exploded across the city of Cape Town paralyzing political initiatives. In 2001, in response to this looming crises Graham invited the church to gather in a sports stadium to pray, to ask for forgiveness for the sins of our past and to pray for peace in our land. 45,000 people gathered on that day in the city of Cape Town. This prayer event continued to grow until in 2004 all 56 nations and islands of Africa participated with 22 million people praying a common prayer over the continent. By 2010 all 220 nations of the world had joined this movement, with an estimated 400 million people praying for transformation, on Pentecost Sunday. The Global Day of Prayer became the largest global prayer gathering in all recorded history (www.globaldayofprayer.com). The next significant step in the transformation process was the formation of the Unashamedly Ethical (UE) network which Graham spearheaded and launched in 2010. In October 2014 Graham and a small team of global leaders met with Pope Francis in the Vatican to present their reconciliation and transformation message.

Nominating Organization:
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Douglass Robison (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
  • – Advocacy and public policy engagement
Overview:

Doug was a co-organizer, sponsor and keynote speaker for the 2016 27-nation Asian Pacific (APAC) Religious Freedom Forum bringing influential religious freedom advocates, including parliamentarians and other government representatives, leaders of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and religious leaders who are committed to advancing religious freedom in the Asia Pacific. It resulted in international commitments embodied in the Taiwan Declaration. Among other elements, the delegates declared a commitment to publicly condemn any act of intolerance, discrimination, persecution, or violence perpetrated in the name of religion, and to protecting the rights of religious minorities or other religious communities restricted from teaching, practicing, worshiping or observing their religious traditions. Doug is President and Founding Partner of ExL Petroleum LP.

Key initiatives:

Doug Robison’s active and philanthropic support made possible 2016 Asian Pacific (APAC) Religious Freedom Forum. The Asia Pacific Religious Freedom Forum aims to provide an opportunity for collaboration on promoting religious freedom and related human rights between regional leaders from the Asia Pacific, United States, Europe, and throughout the world. The APRFF aims to establish and reinforce existing networks of religious freedom advocates committed to promoting religious freedom in their respective countries and abroad, including the creation of both governmental and non-governmental mechanisms to promote religious freedom and related human rights in the Asia Pacific region. The APRFF will address specific themes related to promoting religious freedom in the Asia Pacific region, including coordinating advocacy efforts and diplomatic engagement, addressing related immigration and refugees issues, and the socio-economic impact of religious freedom. The delegates declared the need to deepen political, cultural, and educational institutions and dialogue dedicated to fostering religious pluralism and tolerance; a commitment to respond to immigration and refugee issues, including providing safe-haven and human services for individuals and communities affected by restrictions and violations of religious freedom and related human rights; a commitment to an awareness of the socio-economic benefits of advancing freedom of religion or belief and an inherent pledge to apply and disseminate this knowledge in our respective communities and countries and throughout the Asia Pacific region; and a commitment to publicly condemn any act of intolerance, discrimination, persecution, or violence perpetrated in the name of religion, and to protecting the rights of religious minorities or other religious communities restricted from teaching, practicing, worshiping or observing their religious traditions.

Biography:

Doug is a 1979 graduate of the Texas Tech School of Business with a Business Administration degree and a 1982 graduate of Texas Tech School of Law. Doug has also earned a Texas state-wide reputation as being an expert in the analysis and communication of issues impacting the independent oil and gas community. At the request of the White House Taskforce on Energy Project Streamlining testified in Washington, D.C., on Storm Water Discharge (NPDES) proposed EPA rule making. At the request of the White House he made a joint presentation to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, the Commerce Department, the White House Energy Task Force and the Department of Labor on the potential adverse impacts the proposed EPA rule would make on the domestic oil and gas industry. Doug was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to serve on the Texas Energy Planning Council in 2004 and co-chaired the Energy Supply Committee with Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Doug was a co-organizer, sponsor and keynote speaker for the 2016 Asian Pacific Religious Freedom Forum bringing parliamentarians, religious leaders and NGOs focusing on the promotion of religious tolerance and freedom in the Asian Pacific. The Robison Excelsior Foundation (REF Established by Doug in 2010), a 501(c)(3) foundation with it’s primary focus, but not limited to, assisting organizations who are committed to providing hope and assistance to those in need. Charitable Organizations that REF is working with at the present: Helping Hands, Casa de Amigos, Life Center, Habitat for Humanity, Midland Fair Havens, Mission Center Adult Services, Greater Ideal Baptist Church, New Life Church, Young Life, YMCA, Boy Scouts of America, China Aid.

Nominating Organization:
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H. Bruce McEver (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
Overview:

H. Bruce McEver is President and Co-Founder of the Foundation for Religious Literacy, through which he pursues his passion for interfaith understanding becoming the norm for corporate leaders. For instance, Mr. McEver funded Harvard University’s Business Across Religious Traditions (BART) program, through which he and Ron Thiemann created educational modules on economic ethics across religious traditions. Programs have been offered in major cities in collaboration with local Harvard Business School Clubs. Mr. McEver donated funds to create the Religious Literacy Project, which is housed at Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions. The project is a collaboration with the Harvard Extension School. Mr. McEver founded Berkshire Capital in 1983. As Chairman, Bruce directs the Firm’s international business development as well as the long-term strategy and business development efforts of Berkshire Capital.

Key initiatives:

Bruce created the Foundation for Religious Literacy (TFRL) to promote inter-religious understanding by bringing business leaders and other professionals together with outstanding academics and practitioners. The Foundation cultivates skills for considering values and ethics derived from religious and secular traditions, and acknowledges that a healthy pluralist democracy requires respect for difference. Business Across Religious Traditions (BART) Program: Bruce funded the BART Program through which he and Ron Thiemann (former Dean of Harvard Divinity School) created educational modules on economic ethics in Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Programs have been offered in Boston, London, New York City, and San Francisco, often in collaboration with local Harvard Business School Clubs. Through seminars, lectures, and colloquia, the program has educated emerging and established business leaders. Faith, Ethics, and Leadership Seminars: The educational modules created by the BART Program were complemented through annual CEO Lectures on faith, ethics, and leadership, featuring internationally recognized opinion leaders. Through this seminar-style executive education series, business leaders with demonstrated interest in continuing opportunities for learning come together under the auspices of TFRL to learn about and discuss ways their professional work can draw on resources from religion across traditions. Each seminar hosts a leading academic or practitioner and addresses how the resources of religious traditions can increase professional effectiveness, ethical leadership, and personal conduct. Seminars are organized not by shared religious affiliation but by a common interest in how religion can inform action in the workplace. TFRL has also sponsored a Curatorship of American Religion at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to highlight religious diversity and the importance of religious freedom in America; the Leadership and Multifaith (LAMP) Program, a collaboration between the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Candler School of Theology at Emory University; and the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School.

Biography:

Bruce founded Berkshire Capital in 1983, pioneering the concept of providing independent merger, acquisition, and strategic advisory services for investment managers and securities firms. He directs long-term strategy and business development efforts. Previously, Bruce served as the Assistant to the Chairman of Paine Webber Group Inc. for mergers and acquisitions. He was formerly a Vice President with Blyth Eastman Dillon Inc. and a venture capital analyst at Bessemer Securities, Inc. Bruce earned a BIE from Georgia Institute of Technology, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MTS in Religion and Literature at Harvard Divinity School. He also studied at the Technische Hochschule in Germany. As a Lieutenant, USN, he was on the staff of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Systems Analysis). Bruce is a member of the Dean’s Council at Harvard Divinity School and the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Bruce founded the Business across Religious Traditions (BART) Program between Harvard Business School and Harvard Divinity School and co-founded The Foundation for Religious Literacy. Bruce is a Professor of Practice at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He participates actively in environmental conservation efforts and is a hiker, biker, and author of three books of poetry.

Nominating Organization:
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Michael Feder (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Core business
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
  • – Partnership and collective action
Overview:

Michael Feder is Founder and CEO of PrayerSpark, a company that enables people to draw on the faith of the world’s leading Spiritual Leaders to send free prayers or positive affirmations to anyone, anywhere, of any belief. Every time someone requests a prayer or positive affirmation and include even the smallest donation, they contribute to this mission of peace, grassroots charitable works, and interfaith understanding. PrayerSpark is giving 82% of its revenues back to these Spiritual Leaders for their charitable works, in a drive they call micro-giving at the grassroots level. None of these revenues come from prayer, which is always free. Rather, they come from deals PrayerSpark has made with suppliers of greeting cards, flowers, and other gifts participants might want delivered along with their prayers or affirmations. Michael Feder has an extensive background in business and a highly regarded reputation for the creation of innovative companies.

Key initiatives:

PrayerSpark.com enables people to send spiritual, interfaith prayers, affirmations and blessings to anyone — while directly helping a community in need. A group of committed spiritual leaders say prayer requests on participants’ behalf, and they donate 82% of revenues to support their communities. While requesting a blessing is free, there is a $.99 donation to get an email back, and for other options like greeting cards there is a slightly higher fee. PrayerSpark then donates 82% of their affiliate marketing revenues to support their spiritual leaders’ charitable organizations. Whether persons consider themselves spiritual, religious, unaffiliated or “none of the above,” PrayerSpark enables them to draw on the faith of the world’s leading Spiritual Leaders to send free prayers or positive affirmations to anyone, anywhere, of any belief. Everyone working with this enterprise has been thoroughly vetted: from the committed people in-house here at PrayerSpark, to our invitation-only group of Spiritual Leaders, to our retail partners. Everyone involved in this effort is committed to civil rights — we only work with LGBT-friendly folks — and devoted to freedom of belief. Every time you request a prayer or positive affirmation and include even the smallest donation, you contribute to this mission of peace, grassroots charitable works, and interfaith understanding.

Biography:

Michael Feder holds an extensive background in business and a highly regarded reputation for the creation of innovative companies. Born in New York City, Michael performed his undergraduate work at Clark University where he was a University Scholar. He went to Law School at Tulane University, where he was an International Moot Court Competition Finalist and then finished his education at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School where he was an MBA Fellow and Dietz Scholar. A serious collegiate athlete, Michael completed the 1982 Ironman World Championship. Michael has worked with Isaac Tigrett (founder of Hard Rock Café and House of Blues) on key initiatives, serving as acting COO of Mr. Tigrett’s global Spirit Channel launch and with the development of the licensing strategy for Bozo’s BBQ, Mr. Tigrett’s current franchise restaurant concept. Feder is the founder of PrayerSpark.com, a home for spiritual affirmation whose mission is to provide an alternative spiritual network while giving back to local communities through grassroots charitable donations. He has a long history of charitable engagement, serving on boards and founding boards.

Nominating Organization:
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Frank Fredericks (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Core business
  • – Social Investment and philanthropy
Overview:

Frank Fredericks is founder of Mean Communications, a digital agency helping startups and nonprofits with branding, social media, advertising, and marketing. Frank led Mean Communications in a coordinated social media strategy to spread awareness of the world campaign “Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion.” He is also founder of the social enterprise, World Faith, a global movement of interfaith youth tackling global poverty and deincentivizing violence. They do this by: (a) Countering narratives of Otherism by encouraging humanization through volunteering together; and (b) Addressing the underlying economic issues that make violence possible.

Key initiatives:

Frank Fredericks led Mean Communications in a coordinated social media strategy to spread awareness of the world campaign “Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion” aimed at engaging people around the world to Do One Thing to support Cultural Diversity and Inclusion, posting to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), in partnership with UNESCO and various other partners from corporations to civil society, launched the campaign. Frank also leads World Faith in pursuing its primary goal to deincentivize violence. They do this by: (a) Countering narratives of Otherism by encouraging humanization through volunteering together; and (b) Addressing the underlying economic issues that make violence possible. By mobilizing religiously diverse youth to design and implement development projects, World Faith counters each driver of violence. They break down the narrative of conflict by creating opportunities for young people to recognize the humanity of their fellow youth while volunteering together. More than traditional dialogue between people of different faiths, humanization is needed. World Faith’s second goal is to mobilize religious youth to end global poverty by 2030. By emphasizing a more comprehensive approach to community development, World Faith is able to maximize their impact. Last year, World Faith mobilized 3,000 volunteers in over 50,000 hours of service, directly impacting the lives of 100,000 people.

Biography:

Frank Fredericks is the founder of World Faith, a global movement of interfaith youth tackling global poverty, and Mean Communications, a digital agency helping startups and nonprofits with branding, social media, advertising, and marketing. After graduating from NYU, Frank worked in the music industry, managing artists such as Lady Gaga. In 2008, he founded World Faith, which has expanded to 14 countries and mobilized 5,000 volunteers in over 200,000 hours of service. As an active blogger, Frank has contributed to the Huffington Post, Washington Post, and Sojourners. Frank has been interviewed on Good Morning America, NPR, and New York Magazine. He is a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, and is an alumnus of the IFYC Fellowship, Soliya Fellowship, AMENDS at Stanford, Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship, and YouthActionNet Fellowship. Frank is one of two Global Shapers Community Scholarship awardees, attending Oxford Said Business School for an MBA focused on Social Entrepreneurship. Frank resides in Astoria, Queens, in New York City with his wife, fervently reading, cooking, and playing guitar.

Nominating Organization:
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Jonathan Shen Jian (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Core business
Overview:

Shen Jian’s film work brings cultural diversity and to some extent interfaith understanding to China’s media market of one billion people. An original film project of note is the story of an Iranian Kung Fu fan, who underwent much hardship to become a Kung Fu master and then embarked upon a pilgrimage to the Shaolin Temple, the Mecca of Kung Fu in central China’s Henan province. Mr. SHEN Jian is the founder and the CEO of China’s Shinework Media &  Shinework Pictures.

Key initiatives:

Produced by Mr. SHEN Jian and aired on China Movie Channel, which covers 1 billion people of China, the TV series World Film Report has interviewed 5,000 film professionals and explored 1,500 film locations over 80 counties in the past 15 years. Through on-site shooting and live coverage, the program reports the latest developments of the global film industry, interviews film celebrities, explores movie shooting sites all over the world and presents diverse cultures through world cinema. Since its debut, it has become a platform and a window for global industry professionals and billions of Chinese grass-root audience to realize the world film panorama and enjoy the greatness of culture diversity. Recently, Iranian pilgrim learning Chinese and Iranian film makers reached an agreement Monday to co-produce a martial arts (Kung Fu) film. Representatives of Iran’s leading film maker Farabi Cinema Foundation (FCF) and China’s Shinework Media signed the deal at the 33rd Fajr International Film Festival. The film, tentatively named the Way to Shaolin, will be the first film to be co-produced by Chinese and Iranian film makers, according to Shen Jian, movie producer and chairman of Shinework Media. It will be filmed in both Iran and China with actors and crew from both countries. “This is a legitimate, genuine and concrete cooperation, with joint efforts in directing and writing, about a very interesting story,” said Hojjatollah Ayyoubi, head of Iran’s Cinema Organization. The film is to help promote cultural exchange between the two countries while tapping into Chinese and Iranian markets, perhaps even the world market, said Amir Esfandiari, director of international affairs at FCF. The Way to Shaolin recounts the story of an Iranian Kung Fu fan, who underwent much hardship to become a Kung Fu master and then embarked upon a pilgrimage to the Shaolin Temple, the Mecca of Kung Fu in central China’s Henan province.

Biography:

Mr. SHEN Jian is the founder and the CEO of Shinework Media &  Shinework Pictures, both leading Chinese production companies dedicated to cross-cultural communication in the domain of film, TV and media entertainment business. He is also the producer of the TV series World Film Report, aired on China Movie Channel (CCTV-6) in the past 15 years. Since 2015, Mr. Shen launched fruitful international film co-productions with India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, US and Canada etc to facilitate the development and the prosperity between China and rest of the world. On Dec 2015, Mr. SHEN became the first Chinese producer to be admitted into l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by French government. Also, he has been selected as TOP 100 producers of China by the Chinese government. He is currently a member of the Chinese Film Association and Secretary General of its Chinese Young Filmmakers’ Commission.

Nominating Organization:
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 Jideofor OKWUDILI UMEH (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Partnership and collective action
Overview:

Jideofor UMEH and his company IMO Bamboo Company has initiated a sustainable development programme in housing/shelter for youth and women in Nigeria. The communities involved will be able to start building on their own capacity for community peace and interfaith understanding. He is CEO of the new IMO BAMBOO COMPANY.

Key initiatives:

Jideofor UMEH and his company IMO Bamboo Company has initiated a sustainable development programme in housing/shelter for youth and women termed YOUTH ABUNDENT HOUSING (YAH) PROJECT in owerri, Imo state, Nigeria since 2014. The project is designed to use the regenerative power of bamboo plants and poles every six months to create housing for youth and women numbering up to one hundred (100) beneficiaries within the community where the bamboo plantation is been grown. The Bamboo Housing policy is ongoing and it is self sustaining. At the completion of 100 bamboo houses of the YAH project, the communities involved will be able to start building on their own capacity for community peace and interfaith understanding.

Biography:

Jideofor UMEH was born in Offenbach am Main, Germany in 1980. He lived in Germany for 5 years and went to Nigeria with his parent in 1985. He studied at Unity primary school owerri, bagged his first school leaving certificate in 1991 and by 1998 had his senior secondary school certificate exam result with flying colors at the Government secondary school owerri. He developed an interest in agriculture and was trained by Directorate of Employment, Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture in January 2010. He got trained in Digital Film Making by New York Film Academy in March 2010 at Abuja, Nigeria. He also trained and worked as Able seaman with efficient deck hand certification in 2013 and Inland watercraft and ratings competency in 2014. His love for youth and women empowerment inspired him to operate an agro construction company by name IMO BAMBOO COMPANY since Dec 16, 2014 to provide bamboo housing/shelter to the vulnerable in his community. He is generous, can multi task to make sure a project is completed on stated date of completion. He is a man of vision, a nation builder, a youth leader and supports sustainable development in most of his activities.

Nominating Organization:
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Cornelis Hulsman (nomination form)

Cornelis Hulsman

Categories:
  • – Core business
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
  • – Advocacy and public policy engagement
  • – Partnership and collective action
Overview:

Cornelis Hulsman (1955) founded Arab-West Report (Egypt, 1997), the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation (Egypt, 2005), the Stichting Arab-West Foundation (The Netherlands, 2005) and the Center for Arab-West Understanding (Egypt, 2005). He seeks to engage Egyptians and non-Egyptians in mutual understanding through truth-finding and acceptance of internationally proclaimed human and labor rights.

Key initiatives:

Hulsman first came to Egypt in 1976, and saw the poverty of both Muslims and Christians and the need for dialogue to oppose sectarian strife and the need to develop programs to fight poverty together. For this reason he studied development sociology (1977-1984) with a focus on both development and Muslim-Christian relations. He sacrificed his position as director of the Stichting Dienstverlening Emigratie Nederland (Netherlands Emigration Service) in 1994 in order to champion interfaith understanding and peace in Egypt. Hulsman documented in 1995-1996 why a number of Egyptians converted from one religion to the other, which showed him the limits of media reporting that very often lack depth and can be very partisan. That motivated him to build, since 1997, Arab-West Report, both an online publication and database with today 40.000 articles and reports with a focus on pluralism in convictions. Arab-West Report shows how people of different convictions in Egypt live together, including Muslims and Christians and Islamists and non-Islamists, and where tensions occur as well as investigating the reasons for such tensions: patterns in tensions are mapped. Arab-West Report forms the core of dialogue meetings around these data, the basis of (academic) publications (influencing a substantial number of PhD and MA studies) and the training of over 180 student interns. Hulsman maintains good relations with Egyptian religious leaders (Muslim and Christian), scholars and the government which has resulted in a good working relationship with Egyptian officials in hosting both Egyptian and non-Egyptian interns. He has also been able to build good relations with Islamist leaders during 2011-2013 and is advocating non-violent solutions for the standoff between Islamists and non-Islamists.

Biography:

Cornelis Hulsman (1955) founded Arab-West Report (Egypt, 1997), the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Translation (Egypt, 2005), the Stichting Arab-West Foundation (The Netherlands, 2005) and the Center for Arab-West Understanding (Egypt, 2005) through engaging a large number of Egyptians and non-Egyptians in mutual understanding through truth finding, also highly sensitive subjects, and acceptance of internationally proclaimed human and labor rights.  Corruption is fought through the promotion of full transparency of governments and the private sector. He built a large electronic library on contemporary Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt and served over 180 student interns since 2006. Hulsman studied development sociology at Leiden University, obtained leading positions in the Dutch emigration service and in 1994  fully dedicated himself to intercultural dialogue. In 2006 former Dutch PM Andreas van Agt visited Egypt in support of his work. In 2008 HRH Prince Hassan organized a one day event honoring his work. In 2011 Hulsman spoke in the European Parliament about Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt. In January 2016 the Dutch Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences accepted all his work in the DANS database. Hulsman is widely respected by scholars, religious leaders and government officials in Egypt.

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Mehool H Sanighrajka (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
Overview:

Mehool H Sanighrajka’s work has made available access to original Jain material to increase knowledge and inter-faith understanding of this ancient religion.

Key initiatives:

Mehool conceived the ‘JAINpedia project’ in his role as the Director of the Institute of Jainology (IoJ). Although Jainism had become recognized as a major religion in the UK, there was little authentic material widely available in contemporary English. The project’s aim was to bring access to original Jain material to increase knowledge and inter-faith understanding. Using the people, experience and skills within his e-learning Company, Mehool devised a 12-year program to create the most authoritative online Jain encyclopedia using the collections of the major Institutions in the UK.  This included the British Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Boliden Library, Oxford and the Wellcome Trust Library. The IoJ had previously catalogued the Jain collections at the British Library. Although this brought awareness, it didn’t bring access to the material. Mehool worked with the Institutions and received permission to digitize their collections and create JAINpedia – a rich online resource has been created with over 5,000 folios from the Jain collections. The digitized images were then given context with commentaries from contemporary scholars, in audio and video material and in translations of the original texts. The JAINpedia site also has material suitable for primary schools. His Royal Highness Prince Charles launched the project at the V&A Museum. Following this, JAINpedia was launched in the Institutions, giving them a chance to showcase their collections; in schools to encourage them to teach Jainism; and in Jain temples in the UK to encourage the local communities to visit them. In the three years that the site has been online, over 3 million pages have been viewed in almost all major countries of the world.

Biography:

Mehool is the founder and Chief Executive of the Learning Possibilities Group; a global leader in building and implementing e-learning solutions for schools and colleges around the world. The Company has a Global Alliance with Microsoft to sell its solutions. The e-learning solution is used by over 1m users in the UK alone, In 2014 and 2015 Learning Possibilities won the major national Education Investor Award for Technological Infrastructure. It also has a national contract with the Welsh Government until 2018. Mehool is a serial entrepreneur in the fields of education and technology. He has founded many businesses over a 20 year career, in the UK and overseas. His last two businesses were acquired by major UK public companies, where he went on to run major divisions. Mehool was recently voted in the Top 100 Asian Stars in UK Technology. Mehool works with a number of charities. He was previously Chairman of ‘Young Jains’ and since 2003 has been a Trustee and  Director of the Institute of Jainology, a global Jain organisation and umbrella organisation of all Jains in the UK. As executive director of the ground-breaking JAINpedia.org project, he was key in the development of an online Jain Encyclopaedia.

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Tunc Ozcan (nomination form)

Categories:
  • – Core business
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
  • – Advocacy and public policy engagement
  • – Partnership and collective action
Overview:

Mr. Tunc Ozcan set up Polaris Parks todevelop an attitude towards people of “ethical – environmental friendly – non-discrimination” to be able to live positively and communicate ethically as well to be more productive.

Key initiatives:

Mr. Tunc Ozcan, chairman of “Polaris parks,” decided to launch the Social Responsibility (SR) arm of his company to advance the company’s overall efforts. Work Environment Foundation (WEF) SR arm, “Polaris,” first was established to serve stakeholders of Polaris. He created Polaris as the first environmental industrial park in Egypt and the MENA region with the aim to provide a healthier environment for his partners. Keeping the Polaris environment unique is dependent on not only environmental services provided technically but also about who will operate the initiative – the people.  His initiative was to develop an attitude towards people of “ethical – environmental friendly – non-discrimination” to be able to live positively and communicate ethically as well to be more productive.

Biography:

Mr. TUNÇ ÖZKAN is a Turkish businessman, born on 1966. Mr.Ozkan has BSc in Mechanical Engineering and MBA from Bogazici University, Istanbul. Having a vast experience cultivated over years in different fields off trade and textiles he has witnessed the challenges companies are exposed to in order to sustain and grow their business. Therefore he has embarked on a quest to create a model industrial park in Egypt that can assist manufacturers to compete in global markets while improving the society and environment around them.

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Jonathan Berezovsky (nomination form)

 

 

Categories:
  • – Core Business
  • – Social Investment and Philanthropy
  • – Partnership and collective action
Overview:

Migraflix has two goals: to empower immigrants and refugees economically and to integrate them into society by demonstrating on its workshops and events that new cultures can enrich the local one. Migraflix spreads a message of tolerance towards the immigrant, regardless of his or her nationality or religion. Mazeej wants to show the world that jews, muslims and Christians who have lived in the middle east and have experienced the hatred between these religions can get together at a neutral place and understand each other through music, even when languages are an obstacle for communication. Both initiatives want to address the bigotry that exists towards immigrants and the hatred that tends to rule the relationships between jews and muslim or christian arabs.

Key initiatives:

Migraflix is a social business that empowers immigrants and refugees who live in Brazil both economically and socially, developing a sense of self autonomy and self-confidence. Moreover, the project integrates them into the local society by promoting their cultures. In Migraflix, immigrants have a chance to teach their culture to Brazilians through workshops about food, music, graphic arts and fashion. In each one of the Migraflix workshops given by immigrants, from countries such as Syria, Morocco, Togo and Colombia, a bridge is built through a friendly dialogue established between Brazilians and foreign cultures and religions. The Migraflix team is represented by people from various nationalities who work together in harmony and with one goal in mind: to build bridges through cultural experiences. Migraflix also hosts inter-religious events at religious spots such as synagogues, churches and muslim centers. The last inter-religious event took place at a jewish synagogue in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In this event, two muslim syrian refugees told their stories to the public (mostly jews) and then offered a syrian dinner at the event. Moreover, there was a presentation of the Mazeej music band, which Jonathan Berezovsky created together with muslims from Syria and Palestinian territories, a christian from Lebanon and jews from Brazil. Mazeej is proving to the world that jews, muslims and christians can get together through culture, leaving aside our political differences. Migraflix and Mazeej have been featured in national and international press numerous times, spreading the message that people of different nationalities and religions can learn from each other through cultural encounters. In addition to the press, Migraflix has a partnership with Tedx Sao Paulo, in which it trains immigrants to present their stories at Ted and convey a message of tolerance.

Biography:

Jonathan Berezovsky is an Argentinean citizen, of jewish origin, who is currently based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Jonathan has founded Migraflix (a social project which empowers immigrants socially and economically), Mazeej (a music band of muslim and christian arabs who play together with brazilian jews) and Townflix (a video platform that promotes small businesses).

Prior to living in Brazil, Jonathan lived in Israel (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv) where he worked in business development at a startup incubator. On top of this, Jonathan was involved in social work as he took part in Microfy, an Israeli NGO which provides microloans and training to refugees living in the country. Most of the refugees receiving the loans were christians and muslims from Sudan and Eritrea who were trying to start a new life in Tel Aviv.

Jonathan holds a Bsc degree in business and economics from Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (Buenos Aires, Argentina).

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