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Testimonials

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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith organization, which has brought together corporate and religious leaders for more than half a century who are dedicated to religious freedom, human rights and tolerance, and its president and founder Rabbi Arthur Schneier presented the 2017 Appeal of Conscience Awards to three prominent global corporate leaders from the United States, Europe and Asia at the 52nd Annual Appeal of Conscience Awards at the New York Hilton on Monday evening, September 18th. The honorees were: Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO, Bank of America, Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever and Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO, SoftBank Group.

“Governments across the globe need the cooperation and guidance of corporate visionary leaders and courageous religious leaders who are committed to a civic and moral partnership in facing the challenges of a turbulent, volatile world in transition,” said Rabbi Arthur Schneier. “It is essential that corporate leaders follow the example of our three honorees in their efforts to better our world.”

Rabbi Arthur Schneier was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton, for “his service as an international envoy for four administrations” and as a Holocaust survivor for “devoting a lifetime to overcoming forces of hatred and intolerance.” In 2015 Pope Francis bestowed upon him the Knighthood of St. Sylvester. Rabbi Schneier is the recipient of the Legion d’honneur and other high awards from many nations.

In a written correspondence, President Donald Trump said, “Since 1965, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation has advanced the moral cause of religious liberty and mutual understanding among the great faiths and in nations across our world. And to this day, guided by the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, and

"Appeal of Conscience Foundation is pleased to recognize Brian T. Moynihan, a man of faith and a corporate leader with a sense of social responsibility, who, by deed and action, has advanced human dignity by encouraging a standard in global diversity and inclusion,” said Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO, Kraft Group, Principal Owner of the New England Patriots and a Presiding Chairman of the Awards Dinner.

Robert Kraft has donated over $100 million to a variety of philanthropic causes including education, healthcare, youth sports and both American and Israeli causes. One of Mr. Kraft’s most distinctive projects is supporting American Football Israel, including Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem and the Kraft Family Football League. In 2017, Kraft announced a contribution of $6 million to build the first ever regulation size American football field in Israel. In June 2017, Mr. Kraft, along with several NFL Hall of Famers traveled to Israel for the grand opening of the new Kraft Family Sports Campus.

"I’m pleased to accept this award on behalf of my Bank of America teammates. All of us at tonight’s dinner recognize the work of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and Rabbi Arthur Schneier’s principle that tolerance is how society keeps its balance,” said Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO, Bank of America. “My teammates and I work each day to provide great service to our clients, good returns for our shareholders, and responsible, sustainable growth for the communities we serve. We also know that having courageous conversations around difficult issues fosters tolerance and enables us to live our purpose.”

Mr. Moynihan guides a team of over 200,000 employees and has led each of the major customer and client businesses: consumer and small business banking, wealth management, and corporate and investment banking. In addition to his responsibilities at Bank of America, Mr. Moynihan participates in the World Economic Forum International Business Council, the Business Roundtable, the Bi-Partisan Policy Center CEO Council on Health and Innovation, the Financial Services Forum, and the Financial Services Roundtable, the last two of which he chairs.

"Appeal of Conscience Foundation is proud to honor Paul Polman whose vision has established an unprecedented standard in which the global business community accepts responsibility and commitment to use its resources and vast reach to create a positive impact worldwide," said Jerry Speyer, Chairman, Tishman Speyer and a Presiding Chairman of the Awards Dinner.

“It’s clear to me that business has a part to play in regaining our common purpose. In fact, I don’t believe we can fix our broken society or our degraded environment without business. I’m encouraged because many businesses are stepping up. It is significant tonight, for example, that you have chosen to recognize three business leaders,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. “A growing number of leaders are speaking out on everything from LGBT rights to climate change to civic protection; there is a rising tide of business leaders who see their role as putting their companies to the service of society, and not the other way around. But we need more and the task is urgent.”

In recognition of his contribution to responsible business, Mr. Polman has received numerous awards and accolades including WWF’s Duke of Edinburgh Gold Conservation Medal (2013), the Centre for Global Development’s Commitment to Development Ideas in Action Award (2013), the Rainforest Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award (2014), the UN Foundation’s Champion for Global Change Award (2014), the Oslo Business for Peace Award (2015) and the UN Environment Programme’s Champion of the Earth Award (2015).

"Appeal of Conscience Foundation proudly recognizes Masayoshi Son for channeling his successes into improving the lives of men and women across the globe,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman and CEO of Blackstone, and a Presiding Chairman of the Awards Dinner. “A visionary business leader, he has used information technology to build bridges for peaceful coexistence among nations and used philanthropy to alleviate suffering and to better the future of humanity."

“I am very honored and flattered to receive this Award,” said Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group Corp. “I founded SoftBank in 1981 to use power of the Information Revolution to make people happy, but there is much more we need to do,” he added. “We recently created the SoftBank Vision Fund to accelerate the growth of entrepreneurs across the technology industry, and we believe they will address some of the biggest challenges facing humanity. My hope is that we can really deliver something meaningful to humanity over the long, long-term.”

With the 2014 unveiling of ‘Pepper’, the world’s first personal robot that reads emotions, Mr. Son led SoftBank’s focus into smart robotics, AI and IoT. Mr. Son has also overseen investment in fast-growing Asian Internet companies like the transportation major Ola in India and the ride-share leader Didi Chuxing in China, among others.

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund stated, "Making growth more inclusive and sustainable requires smart leadership, courage, and—above all—cooperation. I am optimistic that with organizations that seek to heal divisions and encourage dialogue, such as the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, and strong leaders such as those being honored tonight, we can make the world a more peaceful and prosperous place and advance on Sustainable Development Goals.”

Leaders of the Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist religions were in attendance and greetings were extended on behalf of Pope Francis, by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, “Rabbi Arthur Schneier, yours has been a life dedicated to witnessing and teaching religious freedom, mutual respect and acceptance, and peaceful co-existence… in the firm belief that freedom, democracy and human rights are what will give the countries and nations of the world their best hope for peace and security, the full enjoyment of fundamental human rights, and shared prosperity. Pope Francis fully shares your conviction that a crime committed in the name of religion is the greatest crime against religion itself.”

The Honorary Co-Chairs of the Awards Dinner were Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, John D. Negroponte, Peter G. Peterson and Paul A. Volcker.

Those serving as Dinner Co-Chairs included Len Blavatnik, Founder and Chairman Access Industries; John A. Catsimatidis, Chairman, President and CEO, The Red Apple Group; Michael L. Corbat, CEO, Citigroup; Paul J. Fribourg, Chairman and CEO, Continental Grain Company; Alex Gorsky, Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson; Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board of Directors, The Coca-Cola Company; Ronald S. Lauder, President, The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation; Maurice Lévy, President of the Supervisory Board, Publicis Groupe; Andrew N. Liveris, Executive Chairman, DowDuPont; Hon. Earle I. Mack, Senior Partner, The Mack Company; K. Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman, News Corp.; Anthony J. Pratt, Global Chairman, Pratt Industries; Rev. Dr. Fred R. Anderson, Pastor Emeritus, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church; Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations; Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America; Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America and Primate, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America; The Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn; Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York; Imam Mohamed Magid, Executive Imam, All Dulles Area Muslim Society; Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington; Rev. Joseph O’Hare, S.J., President Emeritus, Fordham University; and Rev. Dr. Robert A. Rimbo, Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The invocation was delivered by H.E. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington DC, and Vice President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and the benediction by Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of Greek Orthodox Church.

The international event brought together over 700 prominent leaders of business, religious and public life, foreign statesmen and the diplomatic corps in support of over half a century of the global interfaith Appeal of Conscience Foundation activities on behalf of religious freedom, human rights and tolerance and peaceful coexistence for over half a century.