Sep 22, 2009
The Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith organization, and its president and founder Rabbi Arthur Schneier today honored Bernard J. Arnault, Chairman & CEO, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, with the Appeal of Conscience Award for his leadership to advance international cooperation, the environment, and the arts. Muhtar Kent, Chairman & CEO, The Coca-Cola Company received the Appeal of Conscience Award for his contribution in the fields of education and the environment and The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown MP, Prime Minister of Great Britain was presented with the Foundation’s World Statesman Award.
Former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger addressed the International gathering that brings together leaders of business, public and religious life, members of the diplomatic corps, and prominent religious leaders of the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox communities.
“Each of these deserving honorees have dedicated themselves to removing barriers that have plagued our society, by finding avenues for people of different cultures, nationalities and religions to embrace their common values,” said Rabbi Arthur Schneier, the President and Founder of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation. “We are all fortunate when leaders of influence help us perfect an imperfect world."
Upon receiving the Appeal of Conscience Award, Bernard J. Arnault stated that, “The world can only thrive if it is sustained by the spirit of progress and the thirst for peace. A universe will not be able to survive without the spread of liberty, the willingness to talk and the spirit of tolerance. What should bring men together is far stronger than the perception they may have, which is an illusion that separates them.”
“We are proud to receive this recognition from Appeal of Conscience Foundation because of their noble and crucial mission of promoting peace, tolerance and ethnic conflict resolution,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer, The Coca-Cola Company. “We believe in creating a better world through cross-cultural understanding. ACF’s support and passion for peace and tolerance inspires us and sends a powerful message in this time of such great need.”
The invocation was delivered by Archbishop Demetrios, Primate The Greek Orthodox Church of America and the benediction was offered by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington.
They were joined on the dais by world, religious, civic, entertainment and business leaders including; Gordon Bajnai, Prime Minister of Hungary, Rev. Joseph A. O’Hare, SJ President Emeritus Fordham University, Bishop Robert A. Rimbo, Metropolitan New York Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Monsignor Robert Sheeran, President, Seton Hall University, The Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of New York, Fashion Designer Donna Karan, John C. Whitehead, Chairman, Lower Manhattan Development Corp., James D. Wolfensohn, Chairman and CEO, Wolfensohn & Company, New York City Police Commissioner, Raymond Kelly, and Bono, the lead singer for the rock band “U2".
The Honorary Chairman of the Dinner was United States President Barack H. Obama. The Awards Dinner chairmen included Steven T. Mnuchin and Wilbur L. Ross Jr. General chairmen included K. Rupert Murdoch, Hon. Peter G. Peterson and Hon. John C. Whitehead.
Co-Chairs included Daniel Abraham, Peter Barack, Len Blavatnik, John A. Catsimatidis, Henri de Castries, Christopher de Margerie, Paul J. Fribourg, Dr. Klaus C. Kleinfeld, Hon. Earle I. Mack, Howard J. Rubenstein, Christopher Ruddy, Stephen A. Schwarzman, Daniel L. Vasella, Hon. James D. Wolfenson and Tran Sri Francis Yeoh.
Honorary Co-Chairs included former President William Jefferson Clinton and former Secretaries of State Hon. Madeleine Albright, Hon. James A. Baker III, Hon. Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Gen. Alexander M. Haig Jr., Hon. Henry A. Kissinger, Gen. Colin L. Powell, Hon. Condoleezza Rice, and Hon. George P. Shultz. Other co-chairs included Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg and Sen. Charles E. Schumer.
Among the elected officials in attendance were New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York State Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli.
Past recipients of the World Statesman Award include President Nicolas Sarkozy (2008), Chancellor Angela Merkel (2007) and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2006). Other recipients include former Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, Romano Prodi, John Howard and King Juan Carlos I. The ACF has also recognized leading international business leaders including Bill Marriot, Jorma Ollila, Dr. Josef Ackermann, Dr. Daniel Vasella, Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Immelt and Hon. Peter Peterson.