People everywhere want security, stability and a chance for a better life. In the long term, that’s what business aims to provide, even when people differ. There’s a way:
It’s not impossible.
In his book a few years ago, Vali Nasr, now Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, wrote:
” There is a vital but unseen rising force in the Islamic world — a new business-minded middle class — that is building a vibrant new Muslim economy … their distinct blending of Islam and capitalism is the key to bringing lasting reform and defeating fundamentalism … They are the people the West can and must do business with”
Seeds are being planted. On September 29th, the first Business For Peace Annual Event will convene in Istanbul. Overriding intent: “move the private sector’s contribution to peace towards transformational impact.” How? ” by “inspiring greater action by companies, civil society organizations, UN representatives, Global Compact Local Networks and other stakeholders.”
The Global Compact has energized seventeen of its regional networks around the world to undertake this mission. In Istanbul, reports and projections will be presented by representatives of countries — among others — reflecting Dr. Nasr’s observation: Pakistan, Indonesia, Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt and Turkey.
Another supportive venue for projected long term progress in business peace-building and conflict resolution is being carried out by The Cordoba Initiative. This organization is led by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, internationally-renowned author and advocate for improved relations between the Muslim world and the West. He was recently seen on CNN rebranding ISIS as Terrorist Assassins of Syria and Iraq (TASI).
Among its many initiatives promoting inter-group understanding and cooperation, Cordoba is promoting inter-cultural/inter-religious dialogue for employees of progressive companies. Companies are finding special value in such outreach programs in supply chains that span multiple cultures.
Disturbing as all the current reports (and, let’s be honest, such future reports) of conflict, carnage, and desolation can be, there is another, far more positive story unfolding in international relations. It should be told frequently. Business In Society has undertaken that mission.