Interfaith pioneer acclaimed the acceptable face of capitalism

By Ecumenical News International
November 26, 2008

Sir Sigmund Sternberg, a co-founder of the Three Faiths Forum, which promotes understanding between Christians, Jews and Muslims, has been presented with a Responsible Capitalism Lifetime Achievement Award.

"I am very conscious of the immense honour you do me with the Lifetime Achievement Award which is based on the belief that responsible capitalism has a moral as well as an economic quality," Sternberg said after the 19 November 2008 presentation of the award by British foreign secretary, David Miliband

The Awards for Responsible Capitalism were initiated by First, which describes itself as a publication for the world's leadership community. They are intended to honour business leaders who have excelled by achieving both commercial success and demonstrating social responsibility.

Sternberg was cited for exemplifying "the qualities of social responsibility and dedicated service, working tirelessly to establish inter-faith and inter-communal co-operation through both the Sternberg Foundation and the Three Faiths Forum".

The forum was founded in 1997 by Sternberg, together with the Rev. Marcus Braybrooke, an Anglican priest, and Sheikh Zaki Badawi. Its objective is to build lasting relationships between people of different faiths and beliefs.

Also honoured at the award ceremony in London was Mo Ibrahim, founder of Celtel Corporation, whose Mo Ibrahim Foundation promotes good governance in Africa. Lord (Ralf) Dahrendorf, a German-born sociologist, philosopher, political scientist and politician received a special award.

Presenting the awards, Miliband said, "It is an important time to be recognising the importance of responsible behaviour by business. As the global economy faces serious challenges, it has become increasingly clear that success depends on more than short-term profit."

Sternberg is Jewish and was born in Budapest in 1921. He emigrated to Britain in 1939, escaping the threat from the Nazis. After the Second World War, he established a metal business. His later business interests included computer software and property development.

He is a former chairperson of the executive committee of the International Council of Christians and Jews.

[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Conference of European Churches.]

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