Mr. Sanjiv Sarin
Managing Director and CEO at Tata Coffee Ltd, India
Mr. Sanjiv Sarin is the Managing Director and CEO at Tata Coffee Ltd. He was earlier Regional President – South Asia and Asia Pacific with Tata Global Beverages Ltd and Country Director for leading multinationals like Cadbury in India, Egypt, EMEA and the Philippines. He is a member of the Executive Office at Tata Global Beverages and Chairman of the Tata Network Forum for south India. He has been a teacher with the Art of Living Foundation for 15 years and is member of the India Committee for the World Forum for Ethics in Business. He holds a Management degree from the Asian Institute of Management, Manila, and a Masters Degree in Economics from Bombay University
Mr. Aroon Purie
Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the India Today Group, India
Mr. Aroon Purie is an Indian businessman who is the founder-publisher and editor-in-chief of India Today and the chief executive of the India Today Group. He is the managing director of Thomson Press (India) Limited and the chairman and managing director of TV Today. He is also the editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest India.
H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan
Minister, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of The Higher Colleges of Technology, United Arab Emirates
His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan is the United Arab Emirates Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research. He is also Chancellor of two of the UAE’s three government-sponsored institutions of higher learning: United Arab Emirates University, established in 1976, and the Higher Colleges of Technology, established in 1988. He is the president of the third, Zayed University, established in 1998. He is a recipient of Pakistan’s highest civilian award, the ‘Hilal-e-Pakistan’, which was conferred upon him by the President of Pakistan in 2005.
Hon. Mr. Arvind Kejriwal
Chief Minister of Delhi, India
Hon. Mr. Arvind Kejriwal is the Chief Minister of Delhi and the National Convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). In 2006, Kejriwal was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership recognising his involvement in the grassroots movement Parivartan using right-to-information legislation in a campaign against corruption. In 2012, he launched the Aam Aadmi Party, and the party won in the 2013 Delhi Legislative Assembly election.
Hon. Mr. Hernan Penagos Giraldo
Member of Colombian Parliament, Colombia
Hernan Penagos Giraldo is a Lawyer specialized in administrative law and public services. He teaches both subjects in universities in Colombia. He is the former president of the assembly of the State of Caldas, as well as Former President of the House of Representatives of Colombian Congress. His is currently a member of the First Comision, as well as President of the Peace Comision of Colombian Congress, and a member of the National Council for Peace.
Hon. Mr. Abhimanya Singh Sindhu
Minister of Finance, Government of Haryana, India
Mr. Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad
U.S. Counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, USA
Mr. Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad is a U.S. counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and president of Khalilzad Associates, an international business consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. He was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush. He has been involved with U.S. policy makers at the White House, State Department and Pentagon since the mid-1980s, and was the highest-ranking Muslim American in the Administration of U.S. President George W. Bush. Khalilzad’s previous assignments in the Administration include U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq.
Hon. Ms. Sherry Rehman
Member of Senate and Vice President of People’s Party, Pakistan
Senator Sherry Rehman is the Vice President of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian and founding Chair of the Jinnah Institute. She has served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pakistan and ranking member of the National Security Committee in the Parliament. For her services to Pakistan, she has been awarded the state’s highest civil award, the Nishan-i-Imtiaz in March 2013.Ms. Rehman is also an award-winning journalist from Pakistan with 20 years of experience in both the broadcast and the print media.
H.E. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani
Former Prime Minister, Pakistan
Hon. Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani served as the 16th Prime minister of Pakistan and currently is the vice-chairman of the central executive committee of the Pakistan Peoples Party. He previously held the portfolio of the Ministry of Tourism and has been a senior member of parliament for the Multan District. He was also the Speaker of the National Assembly. Gillani attended Government College University and obtained his B.A. in Journalism followed by a MA in Political journalism from the University of the Punjab.
Hon. Ms. Kate Osamor
Member of Parliament, United Kingdom
Kate Osamor MP, is a community activist and mother of one. Kate successfully obtained a BA (Hons) degree from the University of East London in Third World Studies. She started her 15 years service to the NHS by working at an Out Of Hours Co-Op before moving on to becoming a GP practice manager. In 2014 Kate was elected onto the Labour NEC to represent constituency members. Early 2015, Kate was selected as the Parliamentary Labour candidate for Edmonton. Kate went on to become the new MP for Edmonton, following the election campaign.
Hon. Mr. R.V. Deshapande
Minister for Higher Education and Tourism, Government of Karnataka, India
Hon. Mr. R. V. Deshapande is the Minister for Higher Education and Tourism, Government of Karnataka. He has earlier served as the Minister of State for Small Scale Industries, Agriculture Housing and Urban Development, Large and Medium Industries and Infrastructure Development and Co-operation. He was also the Leader of the Opposition of Karnataka State Legislative Assembly and the President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. He has won the Assembly elections 7 times from Haliyal Constituency in Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka. Mr. Deshpande was also the President of the Karnataka State Co-operative Agriculture & Rural Development Bank and Chairman of KSSIDC.
Mr. Kishore Biyani
Chairman, Group CEO, Future Group, India
Mr. Kishore Biyani is the Founder, Chairman and Group CEO, Future Group, India. He launched the first branded ready-made trouser, called Pantaloon, marketed through The Pantaloon Shoppe. In 2001, Biyani evolved a pan-Indian, class-less model — Big Bazaar, a hypermarket chain, leading to the democratisation of shopping in India. With Food Bazaar, a supermarket chain, he blended the look, touch and feel of Indian bazaars with western hygiene. He is the co-author of the book “It happened in India: The Story of Pantaloons, Big Bazaar, Central and The Great Indian Consumer“
Ms. Rupa Vora
Former Group Director and CFO - IDFC Alternatives, India
Ms. Vora is a Chartered Accountant with over 3 decades of experience in Finance. She was Group Director and CFO – IDFC Alternatives and CFO of the Indian operations of Antwerp Diamond Bank N.V. and KBC Bank N.V. besides working with Calyon Bank, Oman International Bank S.A.O.G and as an independent Chartered Accountant. She has been a member of the National Accounting Standards Committee of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Committee for Members in Industry of the Western India Regional Council (WIRC) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and various other eminent committees and serves as an independent director on corporate boards. She has been conferred with the “Women Leadership Excellence Award” by the Institute of Public Enterprise.
Dr. Ajay Tejasvi Narasimhan
Senior Leadership Expert and Program Manager, The World Bank, USA
An artificial intelligence engineer, international politics and leadership expert by education, Ajay currently leads a global team of economists and change management specialists for Collaborative Leadership for Development at the World Bank focused on supporting reforms for good governance. Ajay is passionate about education, youth and women empowerment, and creating resilient communities. He volunteers with the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association for Human Values where he plays a strategic role in envisioning and executing service projects. His greatest source of inspiration is his uncle, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the world-renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader.
Mr. Nikhil Sen
Managing Director of Unibic Biscuits, India and Chairman of Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir Trust, India
Mr. Nikhil Sen is the Managing Director of Unibic Biscuits, India Pvt Ltd. He joined Britannia in 1980 as a management trainee and rose to lead the company as Chief Operating Officer from 2003 to 2005. Mr. Sen led the company with a sales turnover of INR 15 billion and profits of 2 billion. After leaving Britannia, he set up UNIBIC in India in 2005 and has steered it to the fastest growing company in the Biscuits category today. He has been closely associated with the Art of Living organisation and currently oversees the education vertical of the organisation as the Chairman of Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir Trust.
Mr. Francisco Moreno Ocampo
Executive Director of The Art of Living Foundation in Mexico
Mr. Francisco Moreno Ocampo is the Executive Director of The Art of Living Foundation in México. As an entrepreneur, he developed one of the first sustainable buildings, the Cefira Tower, in Latin America. He has also served as a Director in “La Nación” Media Group in Argentina. He has been a speaker at the World of Business Ideas and has conducted leadership seminars for Citibank, IBM, Coca-Cola Femsa and Microsoft among other companies. He has spearheaded the implementation of socio-emotional educational programs for the Ministry of Education of the State of Mexico. He also participated in the Colombian peace process by Art of Living techniques to FARC leaders.
Mr. Juan Carlos Losada
House of Representatives of the Colombian Congress
Mr. Juan Carlos Losada is a member of the House of Representatives of the Colombian Congress. As a journalist, he worked for several years at radio stations in the Todelar de Colombia network as a political analyst. He has also been a columnist for the newspaper “El Periódico” and several digital magazines, as well as news commentator in the television channel Teleamiga Internacional. Also, he worked for 10 years in the Iberoamerican Theater Festival of Bogotá. He is a philosopher from the University of the Andes His leadership and calling to make a difference led him to participate in multiple social community empowerment projects, as well as in environmental projects.
Mrs. Rajita Kulkarni
President, World Forum for Ethics in Business, India
Mrs. Rajita Kulkarni is the President of the World Forum for Ethics in Business and a Board member in a number of non-governmental organisations at an Indian national and international level. Her key projects include the launch of the prestigious Sri Sri University in India, global design and roll out of the Transformational Leadership for Excellence (TLEX) program and overseeing the administration of over 510 educational institutions. She is a certified leadership coach working with senior leaders and an award-winning trainer touching over 100,000 participants from over 50 countries. She has held international leadership positions in her 18-year career, last of which was Asia Pacific Head for Customer Advocacy and Training for the Retail Assets Business with Citi.
Mrs. Puravi Hegde
International Faculty, the Achieving Personal Excellence (APEX) program, India
Puravi is privileged to have over 17 years of experience in facilitating the Art of Living’s meditation, stress-elimination and advanced yoga and wellness programs to multi-cultural participants. Over the last 11 years, she has been a trainer with APEX – the organisation’s corporate program for excellence. In addition to designing modules on inspirational leadership, mindfulness, team cohesion, etc., Puravi has led APEX programs for senior leadership teams across the globe at companies that include Bosch, CapGemini, Citibank, IBM, JP Morgan, Larsen & Toubro, Nokia, Reserve Bank of India, Shangri-La Hotels, Shell and TCS. She holds an MA in Economics from the University of Mumbai, India and an MSc in Environmental & Natural Resource Economics from the University of York, UK, which she received as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.
Dr. Mahesh Gupta
Chairman and Managing Director, Kent RO Systems Ltd., India
Mr. Mahesh Gupta, a first generation entrepreneur, is the Founder-Chairman of Kent RO Systems Ltd., India’s leading water Purifier Company. He left a secure job at IOCL to begin with Kent Oil Meters and later entered the health care segment. He has more than half a dozen patent technologies to his credit. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kanpur and is an alumni of Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun in addion to an Honorary Doctorate degree. Mr. Gupta gives back to society in many ways: he does guest lectures at MBA institutes and for budding entrepreneurs and spearheads PHD Chamber of Commerce as its President. He also adapted 8 backward villages with a commitment to improving conditions of sanitation.
Mr. Aadesh Goyal
Executive Vice President and Global Head of Human Resources at Tata Communications, India
Mr. Aadesh Goyal is the Executive Vice President and Global Head of Human Resources at Tata Communications. He also has global responsibility for Corporate Social Responsibility, Occupational Health and Safety, and Administration and is the Chief Ethics Officer of the company. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Tata Communications Payment Solutions Limited and a Director on the Board of Tata Communications Transformation Services Limited. He has been an angel investor and has served on the Boards of several companies. He has a Master’s degree in Management from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, and has won several awards. Mr. Goyal has been a volunteer for community service for more than 15 years.
Mr. Arnab Goswami
Mr. Arnab Goswami, President and Editor-in-Chief, Times Now and ET Now, India
Mr. Arnab Goswami has consistently maintained and increased the dominance of Times Now as the Number 1 channel for 8 consecutive years, with his 9 pm “The Newshour” commanding over 70% viewership and the interview based “Frankly Speaking with Arnab” the most followed interview on television. He has revolutionised news coverage, spearheaded exposes and brought in innovations like a new form of statistical analysis on elections and collaboration with Twitter and Facebook achieving the highest social media coverage. He is a post graduate in Social Anthropology from Oxford University and a visiting fellow at Cambridge University’s Department of International Relations. He has authored the book “Combating terrorism” and has been published in several international journals, on geo political trends in India and the region.
Mr. Christoph Glaser
Managing Director of the World Forum for Ethics in Business and Board Member of the International Art of Living Foundation, Switzerland
Mr. Christoph Glaser is a Board Member of the International Art of Living Foundation, Switzerland and Managing Director of the World Forum for Ethics in Business. He is also the CEO for Transformational Leadership for Excellence (TLEX), Europe; where he has conducted leadership, well-being and resilience programs in companies such as Accenture, BCG, GE, Daimler, Shell, American Express, the World Bank Group and Harvard Business School. Mr. Glaser holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Humboldt-Viadrina School for Governance in Berlin and has graduated in honors from the Basel Vocational Business School. He is a certified Leadership trainer of the World Bank Group program ‘Greater than Leadership’ and a certified Integral Associate Coach.
H.E. Mr. Šarūnas Birutis
Minister of Culture, Lithuania
“On behalf of the Republic of Lithuania today, allow me to express my sincerest gratitude to the organizers of World Culture Festival and Global Leadership Forum. It is the most inspiring gathering of minds and spirits. This year Lithuania celebrates the twenty-sixth anniversary of Reestablished Independence. Twenty-six years ago, the Parliament of Lithuania declared the end of the 50 years of oppression. It was our message of love and peace, our call for justice and freedom. Lithuania has rapidly transformed in the last two decades. Complex economic, political and social reforms boosted economic growth, social well-being and political stability. However, we should not to overrate the economic success and not to treat the word “prosperity” as completely synonymous to “economic prosperity”. Material wellbeing comes as a consequence of hard work and self-discipline, creativity, the rule of law, respect for the individual freedoms and at the same time the responsibility of the individual to the community. And culture is the real lifeblood of communities, no less important than health or wealth, it binds societies and helps to overcome divisions, it develops solidarity, empathy and innovation.”
Šarūnas Birutis is the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. He is also a member of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, a member of the Committees on Education, Science and Culture and European Affairs. Previously he was a member of the Vilnius City Council and from 2004 to 2009 he served as a member of the European Parliament. Since 2009 Šarūnas Birutis was the representative of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists to the Parliament and Government of the Republic of Lithuania. Mr. Birutis was also the President of the Baltic-Indian Chambers of Commerce and the Vice-president of the Lithuanian-Indian Forum.
Mr. Ajay Bagga
Executive Chairman, OPC Asset Solutions Pvt. Ltd., India
Mr. Ajay Bagga is the Executive Chairman of OPC Asset Solutions ltd and one of the most respected experts of the Indian Financial industry. He has led institutions across all its sectors and worked with global market leaders like Citigroup, General Electric and Deutsche Bank. He was the youngest CEO of the Mutual Fund Industry at 36, heading Kotak Mahindra Asset Management and Lotus India Asset Management. He has served on various financial industry committees and think tanks and has been the Chairman of the Financial Planning Standards Board of India. He is a regular contributor to electronic and print media with more than 1000 TV appearances and 100 articles. For the last two decades he has been associated probono with the Art of Living Foundation.
Prof. Adnan Badran
“I am honored to participate in the 35th Anniversary of the “Art of Living Foundation”. Humanity must tear down walls of hatred and discrimination against racial, ethnic, religious, sectarian ideologies to expand the space of commons, and reduce the space of differences for building the culture of peace among citizens of the world. We’ve got to learn living together.
The World Culture Festival will bridge people of diverse Cultures on one platform: harmony and peace.”
Drs. Hari Untoro Dradjat
Senior Adviser, Tourism Ministry, Indonesia
Drs. Hari Untoro Dradjat is the Senior Adviser to the Tourism Ministry of Indonesia. He has rich and extensive experience in nurturing heritage in many roles in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism including: Assistant Deputy for Museum and Archeology, Deputy Minister for History and Archeology, Director-General of History and Archeology. He has also been the Head of ASEAN-SCC (Sub Committee on Culture) and Head of ASEAN-COCI (Committee Culture and Information) of The Republic Indonesia. He graduated in Archeology Studies at the University of Indonesia, received a Masters Degree in Archeology at Archaeological Heritage Management University of York, England and was awarded his Doctoral Degree in Archeology at the University of Indonesia
H. H. Princess Raden Dato’Seri Maria Amor Torres DK, DD
Founder and President, We Care for Humanity, United States of America (from agenda) Minister of International Cooperation and Integration at Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta
H.H. Princess Raden Dato’Seri Maria Amor Torres (DK), Recipient of Darjah Kerabat Sulu and Jambi (Highest award given to royalty, rulers and dignitaries) is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Royal Kingdom of Sulu and Melayu Jambi, Goodwill Ambassador of the Royal House of Baloi and the Founder and President of the We Care for Humanity (WCH), a non-profit organization whose main mission is to raise universal humanitarianism.She has spearheaded humanitarian projects in various countries and conceptualized the Global Officials of Dignity Awards (G.O.D.); a highly acclaimed humanitarian awards held at the United Nations annually integrated with WCH Humanitarian Summit. Princess Maria Amor travels around the world to for humanitarian work via the “Traveling Princess” TV Show as she represents numerous global organizations as Goodwill Ambassador.
H.E. Mr. Kamal Thapa
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign of Affairs, Nepal
Hon. Mr. Kamal Thapa is the current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign of Affairs of Nepal. Between 1988 and 2006, Hon. Kamal Thapa, served as the Home Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Information and Communication, Health, Forest and Soil Conservation, Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Local Development, Agriculture, Housing and Physical Planning for the Government of Nepal.
Mr. G. M. Rao
Executive Chairman and Managing Director, GMR Group, India
Mr. G. M. Rao, a mechanical engineer, is the Founder Chairman of the GMR Group, the Bangalore based global infrastructure developer. The GMR group is now a professionally managed infrastructure developer with focus on Airports, Energy, Transportation and Urban Infrastructure including SEZs. To give back to society, he set up GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, to channelize funds for social causes. He has also been serving on the Central Board of Directors of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and is the recipients of multiple awards and honorary doctrates.
Dr. Arvind Panagariya
Vice Chairman of Niti Aayog, India
Dr. Arvind Panagariya is Vice-Chairman, Niti Aayog and has been Professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University. He is a former Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank and Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland at College Park. He has also worked with the World Bank, IMF and UNCTAD in various capacities. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Economics from Princeton University. He has authored more than fifteen books and his scientific papers have appeared in the top economics journals. He is the recipient of the Padma Bhushan award from the Government of India.
Hon. Mr. Chandrababu Naidu
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, India
Hon. Mr. Chandrababu Naidu is the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and also the President of the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. He became the state’s youngest assembly member and youngest minister at 28, and served the longest term as Chief Minister of the state from 1995 to 2004. He has won a number of awards, including IT Indian of the Millennium from India Today, Business Person of the Year by The Economic Times and South Asian of the Year from Time Asia.
Venerable Master Ji-Jing
Venerable Ji-Jing is a Buddhist monk dedicated to make Buddhist teaching more understandable. Since 2006, he has been conducting courses for business leaders on wisdom and wealth at various corporations and from 2010, initiated a series of programs focusing on youth development. In 2011 after an epic pilgrimage, he began “Natural Grace,” a series of 46 non-profit programs focusing on the development of youth touching over 50,000 participants. The programs have achieved tangible results with enhanced academic and social performances. In 2012, he launched “Awakened Lion Forum” for those who work in the education sector and “Buddhist Health-preservation Retreat” nationwide. With a degree in Aero-engine from Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU), he once worked for China Gas Turbine Establishment (CGTE) with further study and research in the Institute of Aviation Motors, State Scientific Center of Russian Federation.
Mr. Anant Goenka
Head, New Media at Indian Express
Mr. Anant Goenka is the Head, New Media at Indian Express since 2012. He did stints earlier at Spenta Multimedia and Bloomberg. He completed his masters in Print Journalism from the Annenberg School of Journalism, USC and Bachelor, Business Administration and Brand Management from University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business.
Mr. Nirvana Chaudhary
Managing Director, CG Corp Global and Chaudhary Group, Nepal
Mr. Nirvana Chaudhary is the Managing Director of CG Corp Global, a billion dollar multinational, is possibly the youngest business leader of Nepal. Educated in Doon, Harrow and MIT schools, he founded his own company CG Finco when he was 19. He recently became the Chairman of Assocham Nepal Chapter and Board of UN Business Advisory Council. He is also the Vice President of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries and on the board of the Cricket Association of Nepal. He frequently writes columns on leadership in prominent business magazines and is often invited as a motivational speaker. A youth icon of Nepal, he is known for his diverse interests and ventures and also as a philanthropist – the Chaudhary Foundation is building 120 schools and 10000 transitional homes for the survivors of the earthquake in Nepal.
Mr. Michael S. Perlis
President and Chief Executive Officer of Forbes Media LLC., USA
Mr. Michael S. Perlis has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of Forbes Media LLC since December 2010. Since taking over, he has focused on the brand’s digital footprint, overseeing the magazine’s digital growth to over 30 million unique users a month. Previously, he was President and CEO at Ziff-Davis Media Inc, and has held senior leadership positions in other companies like TVSM, Picaboo, Zinio and many others. He entered the venture capital industry in 2000, when he accepted a role as Special Partner of Softbank Capital, and was a Venture Partner at GrandBanks Capital.
Hon. Mr. G.L Peiris
Former Minister of Sri Lanka
Hon. G. L. Peiris is a Former Cabinet Minister of External Affairs and a former member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka. He has held multiple ministerial portfolios including Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Finance, External Trade, Enterprise Development, Industrial Policy Investment Promotion, Ethnic Affairs and National Integration. He won the Rhodes Scholarship for his PhD at New College, Oxford and also gained a second PhD from the University of Colombo. He holds fellowships from Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London and was also associate member of the International Academy of Comparative Law and Senior British Council Fellow.
Hon. Mr. Matthew Offord
Member of Parliament, United Kingdom
Mr. Offord is a Member of Parliament and also a Member of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) Governing Council of the United Kindom. Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, Mr. Offord worked for the BBC as a political analyst and was also Deputy Leader of Barnet Council. As MP of Hendon, Matthew has been involved in wide range of issues in Parliament that include tackling crime on local streets, improvements to the Thameslink service, free schools, funding for extra school security, lower energy costs, animal welfare, and a referendum on membership of the EU.
Ms. Bhanumathi Narsimhan
Director, Women Empowerment and Child Welfare Programs, The Art of Living Foundation, India
Ms. Bhanumathi Narasimhan is the Director of the Women Empowerment & Child Welfare Programs of The Art of Living Foundation. Ms. Bhanumathi has played a key role in The Art of Living Foundation since its inception, leading programs like Care for Children to educate over 51,000 underprivileged children, VISTA to economically strengthen over 8,000 women, an initiative called HARA to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in rural India and the Weaver-to-Weaver project to empower skilled artisans. She also teaches the Sahaj Samadhi Meditation technique bringing an experience of deep peace to thousands.
Hon Eng. Dr. Walter Mzembi
Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Africa
Hon Eng. Dr. Walter Mzembi is Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Zimbabwe and previously held the office of Deputy Minister for Water Resources and Management. He has also held important positions including the Presidency of Africa Travel Association (ATA), Member of the International Advisory Board of the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy (ICD) and Chairmanship of UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa (CAF). He holds BBS and MBA degrees, is a Registered Professional Engineer and earned a doctorate for a thesis on Conservation Management in Zimbabwe that stems from his passion for wildlife conservation.
Hon. Congresswoman Robin Kelly
Member of the House of Representatives, USA
Congresswoman Robin Kelly represents Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving on key committees, including the Foreign Affairs Committee and its Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade. She also serves on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the main investigative body of the House, overseeing federal government operations and works to reduce waste, fraud and abuse. Ms. Kelly earned her B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in counseling, later receiving a Ph.D. in political science from Northern Illinois University.
Mr. Deepak Kapoor
Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers, USA
Deepak Kapoor is Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, with diverse leadership and client service experience advising clients across industries. He has represented PwC on various fora like CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, etc. and is a regular contributor to business and trade publications. Deepak spearheads PwC’s CSR initiative in India. He is the Community Director for the Rotary Club, a member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), a member of Institute of Company Secretaries of India, and a member of the Institute of Certified Fraud Examiners, USA.
Hon. Mr. Yonadam Kanna
Member of the Iraqi National Assembly
A member of the Iraqi Governing Council since 2003, Hon. Mr. Yonadam Kanna is a Member of the Iraqi National Assembly, and is the Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement. He served in the Kurdistan administration in Iraq, first in its Regional Assembly, then as Minister for Public Works. He was elected to the National Assembly of Iraq as head of the Al Rafideen National List in the January and December 2005 elections.
Hon. Mr. Piyush Goyal
Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy, India
Hon. Mr. Piyush Goyal is the Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy in the Government of India. A well-known investment banker, he has advised top corporates on management strategy and growth; also served on the Board of India’s largest commercial bank, State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda. Mr. Goyal was a member of the Standing Committee on Finance and the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Defence.
Hon. Ms. Naheed Farid
Member of Parliament, Afghanistan
Hon. Ms. Naheed Farid is a Member of Parliament, Afghanistan. Elected at the age of 27, she is one of the youngest elected members in the nation’s history. Ms. Farid’s focus is on engaging Afghan youth and women in the nation’s political process. Prior to running for Parliament, she was involved in rebuilding her nation by founding and leading NGOs assisting women, children and engaging in rural community development. She has advocated for the reduction of gender-based violence and human rights violations against women, and for expanded access to education and employment for women.
Mr. Jean-Marc Borello
President, Groupe SOS, France
Mr. Jean-Marc Borello is the President of Group SOS and the founder of the Movement of Social Entrepreneurs. Over the last few decades, he developed and implemented new practices throughout the health and social services sector, proving how innovation and competition in providing social services will create widespread social impact through economies of scale. His new way of delivering social services has influenced public policy, and his efforts are creating the legal and financial space for citizen organizations to thrive and compete with the business sector.
Dr. R. Seetharaman
Group Chief Executive Officer, Doha Bank, Qatar
Dr. R. Seetharaman is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Doha Bank and a prominent personality in the banking industry in the Middle East. Under his leadership, Doha Bank has become a high-performing bank, a global brand and won a number of recognitions. A high profile economist invited to speak regularly by international media, Mr. Seetharaman has earned doctorates from several leading universities and has also received many awards.
Hon. Mr. Metro Armando Rios Piter
Sen. Píter is an economist for the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and a lawyer from the Universidad Nacional Autómoma de Méxivo (UNAM). He has had the honor of being awarded the medal for Professional Merit in the Public Sector by the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico. The Senator earned a Masters in National Security at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a Masters in Public Administration, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University.
Dr. Vandana Shiva
Scholar and Environmental Activist, India
Dr. Shiva is an Indian scholar, environmental activist and prolific anti-globalization author. Her work spans teaching at universities worldwide to working with peasants in rural India. Time Magazine identified her as an environmental ‘hero’ in 2003, and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators in Asia. In 2010, Forbes Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as one of the Seven Most Powerful Women on the Globe. Dr. Shiva has contributed in fundamental ways to changing the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food, making significant contributions in Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and biodiversity. Dr. Shiva’s contributions to gender issues are nationally and internationally recognised. Her book Staying Alive dramatically shifts popular perceptions of Third World women.
Mr. Shashi Kant Sharma
Comptroller and Auditor General, India
Mr. Shashi Kant Sharma has served as the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) of India since 2013. As a constitutional functionary, he is responsible for auditing the accounts of the Union Government and of the State Governments of India. Currently, he is Member of the UN Board of Auditors. He is also the Chair of the Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Services Committee of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and Chair of the Working Group of INTOSAI on Information Technology Audit.
Mr. Andrew Forrest
Non-executive Chairman, Fortescue Metals Group, Australia
Mr. Andrew Forrest is the Founder and Non-Executive Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, the fourth largest seaborne iron ore producer. He is Councillor of the Global Citizen Commission reporting to the UN on reforming human rights, Commonwealth ambassador for employment and engagement with disadvantaged communities and the Chair for Review of Indigenous Training and Employment Programmes. He is also the Founder and Chairman of Minderoo Foundation, Australia’s largest philanthropic organisation. An Adjunct Professor of the China Southern University and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, he is a leading representative of the resources sector globally.
Sir Richard Branson
Founder, Virgin Group, United Kingdom
Sir Branson is the founder of more than 100 Virgin companies worldwide, employing approximately 60,000 people in over 50 countries. Of these, Virgin Records is the biggest independent label in the world, and Virgin Atlantic, a leading global airline. He is credited with building Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline. He is the world’s most social CEO and the world’s most followed person on LinkedIn. His foundation, Virgin Unite, tackles tough social and environmental problems. Branson was awarded a knighthood in 1999. He lives on Necker Island with his wife Joan and two children, Holly and Sam.
Mr. Sutirtha Bhattacharya
Chairman and Managing Director, Coal India Ltd., India
Mr. Sutirtha Bhattacharya is the Chairman and Managing Director, Coal India Ltd. Prior to this he was the Chairman and Managing Director of the Singareni Collieries Company Limited. A Physics graduate from Presidency College Kolkata and an IAS officer from the Telengana cadre, Mr. Bhattacharya has vast and varied experience across different government sectors and positions. He was also Collector and District Magistrate of Prakasham District and Principal Secretary (Energy), Government of AP.
Mr. Samrath Bedi
Executive Director, Forest Essentials, India
Mr. Samrath Bedi is the Executive Director of the niche Ayurveda luxury skincare products company, Forest Essentials. In earlier stints, he worked with Dean Witter Morgan Stanley on a short assignment and then at the Standard Chartered Bank in New York. He returned to India in November 2000 and is associated with Forest Essentials since then. Mr. Bedi completed his schooling from the Doon school Dehradun and under graduation with majors in Economics and Psychology from the University of Rochester, New York United States of America.
Hon. Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi
Member of Parliament, India
Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) from New Delhi Constituency, is a Supreme Court lawyer and social and political activist. Ms. Lekhi is involved with several NGOs and Commissions on women’s empowerment. She is also a member of the drafting committee on the Women Reservation Bill and the Problem of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill. In addition to this work, she lectures at NHRC and at gender training programmes at various ministries. Ms. Lekhi is also regularly advocates for these issues through media outlets.
Hon. General V. K. Singh
Minister of State for External Affairs, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Statistics and Program Implementation, India
General Vijay Kumar Singh, is an Indian politician and a retired four star general in the Indian Army. During his military career, Singh served as the 24th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army. He was the first commando to be promoted to the rank of General. After his retirement from the military, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) In May 2014, he was appointed as the Minister of State of External Affairs and Minister of state for North East Region in the NDA-led Indian Government.
Ms. Arundhati Bhattacharya
Chairperson, State Bank of India, India
Ms. Bhattacharya is the first Chairwoman of State Bank of India. She has held several positions during her 36-year career with the bank including working in foreign exchange, treasury, retail operations, human resources and investment banking. Ms. Bhattacharya introduced two-year maternity and elderly care policies and she plans to introduce free vaccinations against cervical cancer to all her woman employees. In 2015, Forbes named her the 30th most powerful woman in the world and the 4th most powerful woman in Asia. She was also ranked among the FP Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine.
Dr. Kiran Bedi
Recipient of Ramon Magsaysay Award, IPS Officer 1972-2007, India
Dr. Kiran Bedi is an Indian politician, social activist, former tennis player and the first female officer in the Indian Police Service. With a distinguished career of public service, she runs two non-profit organisations that bring education and self-reliance to thousands of marginalised rural and urban communities. In addition to her many professional accomplishments, she was the Indian National and Asian Tennis Champion. Dr Bedi received a degree in English Language from the Government College for Women in Amritsar, her Master’s degree in Political Science from Punjab University, Chandigarh, and holds a degree in Law (LLB) from Delhi University.
Dr. Parry Aftab
Founder, WiredSafety, USA
Dr. Aftab is a leading expert in digital privacy, security law, and cybercrime. She founded the Internet safety organization WiredSafety and the consulting firm WiredTrust. In 1999, UNESCO appointed Dr. Aftab to lead its online child protection project for the United States. She has been on the advisory boards for MTV’s A Thin Line, Fair Play, Sesame Street Online and the Ad Council. Previous clients include Facebook, Disney and Nickelodeon. Her latest program, shareUcare, designed by a Canadian 7-year-old to promote caring and kindness online, will be launched at the WCF through an app donated by AKSystems.
H.E. Dr. Nancy Bakir
High Commissioner for Arab Civil Society at the League of Arab States and Former Culture Minister of Jordan
H.E. Ms. Nancy Bakir is the High Commissioner for Arab Civil Society at the League of Arab States. She was earlier Minister of Public Sector Reform and the Minister of Culture in the Cabinet of Jordan. Prior to that, she held the positions of Assistant Secretary General at the League of Arab States for the Social Sector and was the Acting Secretary General Assistance for the Economic Sector. She has held a number of positions including Advisor to the Prime Minister of Jordan for Human Rights, a member of the Educational Council, Secretary General of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Acting Secretary General for the Higher Council for Science and Technology and many others. H.E. Bakir holds a Masters degree in Philological Sciences/Former Soviet Union, and a Masters Degree in Peace and Diplomacy.
Hon. Mr. Suresh Prabhu
Minister of Railways, Government of India
Hon. Mr. Suresh Prabhu is the Railway Minister of India, a Chartered Accountant by profession and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He was, in earlier stints, Industry Minister, Minister of Environment and Forests, Minister of Fertilizers and Chemicals, Power, Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises. He was also Chairman of Task Force for Interlinking of Rivers with a status and rank of Union Cabinet Minister.
Dr. Mac Smith
Senior Staff User Experience Researcher for the Google, United States of America
Dr. Mac Smith is a Senior Staff User Experience Researcher and Founding Member of the X (formerly Google[x]) User Experience Team. In his current role, Dr. Smith leads user experience work with the Rapid Evaluation team, which focuses on rapid technology prototyping and detailed analysis of the business potential of new projects. Dr. Smith completed his MA & PhD in Human Factors at George Mason University, and previously worked at Microsoft Games Studio and Motorola.
Hon. Mr. Hildebrando Tapia Samaniego
Vice-President, Andean Parliament, Peru
Mr. Hildebrando Tapia Samaniego is an architect, entrepreneur and member of the Popular Christian Party of Peru. He was elected Congressman of the Republic of Peru for the period 2001 – 2006 from the National Renovation Party. He was also selected as the Vice-President of the Popular Christian Party in the most recent party elections.
Hon. Mr. Mike Quigley
Congressman, House of Representatives, USA
Congressman Quigley was elected to Congress to represent Illinois’ 5th District in 2009. A former Cook County Commissioner who began his career through community service in the Lakeview neighborhood, Congressman Quigley has served his community for more than thirty years. He has established himself as a leader on many of America’s most challenging issues. He continues to fight for full LGBT equality, a woman’s right to choose, and common sense gun law reforms. A member of the Sierra Club since he was 16, Congressman Quigley continues to push for strong environmental policies that protect our natural resources and address the growing threat of climate change.
H.E. Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo
Former President, Nigeria
“How can we tap the power of cultural diversity to promote world peace? A key pathway is through cultural exchange programmes and the organisation of cultural events such as this. These will foster cultural tolerance which is tonic for peaceful living. Culture can be a strong rallying point in times of fear and despair; it can serve as the fortress from which lives are rebuilt after conflicts. “
H.E. President Olusegun Obasanjo is a former Nigerian Army General and President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. H.E. President Obasanjo is a champion for development across Africa in the areas of leadership development, capacity building, and conflict resolution. In 2009, H.E. President Obasanjo was appointed as a special envoy of the United Nations to the Great Lakes region to mediate on conflicts in the DRC. He plays a leadership role in organisations including the InterAction Council for Former Heads of State and Government; Eminent Persons Group of the African, Caribbean and Pacific; and African Progress Panel.
Hon. Mr. Nitin Gadkari
Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, India
Hon. Mr. Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari has been a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council since 1989. He was the Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council from 1999-2005. After serving as President of the Maharashtra Pradesh BJP, in 2009 he was elevated to the post of the BJP National President to become the youngest ever party president. Gadkari was a PWD minister in Maharashtra between 1995 & 1999. As Public Works Minister in Maharashtra, he built the Mumbai – Pune Expressway.
Mr. Christoph Daum
Former German Professional Football Player, International Football Manager, Germany
“Ethics should not be a state of mind, it should be a part of our life! The investment in the human potential will pay back. We need to share the ethics values in sports, society and business.”
Christoph Daum, who was born in 1953 in the mountainous area of Erzgebirge, grew up in the Ruhr region, and is one of the most prolific and idiosyncratic football coaches in Germany. For a quarter of a century he has been working successfully as the head coach of top European clubs; he won national titles in Germany, Turkey and Austria with his teams. Christoph Daum is the father of four children and married to his second wife. He lives with his family in Cologne.
Mr. Peter Marti
Owner & CEO, Marti Communications AG
Peter Marti has studied communications in Switzerland and in the USA. After a career as a communications consultant, he became President & CEO of Ogilvy group in Switzerland and was head of small countries of the Ogily European network.Later he founded his own communication company in Zurich/Switzerland. He is a member of the Swiss Advertising Association and he was a member of the Art Directors Club in Switzerland.
Peter Marti was elected as “Advertiser of the year” and won several awards at international communication festivals.
During his career, he worked for some major NGO’s such as the World Wildlife Fund, Green Cross International and the Red Cross and also some foundations like the Kantha Bopha Foundation in Cambodia, the “Foundation pour la Formation Hoteliere” and the Dr. Rau Foundation have mandated Peter Marti and his team with their brand reputation work.
Today he is strongly involved in brand reputation development for mid-sized and bigger global companies. He leads Corporate Social Responsability programs for these companies and is handling their internal and external communications.
Mrs. Fulvia Ferragamo Visconti
Board Member Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A., Non-Operative Head for Accessories and Furniture Design , VP Ferragamo Finanziaria S.p.A., Italy
“Ferragamo Group is increasingly devoted to charitable donations in order to achieve two objectives: promote Italian culture (with a focus on art, cinema and music) and support charities for women’s and children’s health, as well as many other non-profit, non-governmental organizations with long-term plans for the use of donations. My father, Salvatore Ferragamo, always saw fashion and culture as inextricably linked. He always sought – and found – inspiration in the work of the most eminent artists of his time. At the same time, he always had a very humanitarian approach, was always thoughtful to his employees, carried out humanitarian activities, and showed respect for people’s integrity, dignity, self-respect and human rights. Our daily creative process inevitably entails the necessary search for Beauty: beauty opens your heart, lifts your spirit and encourages meditation.”
The daughter of Salvatore and Wanda Ferragamo, Fulvia Ferragamo Visconti was born in Florence, Italy. After earning a degree in Classical Studies, she specialised in Art History and Literature. She later moved to Milan with her husband, Giuseppe Visconti, a lawyer. They have four children. In 1970, Fulvia joined the family business, designing silk products and starting the Men’s and Women’s Silk Accessories Department, which she continues to supervise today. She also oversees the company’s interior design projects. She is currently Vice President of the group’s holding company, Ferragamo Finanziaria S.p.A., as well as on the board of directors of other Ferragamo companies. Fulvia Ferragamo Visconti is also involved in several cultural and humanitarian organisations in Europe and abroad.
H.E. Mr. Ayoub Kara
Member of the Knesset, Deputy Minister for Regional Affairs, Israel
“We Christians, Muslims, Jews, Drouze and all other religious in the world must gather and unite to defeat the extremism in the world and especially in the Middle East”
H. E. Mr. Ayoub Kara is a Member of the Knesset and Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation in Israel. He was the previously Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, serving as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Workers and Chairman of the Anti-Drug Committee, and was Deputy Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee. Mr. Kara served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserve, attaining the rank of Major. He earned his law degree from Ono Academic College and a Masters in Public Policy from TAU.
Mr. Armin Laschet
Member of State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, Federal vice-chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
” ‘United in diversity’ – this motto of the European Union is more important than ever. Not only for the European Union itself, but also in a global perspective. In this time of military conflicts and a global refugee crisis we need both: respect for the enriching diversity of cultures, ethnics and religions as well as a deeper understanding of international cooperation as an important determinant for peace and welfare all around the world. I strongly wish that the World Culture Festival will bring cultures, religions and nations together – for the benefit of the whole world.”
Mr. Armin Laschet is Deputy Chairman of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) and Head, North Rhine-Westphalia. As a member of the Bundestag, he served on the Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development and the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union. As Member of the European Parliament, he was on the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He has held multiple ministerial portfolios including State Minister for Generations, Family, Women and Integration; State Minister for Federal Affairs, Europe and Media.
H.E. Mr. Michael A.S. Adhin
Vice-President of Suriname, Suriname
“It is the Upanishadic message and practice that we need to adopt; that a nation, although culturally and traditionally plural and diverse in many ways, can still evolve and prosper through mutual understanding, on a cooperative basis and following the principles of inter-dependence, thus preserving the beauty and value of its cultures, religions and traditions. This is for me the practical application of ‘Vasudhayva Kutumbakam’ for our nations today”.
H.E. Michael Adhin is Vice President of the Republic of Suriname and Chairman of the Council of Ministers. He is a member of the National Democratic Party and is the country’s youngest Vice President. Before his appointment as Vice President, H.E. Adhin served as Minister of Education.
H.E. Adhin has a degree in information technology. He was a professor at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname.
Ms. Dace Melbārde
Minister for Culture, Latvia
“If you fight for peace, you never experience it,” says an old proverb. There is a huge variety of pathways how each of us finds human and spiritual prosperity and well-being in the contemporary world. However, most of verities we experience in our lives are already kept in the memory of the humanity. Culture has always been a rich melting pot which preserves the art of living knowledge for the next generations and is easily accessible to everyone. I wish to celebrate everyone the culture of peace and harmony on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the International Art of Living Foundation and experience the power of cultural diversity in the World Cultural Festival!”
Hon Ms Dace Melbarde, is the Latvian Minister of Culture and former Director of the Latvian National Centre for Culture. Previously, she was Country Manager of the British Council in Latvi and Under-Secretary of State on Cultural Policy issues of the Latvian Ministry of Culture. She also did a stint as Secretary-General of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, contributing successfully to its promotion within Latvia and UNESCO.
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Lord Andrew Zelig Stone
Member of Parliament, United Kingdom
“India has the world’s oldest as well as largest traditional systems of medicine which predate the age of Kaliyug.
Indian Traditional Sciences are holistic medicines of India. The ultimate aim of these spiritual sciences: Ayurveda, Jyotish, Sangeet, Siddha, Vastu and Yoga is to promote disease-free good health and that preventative measures are better than having to find a cure. They are philosophy of life, spiritual knowledge, holistic and scientific processes to transform the mind and body.
On behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Indian Traditional Sciences,
I congratulate the efforts of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s commitment to the advancement of Sciences within the Indian Traditions.
Along with The Lord Rana MBE, Bob Blackman MP, Matthew Offord MP, and together with Amarjeet-singh Bhamra (Lead Secretariat of the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences) who will be joining me at the celebrations of the Foundation’s 35th year Festival in Delhi, India in March 2016, I congratulate especially its founder HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.”
Lord Stone served as a Managing Director of Marks & Spencer, until his retirement in 1999. He devotes his time to independent projects in the Middle East and has a deep interest in Arts and Science, mindfulness and spirituality. He is Vice-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Indian Traditional Sciences and Mindfulness. He currently serves as the President of the DIPEx Charity, and is a Trustee of Prism the Gift Fund, which supports efficient and meaningful philanthropic giving. He is a Life Member of the Board of the Weizmann Institute in Israel.
Hon. Mr. Shailesh Lakhman Vara
Member of Parliament, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, United Kingdom
“I congratulate the Art of Living on 35 years of promoting educational and humanitarian work across the globe. Its message of one family (Vasudhaiva Kuttumbakam) is a powerful one and it is fitting that the World Cultural Festival is providing an opportunity for better understanding between people of different faiths, cultures and nationalities. I look forward to taking part in the Global Leadership Forum which is taking place as part of the Festival.”
Mr. Shailesh Vara is a Justice Minister and a Minister in the Department for Work and Pensions in the UK Government. He was previously Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and a Government Whip. Mr. Vara was educated at Brunel University and qualified as a solicitor, practicing in the City of London, prior to being elected to Parliament. He was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the Indian Government in recognition of his work in the field of public service and promoting ties between India and the UK.
Hon. Mr. Geoffrey Van Orden
Member of the European Parliament, United Kingdom
Geoffrey Van Orden has been a Conservative Member of the European Parliament for the East of England for almost three decades. He is currently the Chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with India and was previously Chairman of the
Europe-India Chamber of Commerce (2010-2014), and a founding member of the Parliament’s Friends of India Group. He is also the Vice-Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), the third largest political group in the European Parliament and is the founding President of its think tank, New Direction – The Foundation for European Reform.
Ms. Brigitte van Baren
Founder, Inner Sense,Netherlands
“The greatest distance is not from New York to New Dehli, but from our head to our heart. Our challenge is to bridge that distance! As leaders we need to see with the eyes of our heart in order to act from the wisdom within “our inner sense””
Ms. Brigitte van Baren is the founder of Inner Sense, which offers a personal development programme for business leaders in the public and private sectors. She is the inventor of the widely acclaimed “Show Your True Colours” management improvement methodology, and provides coaching and training for international business leaders, managers and teams. She is also an author and Zen teacher of the Sanbo Zen Society, Japan.
Hon. Mr. Jigmi Yoser Thinley
Former Prime Minister of Bhutan
“The inevitable and compelling forces of globalization continue to shrink space, collapse time, exhaust resources and destabilise the natural environment. But instead of appreciating the need to come together to promote peace, harmony and sharing, we raise the threat to our collective survival and happiness through increasing viciousness in our competition for illusions of wealth and success at any cost. In consequence, the human narrative has become one of growing conflict, fear and stress within and among nations, communities, business, friends and families.
The world needs leaders who have the genius, conviction and courage to promote the wisdom of a shared vision for true human prosperity, wellbeing and happiness. We need leaders who will help us realise the true meaning of wealth and prosperity and enable us to become mindful of interdependence among all human beings and sentient life on our fragile planet. We need visionary leaders who can show us the way to a harmonious, healthy and happy human society.
I believe the World Culture Festival commemorating 35 years of the Art of Living is a celebration of such a leader and a way of life. I extend my heartfelt felicitations to HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on this very happy occasion and wish Him and the Art of Living continued success. It gives me great pleasure as well to congratulate Sri Sri on having been duly honoured by the people and government of India with one of the nation’s highest medals of honour at India’s 67th Republic Day ceremonies.”
Mr. Thinley was Bhutan’s first democratically-elected Prime Minister, serving from 2008 to 2013. He previously served as Bhutan’s Minister of Culture, the Foreign Minister and as an ambassador to the UN and several European countries. Mr. Thinley introduced Bhutan’s concept of Gross National Happiness to the international community at the UNDP Asia Pacific Millennium Summit in Seoul in 1998. In 2012, Mr. Thinley convened the High Level Meeting on Wellbeing and Happiness: A New Economic Paradigm at the United Nations. He now leads an international working group on framing a new development paradigm for the UN General Assembly.
Mr. Subhash Thakrar
Deputy President and past Chairman of the London Chamber of Commerce, United Kingdom
“Good ethics leads to establishment of trust and confidence. Trust and confidence is the pre-eminent requirement for good business to take place. The World Forum for Ethics in Business clearly brings this important issue to the fore and increases awareness. A good debate and development of guidance on good ethics will provide lasting benefits to the business and wider society.”
Mr. Subhash Thakrar is the Deputy President and past Chairman of the London Chamber of Commerce and a Partner at City Accountants CBW Blackstone Franks. He currently oversees affordable housing projects in Africa, having previously led other missions for the London Chamber in East and West Africa and in India. Mr. Thakrar is a trustee and board member of several of nonprofit organisations, including the Commonwealth Education Fund, the Attlee Foundation, and the 3R’s Trust.
Dr. Gunnar Stålsett
Bishop emeritus of Oslo, Norway
“We are here to celebrate a culture of peace. At a time when nationalistic, ethnic and religious extremism in all regions – and in all religions – promotes a culture of war, hatred and conflict, we are here to rejoice in the human capacity for peace and human rights. This is an epic manifestation of freedom of religion and belief. I see this great World Culture Festival as a sign of hope for humanity and a noble contribution to world peace.”
Dr. Gunnar Stålsett, (1935) Bishop emeritus of Oslo, Honorary President of Religions for Peace. Adviser to the Norwegian Government on Peace and Reconciliation. Founder and Chair of Instrument for Peace.
Before his church career Stålsett held a number of political offices. His church career includes: Professor of Systematic Theology, Rector of Practical Theology of the University of Oslo, General Secretary of the Church Council on Foreign Relations, The Norwegian Bible Society and The Lutheran World Federation. He has served on the Executive committees of World Council of Churches, the World Conference of Religions for Peace and the Board of the International Religious Liberty Association, the European Council of Religious Leaders, and was a founding member of the Oslo Coalition of Freedom of Religion or Belief. He has served as Norway’s Special Envoy to East Timor. He is an Advisory Board member of the Library of Alexandria. He has been involved in UN disarmament and human rights programs and served on UNAID.
Bishop Stålsett has received several honorary doctor degrees and has been awarded with the high Orders of Norway , Guatemala and East Timor for his work for peace, justice and reconciliation. He is a Niwano Peace Prize Laureate. He is the author of several books and a worldwide lecturer on democracy, tolerance, freedom of religion and inter- religious dialogue and cooperation.
Mr. Rudra Sen Sindhu
Chairman ACB , India
Capt. Rudra Sen Sindhu is the Chairman and Managing Director of Aryan Group and has business interests in number of companies engaged mainly in mining & logistics, coal beneficiation, power generation, sponge iron & steel, stock broking, media, finance and tourism. He is also engaged in several charitable activities and has been actively involved in social activities, such as the rehabilitation of Gujarat earthquake victims and building rural schools.
H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living, India
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian and spiritual teacher, an ambassador of peace and human values. He is the founder of the Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values. In a mere 34 years, his programs and initiatives have impacted over 370 million people in 155 countries with the premise of core values of respect for all, harmony in diversity, inner peace and service to society.
His two organisations are spearheading sustainable development in underprivileged communities across the world and have reached out to over 40,000 villages across India and are running 404 free schools.
Through his life and work, Sri Sri has inspired millions around the world with a vision of a stress-free, violence-free world. He has founded courses that provide techniques and tools to live a deeper, more joyous life.
As an ambassador of peace, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar plays a key role in conflict resolution and spreads his message of non-violence at public forums and gatherings world-wide. Regarded as a neutral figure with a sole agenda of peace, he represents hope to people in conflict. He has received particular credit for bringing opposing parties to the negotiating table in Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Kashmir and Bihar, India among others.
Dr. Sanjay Pradhan
CEO of the Open Government Partnership, USA
Dr. Sanjay Pradhan is CEO of the Open Government Partnership, instituted by U.S. President Obama and Brazilian President Rousseff with six Heads of State at the UN General Assembly in 2011. Prior to this role, Dr. Pradhan served as the Vice President of the World Bank Institute and as Director of Public Sector Governance for the World Bank. Dr. Pradhan was responsible for providing strategic direction to the World Bank’s global work on improving public sector governance and combating corruption. Dr. Pradhan received both his Bachelor’s degree (1982) and his PhD (1988) from Harvard University.
Hon. Mr. Alojz Peterle
Former Prime Minister, Member of the European Parliament, Slovenia
“The lack of rule of law inevitably leads to corruption. While we are all faced with the same global crisis, some of us perform and others not. When we look at where the effects were milder, the answer points to those countries where the rule of law works better. Therefore, the main reason for the crisis is not only in seemingly external or cyclical causes, but basically in the lack of values. In many cases, the management of public interests left behind the idea of the public good, transforming into clientelism and other sorts of destructive expressions. So, the basic ethical problem to which we are now confronted is that this cost is now expected to be shared by everybody. Our duty is to rebuild the elites, also within politics. We need elites which would exercise ethics at all levels of decision-making and practice it for the common good.”
Mr. Alojz Peterle has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2004 and is currently member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and substitute member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). He is Vice-Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and Member of Delegation to the EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee. Previously Slovenia’s Prime Minister, the first since the country’s independence, Peterle also held the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs twice. Mr Peterle has also been an active promoter of cancer care as President of the all-party forum, ‘MEPs against Cancer’.
Hon. Ms. Krishna Mathoera
Member of Parliament, Suriname
“Engagement creates love, love creates passion, and passion creates excellence. Go for excellence by strong engagement with all the responsibilities of life. Explore, expand and challenge your boundaries.”
Hon. Ms. Krishna Mathoera served the National Police Force for 34 years. She was appointed the national representative for Suriname to CICAD (Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission) from 2010 till 2015. Last year she left the police force to join politics. She is a currently Member of Parliament in Suriname. She is also the chairperson of the Art of living foundation in Suriname and a Rotarian. She holds a Masters degree in Public Administration.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Lütge
Professor of Business Ethics, Technische Universität München, Germany
“Profit maximization and ethics cannot be separated. Profits need to be sustainable, and ethics needs to be implementable. The market economy can be a very efficient tool for implementing ethical principles in the global world, provided it is governed by adequate rules. For corporations, the care for reputation is a key to being both profitable and ethical. “
Prof. Dr. Christoph Lütge holds the Peter Loescher Endowed Chair of Business Ethics at the Technical University of Munich. He studied business informatics as well as philosophy, obtaining his doctorate in 1999 and his habilitation in 2005. He was visiting researcher in Pittsburgh and San Diego. He taught business ethics at the Universities of Munich, Witten and Braunschweig, before moving to TU Munich in 2010. He has also held visiting professorships in Taipei, Kyoto and Venice.
Hon. Mr. Jo Leinen
Member of the European Parliament, Germany
“Excess and greed in finance and business have put the world’s economy and with it millions of citizens in a deep crisis. We need a paradigm shift now. We must reconcentrate on core business values and formulate clear ethical rules for economic activities. The WFEB is a great start to get this done.”
Mr. Leinen is Member of the European Parliament. A Member of the Convention for the Elaboration of a Charter of Fundamental Rights for the EU, he was President of the Constitutional Affairs Committee (2004 – 2009), and chaired the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (2009-2011). He is a full member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, a substitute member of the Committee for Foreign Affairs and of the EP’s Working Group on EU-UN relations, a full member of the Delegation for Relations with India, and a substitute in the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.
Hon. Ms. Bariza Khiari
Member of Senate, France
Hon. Ms. Bariza Khiari is the socialist Senator of Paris, a member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces Committee of the Senate, the Chairwoman of the France-Lebanon Friends’ Group, and the Vice Chairwoman of the France-Morocco Parliamentary Friends’ group. She is a member of the French delegation at the NATO Parliament and is the promoter of a research committee in the Senate working on the defence of religious minorities. Her distinctions include Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite (Knight of the National Order of Merit) and Médaille du Tourisme (Tourist Board Award).
Hon. Mr. Deshabandu Karu Jayasuriya
Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka
Mr. Karu Jayasuriya has held a distinguished career in both the political and private sectors. He has served as Chairman of the Leadership Council of the UNP, Minister of public Administration and Home Affairs, as well as Minister of Power and Energy. He has been Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Germany. In private sector he has served as Chairman/ CEO/ Director of 52 Private and Public quoted Companies.
Hon. Mr. Frank Heinrich
Member of Parliament, Germany
“As a Christian I am convinced that global change can only be achieved by a strong value based on global leadership, avowing for human rights, economic development and political peace. Furthermore it means respecting each other and carrying on cross-cultural and inter-religious dialogue. For me, the importance lies in a simple formula that only a balanced person can make a difference in an unbalanced world.”
Hon. Mr. Frank Heinrich is a Member of the German Bundestag, focusing on issues of human rights, humanitarian aid, and economic cooperation and development. His special interest areas lay in the fields of water as a human right, Africa, children’s rights, religious freedom, human trafficking and humanitarian aid, torture, death penalty and disappearance of people. Mr. Heinrich is a trained theologian and social worker, and previously worked as a Salvation-Army officer and head of the Salvation-Army in Chemnitz.
Hon. Dr. André Hahn
Member of Parliament, Germany
Dr. André Hahn has been a Member of the German Bundestag since 2013, serving on the sports committee and as a sports policy spokesman of the faction DIE LINKE (the Left Party). He is Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Control Panel, reviewing the work of the intelligence services, and is Parliamentary Secretary of the Left Party. Mr. Hahn is also Deputy Member of the NSA Committee of Inquiry, the Committee on Internal Affairs and the Tourism Committee.
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Mr. Avnish Goyal
Owner and Managing Director, Hallmark Care Homes, United Kingdom
“Designing, building and operating a world class business of care homes for older people has never been more exciting in times of change. Delivering outstanding customer care to our residents through relationship centred care is our primary focus. Through the bespoke leadership and empowerment days and a personalised training programme, we engage and encourage highly motivated teams to be outstanding. Investing in teams to instil culture and values to become an award winning care provider is a great achievement in this business. I will share my journey over the last twenty years, through the challenges and obstacles that businesses face and how we navigated our way through legislation to overcome barriers to really thrive in this sector.
I am so pleased that there is a forum for business leaders to discuss and share ideas about how ethics in business is the way to do business. I am excited about speaking at the conference about the work we do at Hallmark Care Homes to inspire others.”
Mr. Avnish Goyal is the Managing Director and Founder of Hallmark Care Homes, a multi-award winning, leading care provider in England and Wales. He is also the Chair of Care England, the representative body for care homes in the UK. Mr. Goyal is the Founding Trustee of The Hemraj Goyal Foundation, a registered charity based in Essex operating in the UK and worldwide.
Mr. Gary Gauba
President, CenturyLink, United States of America
“The Global Leadership Forum under the aegis of the World Culture Festival represents a global meeting of the minds around universally pertinent leadership issues that surround the rapidly evolving digital and socio-economic surroundings. We as leaders have a responsibility over our business-ecosystems, as well as, a tremendous opportunity to challenge ourselves and re-imagine business models today so we can build a strong foundation for tomorrows generation. Maintaining a broad vision for the industry and customers, whilst looking after the community by creating skilled and enthusiastic leaders who complement the vision of the business – these are critical components to creating a sustainable brand. The five key qualities essential for a successful business leader from my experience: ‘can do’ attitude and believing in oneself, willingness to adapt to the evolving environment, humility, mutual respect, and trusting ones instincts. I am grateful for the opportunity and look forward to bringing my perspective and becoming an active member at the Global Leadership Forum at The World Culture Festival.”
Hon. Mr. Gary Gauba is President of CenturyLink, and is a serial entrepreneur who has built, self-funded and successfully exited three companies in the past 20 years: Softline, Systech and Cognilytics. He sits on the Board of Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, WISeKey and, Advisory Board of DocuSign and other emerging companies. With the acquisition of his third venture, Cognilytics by CenturyLink, his current focus is around Cyber Security (Deep Learning Algorithms), IoT and helping clients monetize their data as a strategic asset.
Hon. Ms. Yvonne Feri
Member of Parliament, Switzerland
Ms. Yvonne Feri has been a Member of the Swiss National Parliament since 2011, representing the Canton of Aargau. A local Councilor in Wettingen, and President of SP Frauen Schweiz, she previously served as a member of the Cantonal Parliament of Aargau (1998-2008), actively advocating on family and gender issues. From 2008 to 2012, Ms. Feri was chief executive of the Zürich Teachers Association. Aside from the day-to-day parliamentary work, she advocates the humanitarian contribution Switzerland can make internationally and seeks to improve the equality and position of working women in Switzerland.
Mr. Tarek Fatah
Writer and Broadcaster, Canada
Mr. Tarek Fatah is a weekly columnist for the Toronto Sun in Canada and an award-winning author of two books, “The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State (2008)” and “The Jew is Not My Enemy (2010).” He is currently writing his third book “The Hindu is Not My Enemy.” He was educated in Pakistan, beginning his career in journalism, first as a newspaper reporter and later with Pakistan Television.
Hon. Mr. Nirj Deva
Member of the European Parliament, United Kingdom
“The world, today, needs change; it needs leaders who have the belief, the principle and the courage to demand a shared vision of respect, beyond the confines of our own conceit; a recognition that we are a global community; one world, one family. But rhetoric is easy. Action demands something more; it demands perseverance, humility and empathy. In order to build a more peaceful world; one in which stability and security are not just ideals, but a reality that underpins our common humanity, we have to shift our outlook; dare to gaze beyond our personal or even national gain, in contemplation of a greater endeavour. Our actions have weight beyond our own lives. Our children, and their children after them, will look back across the years to the legacy that we determine now.”
Nirj Deva is the first person in history to be born in one continent, elected to Parliament in another, and then elected to represent that country as a member of a multi-national Parliament (the European Parliament). In 1992 he was elected to the United Kingdom Parliament, as the Conservative Member for Brentford and Isleworth. Appointed Vice President of the Development Committee in 2009, he remains a Member of the South Asia Delegation and of the Subcommittee on Human Rights. His phenomenal international development work led to his nomination as Secretary General of the UN to succeed Kofi Annan in 2006.
Hon. Mr. Dominique de Villepin
Former Prime Minister, France
“A great opportunity to highlight the role of culture in building peace today. It has never been more important to promote dialogue between people”
Mr. De Villepin was Prime Minister of France (2005 to 2007), appointed Prime Minister by President Jacques Chirac. From 1995 to 2002, he was Chief of Staff to the President of the Republic. Prior to this, he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs (2002 to 2004) and Minister of the Interior (2004 to 2005). Since 2008, he set up a firm to support the strategies for cross-border investment and activities particularly in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He has written numerous books of poetry and fiction and essays on history, international relations and art.
Hon. Prof. Dr. Petra de Sutter
Member of the Belgian Senate, Belgium
“As a doctor, an academic and a politician I am very happy to contribute to this world forum and testify of the importance of ethics in business and in politics. Today’s globalized world with its complicated geopolitical relationships and major economic and other crises needs leaders who follow the highest ethical standards and who can inspire others. May the Global Leadership Forum contribute to the standing up of such leaders.”
Dr. Petra de Sutter is Member of Belgian Parliament (Senate) for the Flemish Green Party, serving on the Committee of Institutional Affairs. She is a Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, serving on the Committee of Social Affairs and Committee of Migration and Refugees. She is also a Board member of the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development.
Hon. Prof. Herman De Croo
Minister of State, Member of Parliament Belgium, Belgium
“Ethics has to be accepted by the people, especially by those who are enthusiast to attend sports manifestations and the millions of them participating in it. It means transparency regarding the sometimes immense amounts paid to organize games, to hire players, to keep and build the infrastructure, etc. Trust and confidence in the correctness of the application of social and financial criteria, even if specific to the exercise of this type of activity, where mass information ( media, especially T.V. ) and advertisement, are the mean elements of making it sustainable, needs to be transparent. The law acting mechanisms in a representative democracy means that citizen, whose parliament has been free elected, feel that their will, on a democratic way, has been full filed. Any social business, health, entertainment, taxations, or contributions to wellbeing and welfare will be decided on an open and transparent way.”
Hon. Prof. Herman De Croo was first elected to Parliament in March 1968, and is Minister of State Mayor of Brakel. A former Professor of Common Law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, he was President of the Chamber of Representatives, the lower house of the Federal Parliament (1999 – 2007), and served as ministers of Transport and Foreign Trade; Transport, Postal Services, Telegraphy and Telephony; and Education. Prof. De Croo obtained a doctorate in law from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (U.L.B.), and received a Fulbright scholarship to attend the University of Chicago Law School.
Mr. Amit Dalal
Executive Director, Tata Corporation, India
Mr. Amit Dalal has been Executive Director of Tata Investment Corporation Limited since 2010, and was appointed as an Non-Executive Independent Director on 19th June, 2008. He obtained his MBA from the University of Massachusetts, and is a member of the Bombay.Stock Exchange. Mr. Dalal is Managing Director of ANSec Ltd., one of the top stock broking companies. He was formerly a partner of the erstwhile broking and merchant banking firm, Dhirajlal Maganlal & Sons. Mr. Dalal is also Joint Managing Director of Kapsales Ltd. and is on the board of several companies and charitable institutions.
Hon. Mr. Ryszard Czarnecki
Vice President of the European Parliament, Belgium
Hon. Mr. Ryszard Czarnecki is the Vice-President of the European Parliament and the Vice President of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. He has served as a Member of the European Parliament since 2004. Hon. Mr. Czarnecki is a Member of the Policy Committee of the Law and Justice party as well as Member of the Council of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists.
He was awarded Republic of Armenia’s National Assembly Medal of Honour for his contributions in strengthening of inter-parliamentary friendship relations.
Hon. Mr. Jan Creemers
Mayor of the city of Maaseik, Belgium
“I would like to thank the organizers of the World Culture Festival and the Global Leadership Forum, and express my sincere congratulations on the Organization of this grand event. I hope that it should contribute to a global understanding between the people of all walks of life. It offers millions of people the opportunity to build relationships, friendship across borders. Being able to offer an small contribution is a great honour for me.”
The Mayor of the City of Maaseik, Belgium, Hon. Mr. Jon Creemers also serves as President of ‘The Meander’ Institute for Disabled People, the Honorary President of Rest Home ‘Het Park’, President of the Police Council and the Police College Maasland and President of the DV Marec (Recreation Centres Maasland).
H.E. Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik
Former Prime Minister of Norway and President, The Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, Norway
Mr. Bondevik served as Prime Minister of Norway from 1997 to 2000, and previously as Member of Parliament 1973-2005. He is currently President of the Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights, working for world peace, human rights and interreligious tolerance worldwide. The centre cooperates closely with the Carter Center in Atlanta, the Kim Dae Jung Library in Seoul and the Crisis Management Initiative in Helsinki. Bondevik was awarded the Grand Cross of St. Olav in 2004, is a member of the Club de Madrid, a group of former leaders of democratic states that works to strengthen democratic governance and leadership.
Hon. Mr. Bob Blackman
Member of Parliament, United Kingdom
“The World Forum for Ethics in Business is a great initiative and it is heartening to see principles of ethical living being brought into the way businesses are conducted. Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, I was responsible for the regulatory compliance management at BT. Having worked closely on the regulatory framework and compliance in businesses, I feel it is important to assess how businesses operate. I support the promotion of free trade, providing an enabling environment for businesses and combating corruption across board. I am a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Corporate Governance that endeavours to influence the policy agenda for business, economic and social prosperity.”
Mr. Blackman is the Conservative MP for Harrow East, serves as Joint Secretary of the prestigious 1922 Committee within Parliament, and is a member of the Backbench Business committee. He is Co-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Justice for Equitable Life Policyholders, Chair for the APPGs on British Hindus, Nepal, Azerbaijan, Vice Chair to APPG for India, and Secretary to the APPG on Action on Smoking and Health. He is member of several All Party Parliamentary Groups, with geographic interest in Israel, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Brazil, Croatia, and range of interests including Science, Technology, Communications, Media, Football and Cricket.
Mr. Annurag Batra
Chairman and Editor in Chief, Businessworld Magazine, India
Mr. Annurag Batra is the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of BW Businessworld. As a first generation entrepreneur, he expanded the 35-year old Businessworld brand into digital, events and BW communities and included newer entities like www.digitalmarket.asia, a leading website on digital marketing. Mr. Batra serves as the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of exchange4media group, and was appointed by Government of India as the Chairman of an industry committee formed to create a vocational training framework for the media, communication and entertainment industry.
Hon. Mr. Rabin Baldewsingh
Deputy Mayor of The Hague, Netherlands
“Good that the Global Leaderships Forum has become an integral part of the World Cultural Festival. Leaders around the globe sharing their thoughts on the challenges of our times: how to cope with a divers society and thus create harmony in diversity? Human fear of the ‘Other’, whether it is religion, colour, orientation or something else, belongs to all ages. For a diverse city like The Hague, where over half the population comes from a different cultural background, it is and remains a challenge to be unified as a city. By working together and recognising and using each other’s strengths, we can achieve more. However, we must be able to see and embrace the strengths of the ‘Other’.
In recent decades, we in the wealthy western countries have become accustomed to the fact that others take care of people in need and even our nearest and dearest. We sometimes forget what brotherly love really means. For me, brotherly love is one of the most valuable fruits of faith. In many religions, looking after people on the edges of society is a key value. I feel that this is a value that we should all embrace. Brotherly love, caring for others, makes us more tolerant. Because we no longer shut people out, but embrace them in our hearts. By working together and meeting others, we get to know other values, other norms, other cultures. And thus we enrich ourselves. I hope that in these sometimes difficult times of contradiction and fear, we can also remain positive about the opportunities and strength that diversity can bring. And that we will continue to welcome the light into our hearts. And that is exactly the inspiration which we get from the World Cultural Festival, to be emphasized at the Global Leaderships Forum.”
Since 2006, Mr. Baldewsingh has served as Deputy Mayor of the City of The Hague, The Netherlands (the International City of Peace and Justice). He is The Hague’s Alderman for Social Affairs, Employment, Neighbourhood Approach, Integration Policies and Sports. In the last decade, he has been one of the leading figures in the debate on integration and diversity in The Hague, and is a published writer and poet.
Hon. Mr. Ted Baillieu
Former Premier of Victoria, Australia
Hon. Dr. Sarah Claerhout
Member of Parliament Belgium, Chair Belgium Indian Relation, Belgium
Hon. Dr. Sarah Claerhout has been a Member of Parliament, Belgium since 2014. In February 2013 she became president of Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams (CD&V) Ghent. She received a PhD in Comparative Science of Cultures at the Ghent University and was an active member of the board of directors and executive committee of Ghent University.
Updated: March 9, 2016
Lineup may change without prior notice.