Caux Round Table 2013 Year in Review is available here.
The Caux Round Table: 25 Years of Charting a Platform for Principled Leadership
As the Caux Round Table commemorates its first meeting of global leaders at Mountain House in Caux, Switzerland in 1986, several current and former business leaders in Minnesota, where the CRT is headquartered, share their memories and testimonials about the CRT’s work and the importance of its Principles for Business. Watch the video to learn more:
Caux Round Table Awards Malaysian Prime Minister with Certificate of Recognition and Appreciation
The disappearance for two weeks of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 after its departure from Kuala Lumpur and then reported crash in the Indian Ocean has given the world a very unsettling demonstration of how fragile our lives can be. At the same time, the unrestrained usurpation by Russia of Ukrainian rights in Crimea has given the world a different, but equally unsettling demonstration of raw power divorced from law and common ethics.
The small efforts of the Caux Round Table ("CRT") are designed - idealistically and without cynical pretense - to highlight alternate ways of thinking and acting, ways more aligned with a deeply ingrained moral sense that is our common heritage transmitted from prior generations.
We seek to highlight these alternate ways through the advocacy of principles for business, government and civil society in the hopes that they may encourage, remind, support, guide - even inspire - actions that will promote human flourishing.
Coincidentally, in Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak has become sensitive to the need to raise standards of good governance and performance in service of the public good.
In stressful and difficult circumstances, Prime Minister Najib has insisted on a program of multiracial and multicultural government reform in Malaysia. We believe that such forward-looking aspirations deserve recognition in line with prior CRT presentations of its appreciation.
On March 4th, 2014, on behalf of the CRT, Global Executive Director Steve Young and Senior Adviser and former Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Pramoj presented Prime Minister Najib with a certification of recognition and appreciation.
The presentations read as follows:
In his gracious reply, the Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to the CRT and eagerly accepted a copy of my book, Moral Capitalism. The Prime Minister said that he values such a vision and wanted to learn more about the CRT approach.
Caux Round Table Statement on Crimea
Vladimir Putin has seized the Crimea from The Ukraine, artfully to be sure, but nonetheless in violation of Russia’s treaty obligations to that country. Bent on becoming a naval power, China is pushing the frontiers of its power projection to new extremes and so did not object to Russia’s violation of another nation’s territorial integrity. Sectarian hatred and violence within the Muslim community – financed by great powers and wealthy elites - has arisen to postpone prospects for harmony and peace in the Middle East, perhaps for decades to come.
The rules of international order are being re-written. The idealistic project of building a global community around decency, respect for human dignity, mutuality and collaboration is under attack. The darker forces in our natures have not gone away; most resilient, they seek to thrive once again.
It is becoming, once again, a time for power to strut and intimidation to rule.
Thomas Paine, the idealist supporting American independence from the Crown in 1775, wrote that “These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
Watching lamp lights being lit in the early evening darkness in the park below his window in the Foreign Office, Britain’s Foreign Minister Sir Edward Grey said in August 1914 – just about 100 years ago – as Europe was inexorably heading to a horrible war nobody really wanted: “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”
Putin’s move to “protect” members of his Volk in Crimea brings to mind the precursor act to an earlier war when Neville Chamberlin acquiesced in Hitler’s assertion of a right to “protect” members of his German Volk living in the Sudetenland.
What, then, is the Caux Round Table ("CRT") to do now?
The premise of our work is the ability of right and good to prevail over darkness and evil through the ministries of the wise and the resolute.
But what of those many times in history when darkness and evil came to the fore? Is there not a lesson for us that, at times, risk-aversion and cowardice are the more prudent courses? Should we not retreat today and live to play another day?
Cicero had this in mind in June 59 BC when he realize that his patrician Roman elite had little stomach to grapple with the brazen political over-reach of the first triumvirate – Pompey, Crassus and Julius Caesar. Cicero, accordingly, wrote to his friend Atticus: “our virtue is in chains.”
The mission of the CRT, simply put, is to “unchain virtue.” A daunting task and one in which we may fail.
But do we give up the attempt at a moment when victory is far from certain?
In the history of my country, we have remembrances of George Washington who said only “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the just may repair; the rest is up to God” and Adlai Stevenson’s description of Eleanor Roosevelt as one “who would rather light a candle than curse the darkness.”
One victory is certain, however: when we refuse to back down in the face of might, and greed and fear, we win something important for humanity, just by taking a stand.
Caux Round Table Global Executive Director Participates in U.N. High Level Thematic Dialogue on State of World Economy
On May 18th and 19th, 2012, Steve Young, Global Executive Director of the Caux Round Table, participated in the U.N.'s High Level Thematic Dialogue on the State of the World Economy. The meeting was convened by Qatari Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the current session of the General Assembly, to gather recommendations from a wide variety of people and nations adversely affected by the continuing downtown in global financial markets.
A brief report about the event can be downloaded here (PDF), or read online here.
The Mountain House Statement
The Caux Round Table announces the release of The Mountain House Statement setting forth a common position among the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions of social thought on sound ethical values to be used in management of the global economy. The Mountain House Statement offers hope for the world. The Mountain House Statement was collaboratively written by distinguished scholars from the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faith traditions. They were convened at Mountain House, in Caux, Switzerland, by the Caux Round Table, His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, DC, Ronald Thiemann, Bussey Professor of Theology and former Dean at the Harvard Divinity School, and Ibrahim Zein, Professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion and Dean of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization at the International Islamic University, Malaysia.
To read the statement, please click here.
Caux Round Table Honors Sandy Vargas, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation, for Outstanding Citizenship
On Wednesday, November 14th, the Caux Round Table honored Sandy Vargas, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation, with its 2012 Outstanding Citizenship Award. The Minneapolis Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the U.S. Ms. Vargas oversees the management of $600 million in assets; the administration of more than 1,000 charitable funds created by individuals, families and businesses; and the distribution of more than $30 million in grants each year.
Through its community grantmaking and leadership work, the foundation promotes constructive dialogue and action on critical issues, such as closing the achievement gap, achieving prosperity for all, improving public sector outcomes and realizing a more vibrant and equitable community.
Before joining the Minneapolis Foundation, Sandy was the Hennepin County Administrator, the top executive position in Hennepin County government in Minnesota, since 1999.
Caux Round Table Honors Mary Brainerd, President and CEO of HealthPartners, for Outstanding Citizenship
On Friday, January 6th, the Caux Round Table presented its 2011 Award for Outstanding Citizenship to Mary Brainerd, President and CEO of HealthPartners, the largest, consumer-governed, nonprofit, health care organization in the U.S. Under her leadership, HealthPartners has been recognized as a national leader in the health care industry.
Brainerd is one of the founding CEOs of the Itasca Project, a group of forty government, civic and business leaders who work together to address the various issues that impact long-term, economic growth, including jobs, education, transportation and economic disparities. She also serves on the boards of Securian Financial Group, Minnesota Council of Health Plans, Saint Paul Foundation/Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, Minneapolis Federal Reserve and SurModics.
In remarks given after receiving the award, Brainerd articulated the need for citizenship and high standards of conduct as set forth by the Caux Round Table Principles for Business.
Caux Round Table Honors Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chair of Carlson, for Outstanding Citizenship
Recently, the Caux Round Table presented its 2010 Outstanding Citizenship Award to Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chair and former CEO of The Carlson Companies, a global company in the hospitality industry (Radisson Hotels and Carlson Wagonlit Travel). Carlson Nelson co-chaired the 2004 World Economic Forum in Davos and is a member of the Forum's International Business Council. She is also a co-founder of the Woman Leader's Program of the Forum and founded the Center for Integrative Leadership at the University of Minnesota. Under her leadership, the Carlson Companies was the first major North American travel company to take a stand against the sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry. In very personal remarks given after receiving the CRT's recognition award, she articulated the need for citizenship and high standards of conduct as set forth by the CRT's Principles.
To read her remarks, please click here.
Caux Round Table Hosts Event with Congressman Barney Frank
On Saturday, May 8th, 2009, Congressman Barney Frank, Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, spoke about the future of financial services in the U.S. Dave Beal, a reporter with MinnPost and friend of the Caux Round Table, covered the event. To read his article, please click here.
High Frequency Trading: A Public Good? (Stephen B. Young, Global Executive Director, Caux Round Table). I am increasingly drawn to the proposition that financial markets and capitalism are not soul-mates. They are more like fractious siblings competing for parental attention, or narcissistic partners in a rocky marriage, each needing the other but each fearful of the other’s shortcomings. There is a close tie between them which can’t be totally severed. Traders in financial markets need real economic activity and growth in order to have financial contracts - stock, loans, options, derivatives, insurance guarantees, etc. - to buy and sell. Finance has no social purpose other than gambling unless there are related economic transactions to use the money which is bought and sold in financial markets. Read on . . .
The Moral Instinct and Organizational Excellence - An American Perspective (Prof. Doran Hunter, Research Fellow, Caux Round Table). Thomas Jefferson, in a 1787 letter to Peter Carr, made a profound observation about human nature that only now is being verified by neuroscience and behavioral genetics studies. Man is, Jefferson wrote, a social animal and is “endowed with a sense of right and wrong.” If one would “State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor … the former [would] decide it well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules.” Today neurobiologists and psychologists are scientifically confirming Jefferson’s observation by demonstrating that human beings are “hard wired” to make initial moral judgments without knowing why they are making them and then using reason to support their judgments. The content of such judgments seems to be an emotional human need to treat others as one wishes to be treated. It seems that David Hume was correct: reason is the slave of human emotions. Could this human predisposition to act morally in most situations explain why 95% of business arrangements and other forms of negotiable agreements and understandings are carried out with honesty, fairness and probity? Read more ...
CSR and Public Goods (Stephen B. Young, Global Executive Director, Caux Round Table). A month or so ago I suggested that a very helpful way to understand corporate social responsibility within capitalism is to think of it in structural/functional terms as a mediating process for the private business enterprise with its environment. Private enterprise does not have modern society all to itself. There is government and there is, increasingly, civil society. Private enterprise seeks profit within the rules and regulations set down by government and ingests the social capital provided by civil society. The interactions among business, government, and civil society need constant mediation as a function of successful business enterprise. Such mediation, I suggested, is the function of CSR and CSR managers. Read more . . .
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