APPEAL OF CONSCIENCE
Prime Minister Stephen Harper accepts
Appeal of Conscience Foundation’s World Statesman Award
founder/president Rabbi Arthur Schneier with Henry Kissinger’s
Stephen Schwarzman and Louis Chenevert
assist Rabbi Arthur Schneier in presenting
Appeal of Conscience
Award to Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit
Virginia M. Rometty,
chairman/president/CEO of IBM, and husband Mark
Ronald Lauder, Rabbi Arthur Schneier
and Louis R. Chenevert
Lionizing Canada’s Prime Minister,
Citigroup’s Leader And IBM’s
Most Powerful Woman In Business
ENRY KISSINGER, introducing
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Appeal of
Conscience Foundation awards dinner, made note of his own public
service as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State
simultaneously in the 1970s.
"The only reason I mention it," he
said, "is because never before and never since has the White
House and the State Department been as amicable as it was then."
Harper declined an invitation to
address the annual General Assembly of the United Nations in
September. Instead he appeared at the Waldorf Astoria to accept
the Appeal of Conscience World Statesman Award.
Before the award presentation, a
reporter asked Kissinger about his relationship with Harper. He
demurred. "I had so much trouble becoming an American citizen,"
Kissinger said. "I don’t want to get into Canadian politics."
The Canadian prime minister who, three
weeks earlier had cut diplomatic ties with Iran, labeled the
government "a clear and present danger" for a combination of
reasons: "its appalling record of human rights abuse, active
assistance to the brutal regime in Syria, undeniable support of
terrorist entities, determined pursuit of nuclear weapons" as
well as routine threats to the existence of Israel,
anti-Semitism and constant denials of the Holocaust.
"It is important to state that
whatever Israel’s shortcomings, neither its existence nor its
policies are responsible for the pathologies in that part of the
"We are also mindful of the lesson of
history: that those who single out the Jewish people as a target
of racial and religious bigotry will inevitable be a threat to
all of us."
Harper added, "When confronted with
evil, we take strong principled positions in our dealings,
whether popular or not. I believe that the appeal of our
conscience requires us to speak out against what the Iranian
regime stands for."
Rabbi Arthur Schneier, founding
president of the foundation, described Harper as "more than
prime minister—he’s a mensch."
co-chairman/CEO of the Blackstone Group, the renowned private
equity/investment management firm, presented an Appeal of
Conscience Award to Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup.
Peter Peterson, former secretary
of commerce and co-chairman of the Blackstone Group which he
co-founded with Schwarzman in 1985, presented an Appeal of
Conscience Award to Virginia M. Rometty, president and
CEO of IBM.
According to a New York Times business
report, "IBM is the largest supplier of information
technology—computer hardware, software and services—to
corporations and governments."
Earlier this year Rometty was named
No. 1 in Fortune magazine’s annual ranking of the most powerful
women in business. A week after the Appeal of Conscience dinner,
IBM added "chairman" to Rometty’s title. She has become almost
as invincible as Watson, the company’s room-size computer that
triumphed over its human rivals in Jeopardy!
"We’re both graduates of Northwestern
University," Peterson said. "Ginny’s degree was in engineering
and computer science. Mine was in retailing and as a result I
can’t even do email."
"Peter," Rometty countered, "with all
your accomplishments for the world, I think I should go back and
a get a retailing degree."
She credited an early leader,
Thomas Watson, with the foresight in 1924 to rename the
company International Business Machines.
As she said, "Through era after era,
for more than a century, we have asked, how can the world work
better? This is how we came to understand global integration,
not only as an event in the history of economic competition, but
also as a point in technological and societal progress. We are a
global enterprise with 400,000 IBMers."
Louis Chenevert, chairman/CEO of
United Technologies, presided over the event. Among the 1,000
guests were ambassadors and diplomats from 30 countries,
including Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
Rabbi Schneier, a survivor of the
Holocaust in his native Vienna and communist oppression in
Budapest, has served as spiritual leader for 50 years of Park
East Synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He created the
Appeal of Conscience Foundation in 1965 to promote global
religious understanding. He will present next year’s World
Statesman Award to Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,
president of Indonesia, home of the world’s largest Muslim