APPEAL OF CONSCIENCE
Mexico President Honored
With World Statesman Award
HE General Motors CEO, Mary T.
Barra, was overjoyed to share the stage with the chairman
and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Robert A. Eiger, and
the president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto. All
three were honored by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation at a
dinner in September 2014 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
Mary Barra, 53, pointed to the strong
ties that GM has with her co-honorees. GM was Disney’s first
corporate partner at EPCOT in 1979. And 2016 will mark the 80th
anniversary of GM operations in Mexico. So there are ties all
She acknowledged the progress that the
Appeal of Conscience, founded by Rabbi Arthur Schneier,
has made to advance tolerance, freedom and inclusion in the
world. Her father was a die maker at GM’s Pontiac division for
39 years. He retired in 1980, same year when she started.
In the last 10 years of his career, he
saw GM elect its first African-American board member (Rev.
Leon Sullivan), its first woman board member, and establish
the industry’s first minority supplier and minority dealer
"My dad saw a lot of work to foster
diversity and inclusion within GM," Barra said. "Yet he probably
never imagined a day when GM would employ more than 32,000 women
around the globe, or when one-fifth of our executives would be
women, and one-fourth of our officers and one-third of our board
member would be women."
She added: "I doubt he ever
imagined that GM would have a woman CEO!"
Robert Iger, 63, said he was much
inspired by Rabbi Schneier’s unwavering optimism. Optimism is
the essential part of the Walt Disney Company. It’s found in
every Disney story—love and friendship, courage and empowerment,
acceptance and inclusiveness.
"We connect with these stories…We want
good to conquer evil, peace instead of conflict, and who doesn’t
want to live ‘happily ever after’?"
The New York Times reported that
under Iger’s nine-year leadership, Disney’s market
capitalization rose to $153 billion from $48.4 billion.
Enrique Pena Nieto, 48, president
of Mexico for two years, received the foundation’s World
Statesman Award. He was accompanied by his wife, the elegant
Angelica Rivera, a former soap opera star.
Former Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger, the keynote speaker, said the United States holds
a unique advantage in the world, based on the platform of NAFTA
but extending well beyond the realm of free trade.
"I would like to see the United States
begin to think about trade, climate and other economic
negotiations with a North American and not simply U.S. mindset.
NAFTA not only exists, but the U.S. industrial, energy and
transport sectors are increasingly North American in scale and
scope. Our approach to trade negotiations, like those between
the U.S. and Europe and between the U.S. and parts of Asia…ought
to reflect those realities."