More than 100 “corporate chieftains, thought leaders, scholars, and experts in labor, health, education, economics, and the environment” will converge on the Vatican Dec. 2-3 for the 2016 Fortune + Time Global Forum.
Fortune magazine’s editor-in-chief, Alan Murray, indicates that it was his publishing empire’s idea to hold the meeting there – and to arrange for Pope Francis to attend it.
Time of moral outrage
“We live in a time of moral outrage,” Murray explained. “CEOs of large global companies ‘need a moral framework and North Star,’ he wrote, quoting Dov Seidman, who advises companies on how to build moral cultures.
“It’s the reason we selected Rome and the Vatican as the site” for the conference, Murray said.
“We don’t necessarily agree with all of Pope Francis’s views on business and capitalism. But we do think he is one of the leaders in the world with the moral authority to help us better understand the changing nature of authority itself,” he explained.
Organizers have an ambitious agenda for the two days. Participants “will meet intensively with one another – and with Pope Francis – in the hopes of forging a new ‘social compact’ between Big Business and the global community it serves.”
“We’ll probe how and where the global economy can be more inclusive and fair, how to ensure technology creates jobs even as it inevitably destroys some, how to bring the rural poor into the 21st-century economy, and how to bridge the digital divide between the haves and have-nots,” organizers said.
“The mission of business is not, and cannot, be isolated from the goals of humanity,” they added.
Specific issues on the agenda:
- Better health care, which St. John Paul and Pope Francis have both said is a human right.
- The environment: organizers describe their focus in terms of stewardship: “safeguarding the land and water entrusted to us.”
- Human opportunities, especially for refugees: organizers explain their concern is “to offer better futures for those who have been displaced from their homes by the ravages of conflict and poverty” – a concern frequently addressed by recent popes and Vatican agencies.
“We recognize that setting larger-than-life goals (especially when the rich and mighty do it) can often look like arrogance or worse – marketing. But not talking to one another, and shying away from such goals, hasn’t been the answer either. We know: The business community has tried that for too long,” organizers admitted.
If you have any plans to do any praying Dec. 2 or 3, you might want to include the proceedings of this conference and its participants in your special intentions.