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Novartis boss awarded conscience prize

Swiss president, Adolf Ogi (left), congratulating Novartis chief, Daniel Vasella Keystone

The chief of Novartis, Daniel Vasella, has been awarded the "Appeal of Conscience" prize at a ceremony in New York.

Vasella was honoured for his sense of social responsibility as chairman and CEO of one of the world’s largest life sciences multinationals.

Vasella was presented with the prize by Henry Kissinger at an award ceremony attended by the Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, and a host of other leaders and dignitaries.

The president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, Rabbi Arthur Schneier honoured Vasella as a “humanitarian… who is globally committed to further quality of life, peace and tolerance”.

In his acceptance speech, Vasella spoke of the need for multinationals to take their social responsibilities seriously. He said they had an obligation to support and fund local development, know-how and technology.

Adolf Ogi described Vasella as a businessman who was concerned about the humanitarian and political consequences of his company’s activities.

The German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, was given the World Statesman Award at the same ceremony. Rabbi Arthur Schneier described him “as a political leader, who is creating the economic and political foundations that will strengthen Germany’s democracy and her leading role in the integration of Europe”.

The Appeal of Conscience Foundation was founded by Rabbi Schneier in 1965 to promote religious freedom and human rights.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR