Joji “Lakambini” travelled to Oslo, Norway last 02-07 June 2023, by the invitation of the Business for Peace Foundation, to be one of the 75 members of the United Nations Business Arena for Sustainability and Peace. This UN Business Arena is to be an annual meeting place at the highest level for global investors, board chairs, business leaders and civil society — all working to bring business closer to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), building on the UN Charter. Starting in 2024, the Arena will convene the UN’s different private sector initiatives and connect global board chairs and business leaders with the UN, in order to work together for a better and more equitable world. Business for Peace Foundation is a co-creator of this UN Business Arena for Sustainability and Peace. 

Joji’s participation in this UN Business Arena is part of her responsibility as one of the three 2020 Honourees of the Oslo Business for Peace Award. She was recognized by the Oslo Business for Peace Foundation “for establishing Coffee for Peace as an inspiring social enterprise that empowers marginalized groups from diverse backgrounds, uniting them while actively contributing to the sustainable development of the land.”

The UN Business Arena for Sustainability and Peace intends to expand the Business for Peace Foundation’s annual State of the Union between Business and Society, working towards a comprehensive global business community event, attracting the UN Secretary-General. By partnering with other organizations, the Foundation aims to foster a new multilateral arena dedicated to exploring solutions and advocating for the positive contributions of businesses in tackling critical global challenges.

We, at Coffee For Peace (CFP) and PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI), are grateful to the Creator who has opened these doors of international leadership conversations so we can share our justice-based framework for peacebuilding in the arena of business. We are aware that we will be interacting with personalities and organizations with so much wealth and power. But we are confident of the Great Spirit’s power within us, and of the presence of Jesus Christ through the Peace Church who sent us.

The UN Business Arena & Justice-Based Peacebuilding

The four building blocks of the UN Business Arena are as follows: Networked Multilateralism, Global Engagement, Open and Inclusive Participation, and Mission-Oriented Action.

At PBCI and CFP, it is our prayer and intention to inject the concept of justice-based peacebuilding and to emphasize its significance in the UN Business Arena’s mission.

Networked Multilateralism. We pray that the UN Business Arena would recognize the importance of justice-based peacebuilding by fostering cross-sector collaboration led by businesses. May this collaboration aim to drive networked multilateralism that would work towards addressing inequalities and creating an environment conducive to sustainable development and peace.

Global Engagement. We pray that the UN Business Arena, in line with justice-based peacebuilding, would prioritize creating a truly global platform. May it focus on cooperation between the Global North and South; may it acknowledge the need for equitable partnerships that would ensure the inclusion of perspectives from traditionally marginalized regions.

Open and Inclusive Participation. We pray that the concept of justice-based peacebuilding would be interwoven with the UN Business Arena’s commitment to open and inclusive participation. By faith, we will see active involvement of youth that reflects a justice-oriented approach and would open their hearts and minds of their role as future leaders in peacebuilding efforts, characterized by transparency, inclusivity, and the opportunity for diverse voices to contribute to justice-centered solutions.

Mission-Oriented Action. We pray that the UN Business Arena would actually address systemic injustices, promote human rights, and foster sustainable development. Leveraging its representation in 170 countries, we pray that the platform encourages companies to actively contribute to the mission, reinforcing justice-based values and promoting transformative change.

Looking at the UN Arena Through the Lenses of Our Peace Theology

We are also seeking to clarify our perspectives on the four building blocks of the UN Business Arena through the lenses of our faith-based peace framework:

Harmony with the Creator (spiritual-ethical transformation). We hope that the Spirit of the Creator would hover over the UN Business Arena to help to foster a more ethical and just world by embracing the values of compassion, justice, and sustainability, which are all important to many faith traditions.

Harmony with our Being (psycho-social transformation). We hope that the Spirit of the Creator would energize the leaders and members of the UN Business Arena and to experience healing within themselves and around themselves. And may their healing bring about healing in the world from the violence of colonialism and from the collective traumas of historical injustices in this world. 

Harmony with Others (socio-political transformation). We hope that the UN Business Arena would promote positive political change by advocating for policies that are in the best interests of all people. Through the lenses of our faith, we see a more just and equitable world, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Harmony with the Creation (economic-ecological transformation). We hope that the UN Business Arena would adopt and promote sustainable economic development by encouraging businesses to practices what is good for the whole creation. Through the lenses of our faith, we see a more sustainable world for future generations.

For both of us, this is a new perspective, a new way, a more challenging approach, a riskier venture to be a witness for the hope we have in Christ. Our courage necessarily includes your prayers.

Thank you, our Mennonite siblings, for praying and hoping with us in this dream and aspiration to be more Effective Witnesses of the Peace of Christ.

Permanent link to this article: https://peacebuilderscommunity.org/2023/06/oslo-business-for-peace-foundation-invites-joji-to-be-a-part-of-the-u-n-arena-on-business-and-peace/

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We are sent by Mennonite Church Canada Witness in partnership with our international community.