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Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI participated in the 10th Harvard University Forum on Islamic Finance held in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 24-25, 2012. He was a panelist in the plenary session on Faith-Based Investment and Social Responsibility.
The Forum brochure offered this summary of the proceedings:The Tenth Forum features three main parallel sessions, which reflect three major themes within the topic of economic development. These include the Islamic financial sector’s contribution to global economic development, Islamic finance and the development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), and faith-based investment and social responsibility. Apart from these three main sessions, there are also parallel sessions on Islamic finance and the Arab Spring movements, global perspectives on Islamic finance, Islamic finance and alternative economic thinking, and current academic research on product development in the Islamic finance industry. With over 50 speakers and 30 nationalities represented, the forum attracts the leading practitioners from academia and the industry to critically discuss the issues highlighted above with a view to proposing sustainable developmental plans for the Islamic finance industry in general. There is no doubt that this rapidly developing field of the global financial system requires a close scrutiny to maximally harness it for the development of the global economy.
Reflections on Business and Human Rights January 1st, 2012
Read Fr. Seamus Finn’s latest Huffington Post blog on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights recently endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council. The principles were developed to offer guidance for the implementation of the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework, first introduced by Special Representative John Ruggie in 2008. They provide very practical and concrete recommendations on how to operationalize the framework, which was built around the following three central pillars:
- States have a responsibility to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including corporations;
- Companies have a responsibility to respect human rights;
- Victims of human rights abuses must be free to access effective remedies.
Faith-based Shareholder Activists Profiled in NY Times November 14th, 2011
Religious groups have worked through the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility for 40 years to encourage corporations to ‘do the right thing’ by people and the environment. Sr. Nora Nash, of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and active in faith-based shareholder activism since the 1980’s, was profiled in the Sunday edition of the New York Times. She explained their involvement thus: “We’re not here to put corporations down.We’re here to improve their sense of responsibility.”
Seamus Finn, OMI – also deeply involved in the ICCR dialogs with the banks as well as other corporate sectors, was cited in the article: “Companies have learned over time that the issues we’re bringing are not frivolous,” said the Rev. Seamus P. Finn, 61, a Washington-based priest with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and a board member of the Interfaith Center. “At the end of every transaction, there are people that are either positively or negatively impacted, and we try to explain that to them.”
Vatican Suggestions for Financial Reform Debated November 8th, 2011
“Robert A. Sirico’s “The Vatican’s Monetary Wisdom” (op-ed, Oct. 27) correctly praises the analysis of the causes of the financial crisis that was included in the Vatican’s statement on reforming the financial system. His summary dismissal of the suggested responses in the document clearly states that no sovereign or international regulatory authority is up to the task of regulating the major actors in the financial sector. Are we then to believe that they will do it themselves?
Haven’t we just experienced the consequences of deregulation, regulatory arbitrage and the capture of elected officials and assemblies by banks and industry associations? Greater cooperation, coordination and collaboration among sovereign regulators and authorities, as the Vatican suggested, is a step in the right direction if the public is to have a safe, stable and fair financial system that is worthy of their trust and their transactions.”
The Rev. Seamus P. Finn OMI
Re-Occupying Main Street November 2nd, 2011
I believe there are analogies and lessons to be drawn from the responsible citizenship on display by demonstrators across the world, and the responsible ownership practiced by active shareholders in corporations.
Interfaith Center For Corporate Responsibility: Celebrating A Legacy And Renewing A Promise! October 12th, 2011
“In 1971 a small group of believers decided to establish the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility to facilitate and coordinate their efforts to engage and challenge US corporations who had a presence in South Africa. The apartheid system of government was already well entrenched and they were searching for tools and opportunities that could join the chorus of advocates that were working to dismantle the apartheid system. Their objective was very simple; ask and advocate that US companies withdraw from South Africa and therefore deprive the government of any of the products or tax revenues that enabled their system of government to continue.”