Johann Rupert hailed as a champion of tolerance and human rights
It might not delight those who see Stellenbosch as the crucible of white monopoly capital‚ but one of the Western Cape town’s scions has won international recognition for promoting tolerance.
Johann Rupert was introduced by former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger before he received the Appeal of Conscience Award in New York on Wednesday evening.
The award was bestowed by The Appeal of Conscience Foundation‚ founded by Rabbi Arthur Schneier in 1965 to advance religious freedom and human rights throughout the world.
Keynote speaker Steven Mnuchin‚ the US treasury secretary‚ said “The Appeal of Conscience Foundation advances the values of peace and religious liberty.
“At a time when hostile actors continue to promote violence and intolerance‚ the foundation is a powerful voice for a more secure and prosperous future for all Americans and people around the world.”
The foundation’s world leader award was presented to International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde.
Schneier said she was being recognised “for her lifelong commitment to public service and for her exemplary leadership of the IMF”‚ while Rupert was being honoured “for his humanitarian efforts and generosity that have benefited education‚ the arts‚ and advanced social justice and conservation of land”.
In the foundation’s citation‚ it said Richemont chairman Rupert launched the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in 1990 with Nelson Mandela as its patron. He was a former managing trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
“Following in the footsteps of his father‚ Anton‚ Johann Rupert is a committed conservationist‚” it said.
“In addition to conserving about 29‚500ha in the Graaff-Reinet area‚ his family foundation has bought and donated an additional 1-5‚000ha acres of adjacent land to the South African National Parks Board. He is also chairman of the Peace Parks Foundation‚ which supports the creation of transfrontier conservation areas.”
Rupert said he was honoured to receive the award. “Amidst the turbulence of a worldwide surge in xenophobia‚ The Appeal of Conscience Foundation reflects the critical need to support religious freedom and the rights of the individual regardless of background and ethnicity‚” he said.
“The foundation creates a space for business and religious leaders together to help advance peace and economic security.”