Symposium: Religious Values and Corporate Decision Making: An Interdisciplinary Interfaith Conference for Corporate Executives and Legal Counsel1

Article excerpt

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION

MS. UELMEN:2 At this point we will get started. I am Amy Uelmen, the Director of Fordham Law School's Institute on Religion, Law and Lawyer's Work. Welcome. I will be your emcee for the day.

Just a few words to get us started and to express our hopes for today's program. As we were putting together today's program, at a certain point I envisioned our agenda as something of a response to the recent corporate scandals and the search for resources to retrieve a sense of orientation and professional integrity. Talking this over with Joe Geoghan,3 he mused, and this is not an exact quote, "I think the issues here stand on their own. They are bigger and much more important than that." I think with that he really captured the heart of our work today and the Institute's work as a whole.

True, for many, religious values can serve as an important source of orientation in the midst of a crisis. But the deeper challenge is more constructive and more positive, and perhaps in many ways more ordinary. This challenge is to articulate what religious values capture and express at the heart of human experience, and then how this can inform all aspects of life, including the law, including business life.

Today's program is also designed to acknowledge and take very seriously the important questions which arise in the course of this endeavor. For example, in our increasingly complex and pluralistic business environments, might drawing on religious beliefs generate otherwise avoidable conflicts and misunderstandings?

My deepest hope is that today might be both an opportunity to openly discuss the obstacles we see, and also to discover in the context of inter-disciplinary and inter-faith conversation a vast terrain of common ground.

So thank you to all of you who have worked hard to enrich the panels and spread the word, and also to Fordham's Center for Corporate securities and Financial Law, which is co-sponsoring the program, the Economics Department and the Business School, and to the enthusiastic help from our students on the Journal of Corporate and Financial Law.

I would also like to thank Dean William Michael Treanor4 for his unflagging support for this ongoing conversation. And now he would like to say a few words of welcome as well.

DEAN TREANOR: Thanks very much, Amy.

On behalf of Fordham Law School, I am very pleased to welcome all of you to this conference, which I am sure will be a fabulous day of discussion. Thanks to all who have worked so hard to put it together, and special thanks to our two speakers who traveled from Italy especially for this occasion and who bring to our conversation the breadth and depth of international perspectives. …