For us in the Amcham and The Network, diversity, integration and inclusion are not simply politically appealing slogans put up on the wall to make ourselves feel good. They are objectives which must be smartly institutionalized and lived within our organizations and institutions at multiple interconnected levels in order to work. Doing this requires a lot of hard work. Properly implemented and lived, these values can make a meaningful difference impacting and enhancing the success and happiness of all of those involved. While this is an ongoing process, and there is certainly much more left to do, those of us living and working in Luxembourg can and should be proud of what we have achieved, what we are doing and what we will do for the future.
It was particularly important for us to highlight the critical, and often unappreciated, role that individual businesses and business affiliated organizations play in making this work. For the international companies that use Luxembourg as a home base in Europe, the pervasiveness of diversity within our compact society is a major and critical component of the attractiveness of Luxembourg as a business location.
We asked Alberta Brusi from Citi Group and John Parkhouse from PWC to participate both because of the strength of their individual leadership efforts and also because of the extraordinary positive role their companies, and others like them, play integrating diverse populations into organizational mixes that are successful. Since such a substantial part of the waking hours of their employees are spent engaged in work within their companies, the primacy of making diversity and integration work is a critical central focus embraced by their companies not just because it is a “nice thing to do”, but primarily because, properly done, it makes employees more happy, productive and successful... and thereby makes their companies more productive, profitable and successful.
Often unrecognized at the same time is the follow-on benefit: employees then take and live the values they have learned at work about the positive benefits for embracing diversity and inclusion back home with them and spread these values and concepts within their families, social interactive networks and the broader society.
By proxy this is a business imperative which is all about people: We believe that a very large part of the 50% of our Luxembourg population who are foreign born came to Luxembourg for reasons associated with economic empowerment and making a better life for themselves and their families, not because Luxembourg has great weather or a low cost of living. The largest part of the foreign residents in Luxembourg strive to fit in with their neighbors and friends. They appreciate the wisdom, generosity and gracious welcome of the government and people of Luxembourg. They do not ask for handouts: they simply ask for equality of treatment, equality of access, equality of opportunity. In return, they offer their energy, ideas and perspectives and the richness of their food, music and cultural traditions to make Luxembourg a more interesting place... for everyone living here, local and foreigner alike.
By so doing, foreign residents of Luxembourg contribute every day to the success and prosperity of the country... By so doing, foreign residents earn the right to be stakeholders. One of the challenges we face as a society is developing the mechanisms which allows these current (non-voting) stake holders to be better represented and included in the decision processes of the country, to have fuller access commensurate with their contributions, to invest their voices, experience and energy into the political decision process. Like the Luxembourg people, foreign residents want to keep Luxembourg strong... and, indeed make it even stronger for the future. But that is a topic of rich discussion for another day...
We thank you for helping us spread the word that diversity, inclusion and integration properly done create a virtual circle making Luxembourg strong, making companies and institutions strong, making every person valued, giving every person the opportunity to make their best contribution and be the best they can be.