On Saturday, 20th October 2018, Kenneth Bengtsson, Chairman of the World Childhood Foundation, was awarded the LutherRose 2018 for social responsibility and entrepreneurial courage at St. Gertrude's Church in Stockholm. Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden attended the award ceremony as guest of honour.
At the 11th LutherConference, the International Martin Luther Foundation (IMLS) honoured Kenneth Bengtsson as "an impressive personality and successful entrepreneur who embodies Martin Luther's reformatory values both professionally and privately." In addition to his duties as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Ahlsell AB, Systembolaget, Herenco and Synsam, Kenneth Bengtsson is also Chairman of the World Childhood Foundation (Sweden), which was established by H.M. Queen Silvia in 1999. For Dr. Thomas A. Seidel, Managing Director of IMLS, it was therefore "a great honour and pleasure to be able to present Kenneth Bengtsson with the LutherRose 2018 in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Silvia".
Staffan Carlsson, former Swedish Ambassador to Budapest, London and Berlin and member of the IMLS Board of Trustees, honoured the award winner in his laudatory speech: "Through his work at Ersta Diakoni, Kenneth Bengtsson has made it clear what it means to combine entrepreneurship with social responsibility. (...) And through his commitment as Chairman of Her Majesty's World Childhood Foundation, which campaigns worldwide for the right of every child to a safe and loving childhood, he has shown that social responsibility does not stop at national borders."
Kenneth Bengtsson concluded his acceptance speech with the words: "I have practised and led Swedish business ethics to the best of my knowledge and belief. As the saying goes, >no roses without thorns<. But the Luther rose welcomes me without thorns - only with joy."
The keynote speech on the topic "Is the Swede a human being? And if so: with or without Luther?" was given by the writer and journalist Henrik Berggren, author of the Swedish bestseller "Ist der Schwede ein Mensch?", first published in German in 2016 (together with Lars Trägårdh) "Är svensken människa?: Gemenskap och oberoende i det moderna Sverige." (1st edition 2006)
The topic of this year's panel discussion "Luther and the Swedes. Protestant business ethics today?" in the run-up to the award ceremony, participants from business, science, church and culture discussed the topic. In addition to Per Svensson, political editor at Dagens Nyheter, the panel included Wanja Lundby-Wedin, first deputy chairman of the board of the Church of Sweden and former chairman of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation, Martin Kauffner, CFO and member of the executive board of Lidl in Sweden, Christine Lieberknecht, former Prime Minister and deputy chairman of the board of trustees of the IMLS, and Prof. Dr Steven Hildemann, Global Chief Medical Officer of Merck. The panel discussion at the Royal Academy of Liberal Arts was moderated by IMLS Managing Director Dr Thomas A. Seidel.
You can find more photos of the LutherConference & the LutherRose 2018 award ceremony HERE