Pichai says Google has long supported immigrants, Dreamers, and refugees, a cause embedded in its DNA
Google and Alphabetâ€™s Indian American CEO Sundar Pichai says his company has long supported immigrants, Dreamers, and refugees as itâ€™s a cause thatâ€™s embedded in Googleâ€™s DNA and itâ€™s one he cares deeply about.
â€œSince 2015, Google has provided more than $45 million in grants and thirty thousand hours of our employeesâ€™ time to help refugees,â€ he said at Atlantic Councilâ€™s Global Citizen Awards gala in New York City.
â€œWeâ€™ve also directly supported refugees and newcomers through our products. This is a cause thatâ€™s embedded in Googleâ€™s DNA and itâ€™s one I care deeply about,â€ Pichai added.
The Indian American CEO was honored with the Washington think tankâ€™s Global Citizen Award for â€œleading the companyâ€™s efforts to respond to Russiaâ€™s aggression and support refugees and displaced people throughout the world.â€
Pichai was among five recognized at the awards ceremony held on Sep 19 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Others honored were Finnish President Sauli NiinistÃ¶, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, and Forest Whitaker, an Academy Award-winning actor and UNESCO special envoy for peace and reconciliation.
The gala also recognized former Japanese Prime Minister ShinzÅ Abe, and the United Kingdomâ€™s longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away earlier this month.
â€œMore than twenty years ago I immigrated to the US,â€ Pichai recalled. â€œWhen I arrived, I was met with open-mindedness, tolerance, and acceptance, all of which helped ease my path.â€
â€œLooking back on that period of my life what I remember most are the people who made me feel welcome,â€ he said. â€œBecause of them, I started to feel as much a part of this country as I did growing up in India. It was my choice to come to the US.â€
â€œFor refugees, itâ€™s often not a choice at all. Thatâ€™s why we need to work even harder to make sure they feel supported on their journey,â€ Pichai noted.
The opportunity to help more people feel welcome is why he agreed to co-chair the CEO Council for Welcome.us, a nonprofit focused on welcoming Afghan and Ukrainian newcomers to the US.
Read: Sundar Pichai launches new $100 million Google Career Certificates FundÂ (February 18, 2022)
Pichai said the Council was focused on helping refugees with initial resettlement, matching people with jobs, and raising awareness via our megaphone as business leaders.
â€œThe goal is to create solutions that can be repeated and scaled,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s especially important at a time when there are more than a hundred million people displaced from their homes, a number that will only grow as the threats of climate change, food security, and economic uncertainty increase.â€
â€œAs we build a global response, we have a responsibility to ensure people everywhere can benefit from the opportunities technology creates, be it creating the infrastructure that widens access, advancing technologies that can enable progress, or making sure the internet remains free, open, and safe for everyone,â€ Pichai said.
â€œAcross all of this work, itâ€™s important that we are actively addressing the challenges of disinformation, cyberattacks, and other harms,â€ he said. â€œEqually, we must also remain optimistic about the power of technology to improve lives.â€
Earlier, introducing Pichai, Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab said by his special definition leadership comprises five dimensions: brain, soul, heart, muscles, and good nerves.
â€œAnd you, Sundar, are certainly one of the very few who excels in all of those five dimensions,â€ he said. â€œBut what really makes you a business statesman is your heart.â€
â€œYour passion and your compassion. And it has touched so many people around the world inside and outside of your company,â€ Schwab said noting Google helped to raise fifty million dollars in donations in response to Russiaâ€™s aggression against Ukraine.
Read: Highlights from the 2022 Global Citizen Awards (September 19, 2022)
â€œAs far as brains [are] concerned, Sundar, your credentials on the professional level are certainly extraordinary,â€ he said noting â€œGrowing [up] in Chennai and after your studies in India, you went on to receive a masterâ€™s degree from Stanford University and an MBA from Wharton School.â€
â€œYour joined Google as an employee in 2004 and became the CEO of Google in a little over ten years, in 2015. And soon afterwards, the CEO of Alphabet. I think this trajectory speaks for itself,â€ Schwab said.