Pichai says Google has long supported immigrants, Dreamers, and refugees, a cause embedded in its DNA
Google and Alphabet’s Indian American CEO Sundar Pichai says his company has long supported immigrants, Dreamers, and refugees as it’s a cause that’s embedded in Google’s DNA and it’s one he cares deeply about.
“Since 2015, Google has provided more than $45 million in grants and thirty thousand hours of our employees’ time to help refugees,” he said at Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Awards gala in New York City.
“We’ve also directly supported refugees and newcomers through our products. This is a cause that’s embedded in Google’s DNA and it’s one I care deeply about,” Pichai added.
Read: Google products more helpful in the moments that matter: Sundar Pichai (May 13, 2022)
The Indian American CEO was honored with the Washington think tank’s Global Citizen Award for “leading the company’s efforts to respond to Russia’s aggression and support refugees and displaced people throughout the world.”
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 Niinistö, 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 Shinzō Abe, and the United Kingdom’s longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away earlier this month.
“More than twenty years ago I immigrated to the US,” Pichai recalled. “When I arrived, I was met with open-mindedness, tolerance, and acceptance, all of which helped ease my path.”
“Looking back on that period of my life what I remember most are the people who made me feel welcome,” he said. “Because 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.”
“For refugees, it’s often not a choice at all. That’s why we need to work even harder to make sure they feel supported on their journey,” 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 Fund (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.
“The goal is to create solutions that can be repeated and scaled,” he said. “It’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.”
“As 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,” Pichai said.
“Across all of this work, it’s important that we are actively addressing the challenges of disinformation, cyberattacks, and other harms,” he said. “Equally, we must also remain optimistic about the power of technology to improve lives.”
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.
“And you, Sundar, are certainly one of the very few who excels in all of those five dimensions,” he said. “But what really makes you a business statesman is your heart.”
“Your passion and your compassion. And it has touched so many people around the world inside and outside of your company,” Schwab said noting Google helped to raise fifty million dollars in donations in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Read: Highlights from the 2022 Global Citizen Awards (September 19, 2022)
“As far as brains [are] concerned, Sundar, your credentials on the professional level are certainly extraordinary,” he said noting “Growing [up] in Chennai and after your studies in India, you went on to receive a master’s degree from Stanford University and an MBA from Wharton School.”
“Your 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,” Schwab said.