Dick Simon is an American entrepreneur, social enterprise philanthropist, photographer and speaker, best known as co-Founder and Chair of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) Peace Action Network (PAN) and responsible for launching the kNOw THEM Initiative.
Dick Simon is the CEO of RSI, Inc., a Boston-based real estate development and investment management company. Based on his business activity, in 1998 Simon joined the Young/World Presidents’ Organization (YPO-WPO), an organization of over 24,000 CEO members in more than 150 countries whose combined businesses generate over 10% of the world’s GDP. Following his experiences on a yearlong, around-the-world trip he took with his wife and children in 1999, when the children were 6, 8 and 10 years old, and in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Simon realized he could make a difference through YPO-WPO by connecting international CEOs from opposite sides of conflict regions to address stereotypes and misconceptions of the other. Simon co-created YPO-WPO’s Peace Action Network to promote conflict resolution by engaging these business leaders on the opposite sides of conflicts such as Palestine/Israel, India/Pakistan, U.S/Middle East and Jewish/Arab-Muslim Americans, through the use of Forums, intimate and confidential groups of CEOs that are facilitated by a trained moderator. Simon also organizes and leads delegations of international CEOs to countries that are traditionally difficult to access and understood only as adversaries in the West, such as North Korea, Iran, Syria and Cuba, in order to meet with business, political, and religious leaders to hear local perspectives and their narratives of conflict. Simon’s work in YPO-WPO and PAN has earned him a place on Real Leaders Magazine’s list of “100 Visionary Leaders” and recognitions including YPO Global Humanitarian Award 2004, YPO Innovation and New Frontier Forum Awards 2003, and YPO Best of the Best 2005. In addition, Simon received Harvard Business School’s Making a Difference Award in 2005.