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Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Global Ball is Rolling for Religious Freedom & Business

26 Sep, 2014
UPDATED: OCT. 20 – The coupling of religious freedom & business provides solutions to the world’s pressing socio-economic problems. Religious Freedom & Business Foundation President Grim is discussing these solutions at major events across the world.
CURRENT

PictureBoston area, Oct. 20

God, Globalization, and The Good Society In Asia Today Oct. 20 – A one-day conference sponsored by The Review of Faith & International Affairs at the Institute for Global Engagement and the Center for Faith and Inquiry at Gordon College.


PictureWashington, DC, Oct. 22

Washington, DC: Grim has led a decade’s worth of ambitious global studies of religion. He will discuss the results of his research that empirically show that religious freedom, when protected by governments and respected by citizens, results in better business and economies

  • The research also shows that business respect for and encouragement of religious freedom pays dividends in peace and stability as well as provides benefits to the bottom line.

UPCOMING

PictureMilan, Italy, Oct. 17

Is Religious Freedom Good for Business? Grim will discuss a new study finding that religious freedom is one of only three factors significantly associated with global economic growth. The study looked at GDP growth for 173 countries in 2011 and controlled for two-dozen different financial, social, and regulatory influences.

  • Istituto Bruno Leoni – 11:00 – Piazza Castello, 23 Milano

PictureBristol, London, Oxford, Oct 13-16

ZUTSHI-SMITH MEMORIAL LECTURE: THE PRAGMATIC CASE FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF, University of Bristol, UK. Grim’s Oct. 13 lecture will be followed by a panel discussion with Baroness Elizabeth Berridge and Professor Roger Trigg. On Oct. 14, Grim will have meetings at University of Oxford.

  • Oct. 15, Grim will speak at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London

PictureWith Brazilians & Sen. Hatch, BYU, Oct. 3-10

Grim is speaking at a series of events at BYU Law School and the Marriott School of Management. He will address delegates from dozens of countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

  • U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch delivered the keynote.

PictureHelsinki, Oct. 1

Grim met with leaders of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission on October 1st in Helsinki to make further plans for the waste-to-wealth project – a sustainable business in Pakistan and/or Nepal to empower the Dalit communities.

  • Dalits are members of the so-called untouchable Hindu caste. A number of Dalits in India, Pakistan and Nepal have converted to other faiths, including Islam & Christianity.

PictureIstanbul, Turkey, Sept. 29-30

Grim joined over 100 leaders from business, civil society, the UN, think tanks and Global Compact Local Networks on 29-30 September in Istanbul, Turkey for the Inaugural Business for Peace Annual Event.

  • Grim led a panel on “pathways to peace through diversity and inclusion” with Dr. Yilmaz Arguden, Chairman of the Global Compact Network in Turkey.

PictureWashington, DC, Sept. 26

Grim, other social scientists, met for Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project Economic Working Group. The group focuses on the impact of religious freedom on economic freedom, political economy, and development.


Media inquiries, contact Melissa Grim, melissa@religiousfreedomandbusiness.org

  • Stay up to date with the Foundation’s Newsletter

Review of Practical Wisdom in Management

13 Sep, 2014

Review Author: Melissa Grim

Practical Wisdom in Management, by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, is the first in-depth and comprehensive case study book to explore how practical wisdom from spiritual and philosophical traditions inspires corporate leadership and permeates many corporate cultures.

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Discount Code: RFBF4

Covering ten major worldwide religions, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the practical wisdom of the major faith traditions for management. Practical Wisdom is designed for the classroom and includes in-depth and informative case studies of 28 multinational corporations, analyzed with an emphasis on their values and spiritual inspiration, alongside business and strategic issues.

The book starts with a look at companies and organizations that have incorporated Catholic Social Thought with great success. For instance, Group DANONE is a French food-products multinational that is the leading dairy products company in the world. DANONE focuses not just on profitability but on social justice as well, and hires like-minded individuals. One manifestation of this is the Danone International Prize for Nutrition, which honors individuals or teams that have made advances in the science of human nutrition, one aspect of taking care of the person as a “whole.”

Grameen Bank, a highly successful for-profit bank, is owned almost entirely by its borrowers. Created by Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus, he took seriously the Muslim call for charity for the poor. However, he saw fellow citizens in an endless cycle of debt. After spending decades on the problem, he developed a system that took the belief in charity, and gave the poor not temporary handouts, but a means to get out of debt and start their own businesses. He won the prestigious Peace Prize in 2006.

Yunus’ critique of modern day economics, which led to his innovation, was that: “Many of the problems in the world remain unresolved because we continue to interpret capitalism too narrowly. In this narrow interpretation we create a one-dimensional human being to play the role of entrepreneur. We insulate him from other dimensions of life, such as, religious, emotional, political dimensions.”

Infosys Limited (INFY) is a NASDAQ listed global technology services company, headquartered in Bangalore, India. It has become the second largest IT exporter in India with more than 160,000 employees. Infosys has shown remarkable growth and has received a number of accolades over the last two decades, including best employer. In founding INFY, founder Murphy held above all that he wanted to created an ethical business informed by his Hindu beliefs. Murphy’s guiding ethical and business principle is the Golden Rule, to do unto others, as you would have them do to you.

By the end of 2010, Whole Foods’ growth and leadership position in the natural and organic grocery food market was well established. The company is well known for being a values-based, mission-driven organization that regularly earned distinction among Fortune 500 companies for its employee-friendly culture and policies. It’s founder and CEO, John Mackey, has studied religion and philosophy extensively, and has been greatly informed by Buddhism incorporating the focus on moderation and health as a means to enlightenment. As such Whole Foods has a business model that is aimed at promoting human happiness and well being.

Kraft Foods is a manufacturing giant present in over 150 countries and over 99% of U.S. households. Kraft Foods boasts a unique humanistic version of servant leadership. CEO Irene Rosenfeld identifies servant leadership as central to Kraft’s management framework. Rosenfeld strongly emphasizes the value of servant leadership in corporate management. “The people that work with me understand . . . I am there to help them, not for them to help me.”  Kraft has relied on value-based product offerings as a source of growth through marketing and innovation.

Conclusion: This book will be valuable reading for MBA students and students of business ethics and spirituality in business courses, as well as business leaders looking to integrate religious values into their organization. In fact as the book notes, New York-based branding firm BBMG reports that contemporary consumers are increasingly values-conscious; that is, they care about whether the companies they buy from and products they consume reflect or support moral values they espouse. So the reading of this book is timely.

Peres Calls on Pope Francis to Unite Religions to Combat Terror

5 Sep, 2014

By Pasquale Annicchino

Soon after Pope Francis was elected, a TEDx conference at the Vatican documented the rising tide of religious hostilities in the world. Since that time, religious hostilities have only risen.

At the Vatican yesterday, ANSA reports that former Israeli President Shimon Peres proposed the formation of a “United Religions” organization to combat terrorism. “The UN has had its time,” Peres was quoted as saying by Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana. “What we need is an organization of United Religions, the UN of religions.”

“It would be the best way to combat these terrorists who kill in the name of their faith, because most people are not like them, they practise their religions without killing anyone, without even thinking about it. I think that there should be a charter of the United Religions, just like there is the UN Charter. The new charter would serve to establish in the name of all the faiths that slitting people’s throats or conducting mass slaughters, like the ones we have seen in recent weeks, has nothing to do with religion. This is what I proposed to the pope,” said Peres.

In a period a growing restrictions on religious freedom, the call from President Peres is an important reminder of the role and contribution that religious and belief groups can make to public life. They can not only inform our daily policy making, but also contribute to a commom higher call to the respect of human dignity against the instrumentalization of religion to justify terrorist acts.

If President Peres moves forward with his proposal, he deservers the greatest attention from the international community, including the business community. Indeed, religious restrictions and hostilities not only affect peace and security, they also jeopardize the socio-economic future of societies around the globe, according to the latest research.

Also, a recent publication documents several ways the business community is involved in fostering interfaith understanding and peace.

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