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Case Studies: Business For Peace

Finalists for The Global Business & Interfaith Peace Award 2016 from Religious Freedom & Business Foundation on Vimeo.

RIO DE JANEIRO — Seven business men and women from around the world were honored on Sept. 6, 2016, for their work in interfaith relations, including three Americans. All of the leaders were recognized for using their businesses to bridge cultural and religious divides.

Winners of the first-ever Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards were awarded with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in a ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 6, a day before the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games. The sole Gold Medal went to Indonesian businessman Y.W. Junardy, President Commissioner, PT Rajawali Corpora, for his facilitation of thousands of marriages for poor Indonesians of all faiths, providing their families with the legal status necessary to advance in Indonesian society.

A Silver Medal was awarded to Don Larson, founder and CEO of Sunshine Nut Company in Mozambique, who works across faith and cultural lines to revive the country’s cashew business. Brittany Underwood, founder and president of AKOLA in Texas, U.S., and Uganda, tied for a Silver Medal. Underwood promotes gender equality and religious freedom by employing Ugandan women to create fashion jewelry. Underwood also created a Dallas-based organization that employs women who have survived human trafficking.

Four Bronze Medals were awarded. One went to Jonathan Berezovsky, CEO of Migraflix in Brazil, who helps immigrants and refugees integrate into Brazil through facilitating cultural exchanges between them and the local community. Fouad Makhzoumi, the CEO of Future Pipe Industries Group Ltd., in the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon, promotes religious freedom through microcredit and vocational training to help over 10,000 Lebanese of all faiths set up sustainable businesses. H. Bruce McEver, co-founder and chairman of Berkshire Capital Securities LLC in New York London, has a foundation which works to cultivate inter-religious understanding through the promotion of religious literacy. Emma Nicholson, Baroness of Winterbourne, executive chairman of the Iraq Britain Business council and founder and chairman of AMAR Foundation in the U.K. and Iraq, works to build business, technology, trade and investment in Iraq, with a special focus on women of religious minorities, such as Yazidis.

Grim said the finalists, who include Christians, Jews, Muslims and the religiously unaffiliated, exemplify the mission of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation – to show that religious freedom is vital to a fertile business climate.