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Getting Involved With the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

4 Jul, 2017

About

MISSION: The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation educates the global business community about how religious freedom is good for business, and engages the business community in joining forces with government and non-government organizations in promoting respect for freedom of religion or belief (FoRB).

Emphasis: The Foundation places emphasis on helping businesses foster interfaith understanding and peace.

VISION: The Foundation envisions a global future of innovative and sustainable economies where freedom of religion or belief and diversity are respected.

ACTIONS: The Foundation accomplishes its work through researchthe Empowerment+ initiativeglobal awardsworld forums, and education on how freedom of religion or belief is in the strategic interests of businesses and societies.

To get involved, please write, email or call the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation: 1A Perry Circle • Annapolis, MD 21402 USA (Tel: +1.410.268.7809; contact@religiousfreedomandbusiness.org).

Unique Role and Mission

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation is the first organization dedicated to educating businesses about why religious freedom will enable them to be more productive and successful, and how they can effectively incorporate religious freedom in their strategic business plans for the benefit of their stake holders, their employees and society.

The Foundation is a non-partisan charitable organization working with business people, academics, government officials and community leaders from multiple faiths (or of none) to accomplish its mission. The Foundation is a registered corporation and has IRS recognition as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization in the USA. It does not take a position on current political debates.


Membership

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation welcomes individual and institutional membership. To become a member, please contact Brian Grim, president of the foundation.

Membership benefits include:

  • → Full access to all RFBF research and resources.
  • → Monthly RFBF Executive Briefing on latest trends and resources related to religious freedom and business.
  • → VIP invitations to special RFBF events, including the biannual Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards.

RFBF Membership Levels include Contributor, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Students from Marriott School’s Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance Help Advance Religious Freedom

4 Jul, 2017

To assist with the recent influx of refugees in Europe, during the Fall 2016 semester a team of four BYU students worked with the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) to create a business plan for an interfaith business incubator in Manchester, England.


Pictured: Alex Oldroyd, Ellen Brotherson, and Fred (Wen Jie) Tan were on a Ballard Center Social Innovation Projects team that helped the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation create a business incubator.


The project aims to help refugees integrate into English society and become more self-reliant in their new homes. “The incubator is a place where young people from different faiths can come together and learn not just business skills but also how faith can be a strong motivation for doing well,” says RFBF president Brian Grim. Grim notes that the business plan was useful in helping the very first community-sponsored refugee family to England navigate issues of whether to start a private business or work for an existing business.

The initiative is one of many involving the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance’s Social Innovation Projects, an on-campus internship program that allows students to work with social innovation organizations.

In previous semesters, Ballard Center Social Innovation Projects teams helped RFBF plan and implement Empowerment+, a social cohesion and enterprise initiative in Manchester, England.

Empowerment+ interfaith action groups are communities of people helping each other gain practical life and career skills that focus on more than just finding a job, but on a vocation that is meaningful and fulfilling.

Empowerment+ (plus) is not just about receiving love and help but also about the transformative opportunity to become part of a neighborly faith-inspired community that loves and helps others, including immigrants and refugees.

Empowerment+ has three interconnected interfaith elements: Launching Leaders, Find a Better Job, and My Foundation.

The inspiration for Empowerment+ comes from the famous story about loving our neighbors – The Good Samaritan. Although the Good Samaritan was a foreigner with a foreign religion, his care for the man left to die by the side of the road is the example of love we are called to show to others regardless of their faith or background.

The first class of Empowerment+ graduated in January. Below is a video from the graduation, which was keynoted by the former Manchester United coach, Sir Alex Ferguson.

Advancing Religious Freedom Through Business

4 Jul, 2017

Brian Grim will present the following at a Brigham Young University on July 6, 2017.


Recently, my colleague from Georgetown University’s School of Management, Paul Lambert, and I made the case for why religious freedom is good for business at the Utah World Trade Center. With his permission, I’ll begin by summarizing six points he made:

1. Globalizing World: The world is becoming more religious (Pew expects 80% of world population will consider itself religious by 2050). Secularization theory isn’t right on this. In order to connect with critical stakeholders in a globalized marketplace, religion must be taken into account. This includes recruiting the most talented workforce (many of which come from very religious countries), connecting with customers in religious areas, etc. Think of the tech industry that increasingly built upon the skills of young 25 to 35 year-old Muslims and Hindus.

2. Young talent is increasingly attracted to companies with a “great place to work” reputation. Businesses receive such a distinction in large part for their policies around work-life balance, personal life accommodation (including religion), environment, etc. With an increasingly diverse religious demographic, businesses must build an environment where religious diversity is welcome.

3. Diversity, including religious diversity, increases factors that lead to business success, such as innovation. I am citing your study here: Brian Grim, Greg Clark, Robert Snyder, “Is Religious Freedom Good for Business?: A Conceptual and Empirical Analysis,” Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, Vol. 10 (2014).

4. Practical and prudent in today’s world. Having policies that embrace religious diversity and create religious accommodation help businesses avoid workplace discrimination, harassment and eventual legal trouble that follows. (Abercrombie case)

5. Religious freedom is associated with greater economic stability and created an environment for economic stability. Economic stability leads to economic prosperity, which leads to increased investment and further business opportunities.

6. Religious freedom is part of the greater trend for equal rights for all. The timing is right for business to act.


Indeed, Freedom of Religion or Belief is an internationally recognized human right. Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

However, 36% of American workers report experiencing or witnessing workplace religious discrimination, according to a recent Tanenbaum survey, “What American Workers Really Think about Religion.”

The most successful businesses encourage an environment in which employees can bring their “full self” to work. Employees need to feel comfortable being who they are in the workplace, including being true to their core identity and beliefs. That includes recognizing and respecting an employee’s religion and its practice.

In today’s increasingly more competitive business environment, companies will need to draw upon the talent and experience of every employee. They can’t afford to leave anyone out. If they exclude or alienate someone for reasons having nothing to do with a person’s ability to do the job, they might also be excluding the next great business solution or the next great product idea. The very thing a company might need for its success. At the very least, they’ll be missing out on lots of really great talent.

And as companies become increasingly more global, they’ll need employees who reflect the increasing diversity of their customers. They’ll need employees who can relate to the daily experience of customers and who can see the customer point of view. For potentially billions of customers, religious belief and practice are a part of daily life. Having employees who understand that will not only help companies avoid costly missteps, it will also help companies develop products and services better tailed to customer needs. That’s an essential part of being competitive.


The Corporate Pledge

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation provides a resource to help businesses respect and therefore advance religious freedom: The Corporate Pledge on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB).

The Corporate Pledge in Support of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) — which supports religious diversity and freedom in the workplace — sends two clear messages to current and prospective employees: (1) You can work here without changing who you are; and (2) the company respects all employees and will not favor certain employees over others … and that’s good for the business of all.

The FoRB Pledge is one component of a company’s overall strategy to value its employees and increase their loyalty for the benefit of customers and shareholders. The FoRB Pledge is a company’s public commitment to take reasonable steps to ensure that working at the company does not put employees at odds with their deeply held religious convictions.


Supporting Resources:

These documents offer templates and sample language that businesses can use to ensure that freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) is respected by the company in its external and internal dealings.

The sample corporate documents include:

  • – Corporate Charter Statements
  • – Employee Policy
  • – External Policies
  • – Corporate Pledge
  • – Best Practices
  • – Appendix: Draft resolutions of the governing body to approve changes to corporate charters

You can download a non-logo “Company version” of the following PowerPoint for use in your own presentations.

You can insert your own company logo in the top right of each slide.

The FoRB Pledge – Company version


THE FORB PLEDGE

(1) Promoting Sustainable and Innovative Business Through Protecting Freedom of Religion or Belief

[COMPANY] affirms that freedom of religion or belief (“FoRB”) is a fundamental right.* [COMPANY] also recognizes that religious freedom promotes sustainable and innovative businesses, contributes to human flourishing, and results in peaceful and stable societies. For these reasons, and with a vision of a future of innovative and sustainable economies where FoRB and diversity are respected, [COMPANY] strives to be a leader in promoting and protecting FoRB in its workplace and communities. [COMPANY] will not tolerate abuses of religious freedom within its sphere of influence. 

(2) Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment on the Basis of Religion or Belief

[COMPANY] respects each individual’s rights to freedom of religion or belief, provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion or belief. This prohibition on religious discrimination applies to all aspects of employment including, without limitation, recruitment, interviewing, hiring, training, job assignments, promotions, demotions, compensation, benefits, transfers, terminations. [COMPANY] will take appropriate action upon receiving a report consistent with its general non-harassment and non-discrimination policy.

 (3) Religious Accommodation and Inclusion

[COMPANY] promotes a religiously inclusive environment where each employee’s beliefs are recognized and respected, but where religion or belief is not a matter of force or coercion. Consistent with this policy, an employee may seek, and [COMPANY] will provide, a reasonable religious accommodation that does not create an undue hardship on [COMPANY]’s business if his or her religious beliefs, observances, practices, or requirements conflict with his or her job, work schedule, [COMPANY]’s policy or practice on dress and appearance, or with other aspects of employment.

(4) Protecting and Promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in Our Communities

[COMPANY] strives to be a leader in promoting and protecting freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) among its stakeholders and in the broader community. [COMPANY] gives priority to business partners, suppliers, and contractors who share [COMPANY]’s values, including FoRB. [COMPANY] supports their efforts to promote these values through their business activities. Among other practices that are consistent with this policy, [COMPANY] will strive to support local, national and global initiatives that promote FoRB, and may refrain from doing business with or investing in companies and governments that restrict FoRB.

[SIGNATURE & COMPANY DETAILS]

Soft Launch of the Pledge

CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, Senator Gordon H. Smith, gave the keynote at the Washington DC Jan. 12th launch of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s Corporate Pledge (photos by Maria Byrk/Newseum Institute).

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation co-hosted this event with the Newseum Institute’s Religious Freedom Center and the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in anticipation of the President’s annual declaration of January 16th as Religious Freedom Day, calling upon Americans to observe this day through appropriate events and activities.

High level panelists* discussed how businesses can successfully negotiate religious freedom and workplace issues. In an era when millennials are especially concerned for fairness and equality for all, respecting the religion and beliefs of employees is not only fair and good policy, but is also good for business.

Sen. Gordon Smith - Business_&_Religious_Freedom_Event_1.12.2015_106At the event, CEOs, representatives of major companies, heads of trade and commerce organizations, and the media were introduced to a nonpartisan corporate pledge on religious nondiscrimination and inclusion in the workplace. This new resource and its associated resource documents will align with core American values of religious freedom while creating a more inclusive work environment that leverages religious diversity.


*Other speakers included Joyce S. Dubensky, Esq., CEO, Tanenbaum; Richard T. Foltin, Director, National and Legislative Affairs in American Jewish Committee’s Office of Government and International Affairs; Charles C. Haynes, Vice President Newseum Institute / Religious Freedom Center and a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center; Dwayne Leslie, Associate Director in the Department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty and Director of Legislative Affairs for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; Daniel Mach, Director, ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief; and Zainab Al-Suwaij, Executive Director and a co-founder of the American Islamic Congress (AIC).

G20 Interfaith Summit Certificate Course

12 May, 2017

The G20 is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies. Each year, faith is addressed at the G20 Interfaith Summit. This year, the G20 Interfaith Summit Association is proud to offer an add-on certificate course.

On Saturday, 17 June 2017, Brian J. Grim of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation will offer a one-day Empowerment+ Facilitator training and certificate programme. The training will give access to largely free resources that benefit refugees, immigrants, and others in need.

Self-reliance & Empowerment Course for Refugees

The Empowerment Plus Facilitator programme will train and certify participants to facilitate two of the three Empowerment+ courses, Find a Better Job and Launching Leaders, and will introduce attendees to the Master of Business on the Streets (MBS).*

  • — Saturday, June 17, 09:30-16:00
  • — University of Potsdam, Germany
  • — €275/$290, incl. general admission to G20 Interfaith Summit (15-17 June)

Participants will receive a certificate of completion and a permit to use the Empowerment+ resources, most of which are totally free. All proceeds to go to the G20 Interfaith Summit Association.

In January, Sir Alex Ferguson was on hand to give out certificates of completion to the Manchester UK participants of the interfaith course – a mix of Catholic, Muslim and Mormon students.

The attendees at the ceremony consisted of the mentors on the course (also from a range of religious traditions), and dignitaries.

Dignitaries present included Roman Catholic Bishop John Arnold (Salford Diocese), former Greater Manchester Chief of Police Sir Peter Fahy, Mohammed Ullah (honorary Muslim Chaplain to the Manchester Universities), Mormon Bishop Sean Roberts, Launching Leaders USA Executive Director Michael Leonard, Greater Manchester Citizens Community Organiser Furqan Naeem,  Catholic Chaplain Fr Tim Byron SJ, and Brian Grim, President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation.


* The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation offers these course together with partners, including Launching Leaders and Interweave Solutions (MBS), both non-profit charitable organizations working worldwide. My Foundations and Find a Better Job are interfaith versions of a successful self-reliance program operated worldwide by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to help their own members. The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, a registered non-denominational charity in the United States, is grateful to the LDS Church for the opportunity to adapt the materials in collaboration with multiple faith communities for this interfaith initiative.



 

 

 

Religious Freedom in Indonesia: Address by Amb. Robert Blake

28 Apr, 2017

Religious Freedom in Indonesia

By Ambassador Robert Blake,*  April 27, 2017


Roundtable discussion hosted by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, Indonesia’s Leimena Institute, and the Newseum Institute’s Religious Freedom Center.


It is a pleasure to participate in this discussion of Religious Freedom in Indonesia.  Let me extend my thanks to the organizers and the Newseum.

This session is timely because religion played an important, perhaps decisive role in the Jakarta gubernatorial elections, as Islamic hardliners rallied support against the sitting Governor Ahok who is a double minority so many wonder whether this portends a longer term trend that will erode Indonesia long tradition of tolerance.

Indonesia’s founding fathers were firm that Indonesia must define itself as a pluralist, multi-religious state when they declared independence in 1945.

— The constitution guarantees freedom of religion and the right to worship according to one’s own beliefs.

— Indonesia recognizes six religious groups: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism.

— But members of unofficial groups have the right to establish a place of worship, register marriages and births, and obtain national identity cards.

The State Department and respected independent groups such as the Wahid Institute in Indonesia have documented a decline in tolerance in recent years.

This reflects several factors in my view:

— An increase in discrimination and attacks against unrecognized sects such as Shia and Ahmadis;

— A failure of the State enforcement institutions such as the police to take quick action to stop such attacks and a tendency for the police to view their role as one of preventing violence rather than protecting legal and constitutional rights;

— A tendency on the part of many politicians and even influential groups such as Mohammedia and Nahdatul Ulama to not condemn such actions and the activities of hardline groups such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) for fear of being portrayed as anti-Islamic; and

— The growing use, or misuse of social media.

Overall, however, I remain convinced that the vast majority of Indonesians are tolerant and believe in religious freedom.  But it is very important that politicians of all stripes unite now to reaffirm the importance of tolerance and religious freedom as President Jokowi did a few days ago.

This matters not just for Indonesia but for the wider Islamic world because Indonesia must sustain its role as an example of tolerance at a time when much of the rest of the Muslim world faces great challenges to democracy and religious freedom.


* Ambassador Robert Blake served for 31 years in the State Department in a wide range of leadership positions. In 2009, he was nominated by President Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, serving from 2009-2013, for which he was awarded the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award. From 2006-2009, he served concurrently as U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in India from 2003-2006, where he was named the worldwide DCM of the Year by the State Department. Most recently, from 2013-2016, he was the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, where he focused on building stronger business and educational ties between the U.S. and Indonesia, while also developing cooperation to help Indonesia reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ambassador Blake heads McLarty Associates India & South Asia practice, supporting their Southeast Asia and Central Asia practices.



Photos: Maria Bryk, Newseum

Engaging Global Leaders

18 Apr, 2017
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Beginning this week (at the National Press Club in Washington DC) and over the coming months (from Utah to NYC to Oxford University to Cascais to Italy to Germany to South Korea), I’ll be speaking on the socio-economic benefits of religious liberty at global and national events involving top business, government and religious leaders.

You can find the details by following the links below. Also, at the end you can see my report from Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon and our global film competition.

I hope our paths may cross along the way!

Brian Grim, RFBF President

 

Engaging Business Leaders on Trust

Brian Grim will chair a plenary on developing trust at one of world’s foremost gatherings of business leaders, the Hoarsis Global Meeting, May 28-29, in Cascais, Portugal. Joining Grim are Cardinal Peter Turkson, Canon Sarah Snyder, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Elder Neil L. Andersen (pictured, clockwise from top left).




Washington DC

Grim will discuss the cost of freedom denied on April 20 at “Under Caesar’s Sword,” a one-day symposium on contemporary Christian responses to persecution. National Press Club, Washington DC.


Q – Nashville

Brian Grim & Byron Johnson show how faith-based organizations renew civil society at a time when 46% of Americans believe religion is part of society’s problem. See them on Apr. 26 in Nashville at the Q Conference, Nashville, an annual meeting of young leaders intent on envisioning Christianity’s future role in society.


Positive Peace, Oxford

What role does business play in promoting interfaith understanding, religious freedom and peace? Join Grim at Oxford University on May 6th for the annual OxPeace conference to find out.


World Trade Center

On May 18, Brian Grim will speak to the board of the Utah World Trade Center encouraging them to support the Corporate Pledge on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB). The pledge was soft-launched last year at the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Center in Wash. DC.


South Korea

Grim will participate at the end of June in a UNESCO working group in Seoul, South Korea, to address the rise of nationalism and its impact on peace, cohesion and global citizenship — vital topics given the situation in North Korea today.


G20 Interfaith Summit

Grim will speak in Germany at the Interfaith G20 Summit (June 15-17), which brings together experts on economy, law and politics, as well as global leaders to highlight the key role that religion and religious freedom plays in promoting Sustainable Development.


Emerging Leaders

Grim will address 50 emerging global leaders on the economic benefits of freedom of religion and belief at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, July 23, sponsored by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. One aim is to develop a network of high-potential students engaged on the topic.


Syrian Refugee Camps

The scale and depth of the tragedy is hard to comprehend: millions facing little or no chance of employment, education or mobility. Amidst this great need, there are reasons for hope.


Global Film Competition Now Open

Religious Freedom Film Competition Promo from RF Film Competition on Vimeo.

G20 Interfaith Summit – Germany

17 Apr, 2017

Brian Grim will speak in Germany at the Interfaith G20 Summit (June 15-17), which brings together experts on economy, law and politics, as well as global leaders to highlight the key role that religion and religious freedom plays in promoting Sustainable Development. Grim has previously participated in Interfaith G20 Summits in Brisbane and Istanbul.


The impact of Interfaith Summits has been acknowledged by G8 leaders in the past and G20 leaders of today. The Interfaith Summit will bring together experts on economy, law and politics, as well as global leaders from various religious, professional and humanitarian backgrounds to highlight the key role that religion plays in promoting aspects of achievement of the United Nation’s post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals that Germany has chosen to highlight during this year’s G20 Summit. Special attention will be paid to issues surrounding the refugee crisis, addressing issues of religious extremism, and addressing other issues such as the environment, where religious voices have much to contribute.

Objective

The objective of the G20 Interfaith Summit is to facilitate peace and harmony between people of all religious and philosophical traditions while exploring ways to work together to strengthen human development understood in the broadest sense. This is important because religion plays a major role in global events today, but its role is complex and can easily be misunderstood or even overlooked as a factor on the global stage. By focusing on a series of concrete issues that are much in the public eye, we hope to suggest a variety of ways that religion can contribute to enhanced responses to crucial social challenges.

Participants

The annual G20 Interfaith Summit brings together opinion leaders such as scholars, lawyers and political leaders with faith and interfaith leaders from around the world for three days of discussion and dialogue as a substantial contribution to the G20 Economic Forum. Such a gathering showcases the scholarly and societal contributions of faith traditions and philosophies from around the world. Furthermore, this conference creates opportunities for communication and relationship building and raises the profile of participating communities, groups and organizations. Summary videos and programs of previous events can be viewed here.

For more information, check out the concept paper for the 2017 by clicking here. Details continue to be added, so please check back often.

South Korea – UNESCO

17 Apr, 2017

“Nationalistic perspectives and their implications for global citizenship education”

28-29 June 2017 (Seoul, R.O.K.)


Brian Grim will participate at the end of June in a UNESCO working group in Seoul, South Korea, to address the rise of nationalism and its impact on peace, cohesion and global citizenship — vital topics given the situation in North Korea today.


Organized by UNESCO-Headquarters, the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KNCU) & the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU)

Background

There are strong indications that in various regions of the world populist nationalisms and economic protectionism are on the rise.

According to recent reports and studies, globalization in trade is in retreat. Sentiments of support towards nationalist parties and movements (extreme and not so extreme)  are being fueled by sharp concerns about unemployment rates and rising income inequalities, as well as negative attitudes towards globalization and immigrants[i].

These political and economic trends seem to be profoundly opposed to what UNESCO’s Global Citizenship Education has been promoting, namely an education that should aim to empower learners to assume active roles to face and resolve global challenges and to become proactive contributors to a more tolerant, inclusive, peaceful and secure world.

Paradoxically, in this context, we are witnessing an unprecedented global commitment to quality education and its pivotal role in lifting the disenfranchised out of poverty and accelerating the achievement of peace and sustainable development[ii].

In order to explore these contrasting trends and related issues, UNESCO is convening a consultation seminar with a small group of experts from around the world.


[i] http://www.economist.com/news/international/21710276-all-around-world-nationalists-are-gaining-ground-why-league-nationalists; 19 November 2016 and http://www.economist.com/news/21631966-bad-news-international-co-operation-nationalism-back; 13 Nov 2014; http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2013/05/Pew-Research-Center-Global-Attitudes-Project-European-Union-Report-FINAL-FOR-PRINT-May-13-2013.pdf The New sick Man of Europe : the European union ; Pew Global Attitudes Project, PewResearch Center. May 13, 2013

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/john-wight/nationalism-europe_b_5393841.html; 26 July 2014; http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/09/politics/bill-clinton-yitzhak-rabin-world/index.html;   9 March 2017

[ii] During the global post-2015 MDG consultation process in 2013-2014 a “good education” was voted as the top priority, before better health care and good governance in MY WORLD, a United Nations global survey aiming to capture priorities for the next set of global goals to end poverty. See: http://data.myworld2015.org . This trend supported unprecedented process that led to the integration of Global Citizenship Education in the SDG Framework under Goal 4 (Target 4.7)

World Trade Center – Utah

17 Apr, 2017

On May 18, Brian Grim will invite the board of directors of the Utah World Trade Center to support the Corporate Pledge on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB). The FoRB Pledge was soft-launched last year at the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Center in Wash. DC.

The FoRB Pledge — which supports religious diversity and freedom in the workplace — sends two clear messages to current and prospective employees: (1) You can work here without changing who you are; and (2) the company respects all employees and will not favor certain employees over others … and that’s good for the business of all.

The FoRB Pledge is one component of a company’s overall strategy to value its employees and increase their loyalty for the benefit of customers and shareholders. The FoRB Pledge is a company’s public commitment to take reasonable steps to ensure that working at the company does not put employees at odds with their deeply held religious convictions.


The mission of World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) is to help Utah companies think, act and succeed globally. WTC Utah accomplishes this mission through four key objectives:

  • – Motivate and educate Utah businesses to expand their global presence through training seminars, regional forums and newsletters focused on international business development, trade issues and export opportunities.
  • – Build capacity of Utah businesses for international trade through B2B consultations to identify expansion goals, assess current capabilities, determine overseas opportunities and connect companies with market experts and potential partners.
  • – Expand global network of Utah businesses with foreign trade officials through networking opportunities with ambassadors, consuls general and diplomats from all around the world.
  • – Support partners in strengthening Utah’s international business economy through trade missions, trade shows, foreign direct investment efforts and free trade advocacy.

World Trade Center Utah is a licensed and certified member of the World Trade Centers Association, a network of more than 300 World Trade Centers in 100 countries around the world focused on facilitating prosperity through trade and investment.

Relationship Between Democracy, Religion and Freedom

17 Apr, 2017

Saturday, June 3 9 AM –

“With the sword in one hand and the trowel in the other” – a conversation about rights and religious freedom.

In a world characterized by an increasingly secular culture, the Festival aims to show that the cultures and values born from religions may represent the strongest response against extremism and lack of existential sense. The Festival wants to offer an answer to the inability to deal with a real world where the presence of religious men is growing.

In Europe, this inability is generated by an increasing number of people that forms themselves without ever being connected or having deepened the religious culture. Interfaith dialogue does not only involves people who profess a particular faith. It closely affects many aspects of everyday life and, engages believers and non-believers. The practice of dialogue requires the value of freedom of religion. From this point of view we must reflect on the relationship between democracy and religion, from the crisis of two elements that have characterized modernity: the secular state and the perception of faith as exclusively private.

The dialogue does not exclude the dimension of the fight: there are identities, histories and values that must be preserved with “sword in hand” with the desire to return to build a new dimension in relations between believers and non-believers: a more human dimension, which needs to be built with the “trowel in hand.”

Speakers:

  • – Franco Frattini, President of SIOI (Italian Society for International Organization)
  • – Brian Grim, President of the Freedom of Religion and Business Foundation
  • – Card. Jean Louis Tauran, President of The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue