Faith and business are powerful forces for peace

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Budapest Religious Freedom & Security Conference

20 May, 2016

BudapestToday in Budapest, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation President Brian Grim (pictured) discussed the global security challenges posed by declining respect for the universally recognized human right of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB). His talk was part of an international Religious Freedom and Security Conference held at the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, May 20-21, 2016.

Grim’s talk covered several key themes:

Situation: Religious populations are growing worldwide, making religion a bigger part of public life in the years ahead.

Problem: Today, more 75% of people live with high religious restrictions. These religious restrictions and hostilities adversely impact businesses in every region of the globe. Religion-related hostilities in the Middle East, South Asia, Russia and China disrupt markets and production. Religious prejudices stigmatize women and keep them out of the marketplace in counties as diverse as Turkey and France. And fears of offending religious or cultural norms – including secular norms – impede innovation and stifle entrepreneurial spirit in the West and the rest of the world.

Solution: Corporate engagement on religious freedom can turn the tide when coupled with government and social initiatives. Business support for religious freedom will result in more peaceful, trustworthy and stable economies. Where there is stability, there is more opportunity to invest, especially in emerging/new markets. And where there is freedom of conscience in the market place – including the freedom to live out the Golden Rule and bring belief systems to the proverbial table – this promotes honoring the sanctity of the contract. It also fosters more trust within a company and enlarges public trust toward a company, enhancing its brand image and benefiting the bottom line.


Co-Organizers of the conference include the Central European University, Department of Legal Studies, Hungary, and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, United States.

Other participants included Renata Uitz, Professor, Legal Studies Department, CEU; Husain Haqqani, Former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States; Currently Director for South and Central Asia, Hudson Institute, Washington D.C.; W. Cole Durham, Jr., Professor, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University; Christopher Marsh, Professor of National Security and Strategic Studies at the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Jennifer S. Bryson, Director of Operations and Development, Center for Islam and Religious Freedom; Lucian Leustean, Reader in Politics and International Relations at Aston University, Birmingham; Amos Guiora, Professor of Law, University of Utah College of Law, Salt Lake City, Utah; Kishan Manocha, Senior Adviser on Freedom of Religion or Belief, OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Warsaw; Dilnoza Satarova, Associate Officer on Freedom of Religion or Belief, OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Warsaw; Jeffrey Haynes, Director of Faculty Research and Professor of Politics, Centre for the Study of Religion, Conflict and Cooperation, London Metropolitan University; Brett G. Scharffs, Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University; John Smith, Vice President for Cybersecurity and Privacy Law, Raytheon Corporation and General Counsel of Raytheon’s Global Business Services Division; James Patton, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Office, International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, Washington, D.C.