Dear Friends and Colleagues,
On Monday, I’m flying to Beijing to speak about religion and the rule of law at a seminar for law professionals sponsored by the Pu Shi Institute for Social Sciences and Peking University Law School’s Center for Administrative and Constitutional Law. Pu Shi is an independent, non-governmental Chinese think tank studying issues related to religion and law, and has been holding these seminars, which I regularly participate in, for the better part of a decade.
From Beijing, I’ll continue to the UK, where our Manchester team is actively preparing to pilot our interfaith Empowerment+ social cohesion and enterprise initiative. The initiative sets people free to love and serve their neighbors as they help each other develop practical leadership, job and business skills that empower participants spiritually and temporally. An aim of the initiative is to include local business “incubation” that can be scaled up globally at low cost.
From Manchester, I’ll head to Rio for ongoing preparations with our Brazil team for the Sept. 6th Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards co-sponsored with the UN Global Compact B4P. Two of our finalists were just profiled in the media: (1) former super model-turned-business exec, Kathy Ireland, is covered in celebrity magazine Look to the Stars; and (2) former top Hershey exec-turned-entrepreneur in Mozambique, Don Larson, is profiled in Forbes.
And Italy is next on the horizon. On Aug. 20, at the Rimini Meeting, we will highlight the Marrakesh Declaration on the rights of religious minorities in Muslim lands, bringing special greetings from its chief author and noted scholar, Shaykh Bin Bayyah. Last year 800,000 attended the Rimini Meeting, which also featured one of the Global Business & Interfaith Peace Award finalists, Fouad Makhzoumi.
Also of note, our Global Awards press release has over 36,000 “Likes” on Facebook, indicating great interest in how business can advance interfaith understanding, religious freedom & peace.
Finally, as you’ll see in the press release for our third annual Yearbook of International Religious Demography (Brill), the latest data indicate that dramatic religious and economic shifts will impact our planet in the decades ahead, emphasizing all the more the importance of interfaith understanding and the demonstrated contribution of religious freedom to peace (see The Price of Freedom Denied).