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Monthly Archives: October 2017

Web Summit: Freedom of religion in the tech business

17 Oct, 2017
  •    “Davos for geeks” – Bloomberg
  •    “The best tech conference on the planet” – Forbes
  •    “The giants of the web assemble” – Wall Street Journal
  •    “It defines the ecosystem” – The Guardian

On November 8 Brian Grim, President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, will address freedom of religion in the tech business as an invited speaker at the world’s largest web technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal.*

Religious freedom in the workplace

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.

Religiously Diverse Tech Business

And the tech industry is extremely religiously diverse. For example, the Guardian recently profiled Silicon Valley as home to some of Christian Evangelicalism’s most innovative new, Hipster congregations.

But beyond Christianity, Silicon Valley is perhaps one of the most religiously diverse places in the U.S. The Silicon Valley Interfaith Association notes that the region “is home to some 50 Buddhist centers, the largest Sikh Gurdwara in North America, a Jain temple, a Silicon Valley “store front” (converted technology assembly plant) mosque whose Friday prayer service draws over 3000 participants, several Hindu centers that host cultural programs and religious ceremonies, one of the Zoroastrian fire temples in North America, numerous Baha’i spiritual assemblies, and synagogues—reflecting the fact that the Valley is home to one of the most religiously diverse landscapes in North America. The percentage of individuals who identify with faith traditions other than Christianity—10%– is double that of the United States; but we also have a higher percentage of residents—17%–who identify themselves as non-affiliated compared to other parts of the country.”


Faith and the Internet

Christopher Helland points out, religious actors themselves are also quite tech savvy.

Faith & the InternetFaith & the Internet

Christopher Helland, Associate Professor, Dalhousie University, Canada

Our world is undergoing massive transformations thanks to developments in internet and communication technologies. As Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum has noted, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is well under way and there is a dire need to develop a “shared view of how technology is affecting our lives and reshaping our economic, social, cultural, and human environments.”

Despite the enormous cultural and societal transformations associated with the technological developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, faith and religious practices continue to be important components of our wired world.


 Pope & Climate ChangeThe Pope & Climate Change

Christopher Helland, Associate Professor, Dalhousie University, Canada

“The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. – Pope Francis”

When Pope Francis finally released his encyclical on the environment, the world seemed ready to listen. In fact, for over a year, there had been so much hype over the anticipated, immense document that a single line went viral within minutes. The statement above was tweeted by the Pope on 18 June and seemed ideal for engaging all concerned and for communicating his unease. Within hours, his tweet was shared more than 30,000 times and it was quoted and referenced in more than 430,000 news articles. Throughout the day, the Pope continued to tweet short statements from his 183-page text, savvily inundating the online world, to the point at which almost everyone on the web that day was aware of the event.


* Web Summit started as a simple idea in 2010: Let’s connect the technology community with all industries, both old and new. It seemed to resonate. Web Summit has grown to become the “largest technology conference in the world”.

No conference has ever grown so large so fast. But we also pride ourselves in organising the “best technology conference on the planet”. In six short years, Web Summit has grown from 400 attendees to over 60,000 attendees from more than 150 countries. No technology conference has ever grown so large so fast.

Web Summit has become “Europe’s largest and most important technology marketplace”. An unrivalled global meeting place for the world’s most disruptive technology companies and those interested in how that disruption can transform their businesses and their lives.

Over 2,000 media from more than 100 markets came to Web Summit in 2016. It’s not just editors from many of the world’s most influential publications, but market-shaping industry reporters from leading technology and trade publications and blogs.

Horasis China Meeting

17 Oct, 2017

5-6 November 2017, Sheffield, United Kingdom

Top executives coming from or working in China will gather at the Horasis Meeting in Sheffield. There Brian Grim, President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, will discuss how tapping into traditional Chinese values – including religious faith – is good for sustainable business.

Horasis will convene the 2017 Horasis China Meeting on 5-6 November in Sheffield, United Kingdom, co-hosted by the Sheffield City Region and the China Federation of Industrial Economics. More than 300 participants from business and government will join an intense two-day programme designed for senior decision makers from China and the world to identify business opportunities and innovative approaches to economic development.

Participants will discuss a wide range of issues related to China and its new economic leadership role. With the UK’s historic decision to leave the European Union, the summit will reflect on the implications for Chinese firms. The UK wants to build on its relationship with China, which has strengthened significantly in recent years, and establish a sound post-Brexit dialogue. The UK could be central to China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, with the UK developing into a hub for construction and design competencies as well as other professional services linked to China’s outbound plan. Chinese partners are a major and growing part of Sheffield City Region’s unfolding success story, with the biggest Chinese investment outside London coming to the city centre earlier this year.

The Horasis China Meeting is the foremost annual gathering of Chinese business leaders and their global counterparts. The location of the meeting rotates annually, and has been held in Geneva/Switzerland (2005, 2006), Frankfurt/Germany (2007), Barcelona/Spain (2008), Lisbon/Portugal (2009), City of Luxembourg/Luxembourg (2010), Valencia/Spain (2011), Riga/Latvia (2012), The Hague/The Netherlands (2013), Lake Como/Italy (2014), Cascais/Portugal (2015) and Interlaken/Switzerland (2016).

Horasis: The Global Visions Community is an independent international organization committed to enacting visions for a sustainable future. In addition to the Horasis China Meeting, Horasis hosts the Horasis Global Meeting as well regional events focusing on India, Russia, South East Asia and the Arab world.

The co-chairs are: Anson Chan, Chairman, Bonds Group of Companies, Hong Kong SAR Guan Jianzhong, Chairman, Dagong Global Credit Rating, China Roger King, Member of the Supervisory Board, Orient Overseas (International), Hong Kong SAR Lu Yuebing, Chairman, TsingRay Investment Management, China Pierce Riemer, Director General, World Petroleum Council, United Kingdom Sun Ho, Chairman, Chang Cheng Insurance Brokers, China David Wright, Senior Advisor, Barclays International, United Kingdom Deborah Wince-Smith, President, United States Council on Competitiveness, USA Wu Yijian, Chairman, Ginwa Investments Holding Group, China William Y. Zhang, Chairman, EU-China Municipal Development Commission, China Zhao Jiasheng, Vice Chairman, China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, China


Horasis is a global visions community committed to enact visions for a sustainable future. (http://www.horasis.org) For more information, please contact: Communications and Public Affairs Horasis. The Global Visions Community phone: +41 79 305 3110 fax: +41 44 214 6502 e-mail: visions@horasis.org

Approaching Religious Literacy in International Affairs

17 Oct, 2017

 

The Fletcher Initiative on Religion, Law & Diplomacy  is a student-run organization at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

november3

The Initiative’s 2017 conference titled, Approaching Religious Literacy in International Affairs, brings together high-level practitioners and academics in the fields of Security, Conflict Resolution, and International Business to discuss the importance of religious literacy in their respective areas of expertise.

Registration opens October 1, 2017. We look forward to seeing you in November!


Schedule

Friday, November 3rd 2017 | ASEAN Auditorium 


9:30am – Registration & Coffee in Hall of Flags

10:30am – Welcome: James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School & Former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO

10:45am – Introduction to Religious Literacy: Dr. Diane L. Moore, Director of the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard University

11:15am – Panel 1: Religious Literacy in Security Operations, a case study of the Balkans

  • Moderator: Dr. Monica Toft, Professor of International Politics & Director of the Center for Strategic Studies
  • Fletcher Academic: Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou, Professor of Religion, Geopolitics, and Security
  • Sonja Licht, President of the Foreign Policy Council at the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Colonel Robert E. Hamilton, Professor of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College

12:30pm – Lunch & Employer Fair

1:30pm – Panel 2: Religious Literacy in International Business, a case study of Global Business Operations

  • Moderator: Paul Lambert, Assistant Dean at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business
  • Fletcher Academic: Dr. Ibrahim Warde, Professor of International Finance
  • Brian Grim, President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF)
  • Joyce S. Dubensky, CEO of Tanenbaum

2:45pm – Introduction: Gerard Sheehan, Executive Associate Dean of The Fletcher School

Keynote: Sean Callahan, CEO of Catholic Relief Services and Fletcher Class of 1988

3: 45pm – Coffee Break

4:00pm – Panel 3: Religious Literacy in Conflict Resolution, a case study of Yemen today

  • Moderator: Joyce S. Dubensky, CEO of Tanenbaum
  • Fletcher Academic: Dr. Eileen Babbitt, Professor of Practice of International Conflict Analysis and Resolution & Director of the Institute for Human Security
  • [Video Submission] Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Marwani, Founder of the Dar Al-Salaam Organisation in Yemen and Tanenbaum Peacekeeper in Action
  • Father Bryan Hehir, Catholic priest and the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at Harvard Kennedy School
  • Darko Mocibob, Deputy Director of the Middle East and West Asia Division of the United Nations HQ

5:30 pm – Reception

First International ASEAN Religion, Economy and Law Conference

17 Oct, 2017

Scholars and practitioners from across ASEAN countries and the world will gather in Hanoi, Vietnam, October 23-24 to discuss the connections between religion, law and the economy (topics at end).*

Venue: University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH)

Example from Indonesia

Yaya Winarno Junardy likes to tell the story about how he was just a boy from a small village in East Java, Indonesia, when he arrived in Jakarta in the 1960s. Pretty soon, he had four jobs — as a street cigarette seller, a high school biology teacher, a university student and a casino worker. He worked seven days a week.

The experience taught a lesson he still applies in his business and philanthropy today.

“I found myself in four different environments with four different kinds of customers in four different subjects,” he told a group of National University of Singapore students in 2012. “It taught me how, as an individual, to adapt to different situations. I learned that in my life and in my work I have to adapt.”

Adapt he did, taking on a fifth job — an operator for IBM — before he had the university degree the company required. He spent 25 years with IBM in a variety of executive positions in cities around the world. He has also held high posts with Bank Universal, ExcelCom and several other Asia-based telecommunications corporations. He is one of the most prominent businessmen in Jakarta.

Junardy learned how to adapt to people of different faiths and cultures from his grandfather, an ethnic Chinese who ran the family’s copra business among Muslim, Christian and Buddhist customers and contractors. He has said he believes this early exposure to people of different faiths and cultures taught him to relate to and respect others.

Today, as president commissioner of Rajawali Corp., he has more time to pursue what he calls his “second chapter” — improving conditions for the working and lower-income classes of Indonesia. His purpose now is “to give back to society by teaching young people, working with the underprivileged, and giving joy to others,” he told the publication HQAsia in 2012.

That ability to adapt has served Junardy, who is 69, well in his philanthropic endeavors. He is president of the Indonesia Global Compact Network — part of the United Nations Global Compact that encourages businesses to commit to universally accepted principles in human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption values.

Since 2011, Junardy has led a consortium of Indonesian businesses in hosting mass weddings for low-income Indonesian couples of multiple faiths who cannot afford the fees — 60,000 Indonesian Rupiahs or about five U.S. dollars — required for a legal marriage.

Without an officially recognized marriage, Indonesian couples cannot obtain identity cards, access health care or obtain birth certificates for their children. Junardy estimates 36 percent of Indonesian households lack these documents, stigmatizing their children — and affecting their education, health and, ultimately, their jobs.

For Junardy, providing poor children with legal status is a fulfillment of their basic human rights. “They are like nobodies in their own country,” he said earlier this year in a speech at the Gobal Child Forum. “They are left behind.”

In 2012, as he was preparing to spend more time on philanthropy, Junardy offered advice for would-be Indonesian business leaders “Take advantage of opportunities and learn from experiences,” he told HQAsia. “You learn best in times of adversity. Get exposed to cross-cultural experiences early in life and learn to relate to others who are different from you. Most importantly, always try to understand the context of the problem before jumping to solutions.”


* Topics include: Religion and Economy; Taxation Issues on Religious Economic Activities: the Cases of USA and Europe; Entrepreneurs, Enterprise-religious economy: Influence of religion to economic growth and social harmony: the case of Malaysia; Church’s contribution to society; Economics of religion today in South East Asia; Business individuals and corporations; Economic religion: influence of religion on economic development and social harmony; Religion and law in South East Asia; Taxation, abilities and roles of religious organizations of South East Asia in providing of social welfare and public services: the Case of Singapore; Legal Status Issue of Religious Organizations in Legislation of South East Asian Countries during the Economic Community Building; Financial and Taxation Regulations for Religion in ASEAN; Economics of religion in socio-political ASEAN context; Protestant Communities in South East Asia and sustainable social-economic development; Entrepreneurs, religious people, politicians, researchers: Social and religious Harmony of in development of ASEAN community; Religious Consumption Issues in South East Asia; Religious Supply and Demand Change; Religious organizations as Social Welfare Providers; Religion and Economy: South East Asia Issues and Prospects.

Appreciating people of faiths different from your own is good for business

17 Oct, 2017

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.

Putting it to practice

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:

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