Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Monthly Archives: February 2018

Female execs and filmmakers advancing interfaith understanding & peace gather in Seoul, South Korea

26 Feb, 2018

Come meet these top female leaders — three business execs and three filmmakers — at the 2018 Global Business & Peace Awards and Symposium in Seoul, Korea, on March 7-8, 2018.

Business Execs

H.E. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, President of Zayed University and former CEO of Tejari, is a powerful force behind the UAE Pledge of Religious Tolerance adopted by government, civil society and business leaders. She not only works hand-in-hand with local Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Sikhs groups, but also with global political leaders and religious figures such as Pope Francis, helping the UAE become a world leader in interfaith action.

Former Dell Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Ingrid Vanderveldt, has the audacious goal of by 2020 empowering a billion women from all faiths to work together to achieve more, give more and accomplish more. She believes that the relationship between women in business and this mission is sustainable and helps women leaders worldwide to pursue unity, love and peace.

Inspired by her own faith and working among the blind in Tibet, Shiyin CAI founded of Dialogue in the Dark in China. Through activities such as supporting the first blind runner to complete the Boston Marathon, she is changing society’s prejudices against blind/deaf and all other marginalized groups, and providing job opportunities with dignity to the marginalized.


Film: Love Has No Borders

by Deborah Paul and Christy Anastas

Deborah Paul and Christy Anastas‘s film,  Love Has No Borders won the Religious Freedom & Business Film Competition Gold Medal, The short film shows two women from different backgrounds joining together to build a business to serve those in need.

Film: Global FC

by Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake

Global FC by Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake won the Religious Freedom & Business Film Competition Silver Medal. The film shows that Global FC strengthens Kansas City by using their business to serve the religiously mixed refugee community with a soccer program.

Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards

by Julianna UlrichNatalie Comstock and the team at Contexture International

The team at Contexture International produced the promotional video and the introductory videos for each of the medalists (including Sheikha Lubna, Ingrid Vanderveldt and Shiyin Cai above) coming to the 2018 Global Business & Peace Awards and Symposium in Seoul, South Korea.

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) and The Middle East Women’s Leadership Network (MEWLN) launched the Religious Freedom & Business Film Competition in 2017 to highlight women media producers and support freedom of belief. The goal of the competition was to create short films that showcase how religious freedom leads to innovation, peace, entrepreneurship and human flourishing in communities. The winning films will screen before world-class CEOs and UN level leaders at the 2018 Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards in Seoul, South Korea, March 7-8, 2018.

The grand prize winner of the competition will receive $5,000 and a trip to present her work at the Peace Awards ceremony. Additionally, the wining films will be shared with religious freedom networks, NGOs, government and faith based organizations around the world.

The three-minute films are artful and compelling explorations of the impact of religious freedom (or the lack of it) in the workplace and community. Whether inspired by real-life events or fictional, the films thoughtfully affirm that cultural diversity and religious freedom are good for business and civil society.

The finalist films include:

Love Has No Borders (by Christy Anastas and Deborah Paul)

Global FC  (by Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake)

Equations (by Nancy Sawyer Schraeder and Naji Hendrix)

Clarkston (by Erin Berhardt)

Paper Dresses (by Lizzie Chaplin)

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For more information about the short films and female media producers, contact the MEWLN Director, Shirin Taber at

Belief Without Borders – Building Bridges Across Faiths at Accenture

16 Feb, 2018

By Dan Eckstein

Dan Eckstein is a Director in Accenture’s Communications, Media and Technology practice. He is passionate about Inclusion and Diversity and is on a mission to make Accenture the most truly human organization in the digital age while ensuring that every employee can have a feeling of belonging. He is also the leader of Accenture’s Employee Experience Council for I&D and the Interfaith and Jewish employee resource groups in NY Metro.

What does it mean to bring your whole self to work—body, mind, heart and soul?

At Accenture, it means being free to express your passions, aspirations and strengths—all the unique qualities that make you…well, you. It’s a place where you can feel comfortable talking openly about topics that are sometimes considered taboo. Faith is often one of them.

As an observant Jew, I’ve always been passionate about inclusion and diversity, especially the topic of one’s faith at work. After graduating college, it was a challenge to figure out how I wanted to balance my religion and my work. I found myself trying to compartmentalize my work life from my religious life. But it didn’t feel right. I wanted to be transparent about who I am, and be consistent both inside and outside the office. My religion is something I’m proud of.

I learned about the Interfaith Employee Resource Group (ERG) shortly after joining the company. Empowering employees to be their true, authentic self, the ERG is open to individuals of all faiths and those who do not identify with any faith.

Partnering with the leaders of our seven Faith ERGs in the NY Metro area (Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Other), we work together as volunteers to host events that focus on a wide variety of topics—from Interfaith Marriage to LGBTQ and Faith, to discussions led by local faith leaders. We host events to explore our respective religions—through Sabbath meals, Ramadan Iftaar meals, Diwali celebrations and prayer breakfasts. We plan social outings and participate in corporate citizenship activities together. I’m proud that we’re able to be open about religion in the workplace and use it as a tool to connect more deeply with each other.

I’m proud of what we are accomplishing at Accenture as we enable all employees to be Truly Human and talk about Faith at Work. As Ellyn Shook, our Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer said, “When we bring our whole selves to work it becomes the moment when we can be our best both professionally and personally.”

I encourage you to check out these 3 links when you have time:

Corporate Training on Religious Diversity and Inclusion (RD&I)

15 Feb, 2018

The Religious Freedom & Business Foundation and the Religious Freedom Center jointly offer education programs for businesses across the globe.

These half, one and two-day seminars help middle management and executives become religiously literate. That is, they become conversant about how religion impacts the workplace and the marketplace, their coworkers and partners as well as customers and clients.

Participants gain an understanding of the empirical evidence on the value that religious liberty, religious diversity, and religious inclusion and their impact on business strategy, corporate policy and economic growth.


Press Release: 2018 Global Business & Peace Symposium and Awards

9 Feb, 2018

March 7th/8th 2018 Seoul, South Korea

H.E. Ban Ki-moon, the former UN Secretary General, will address the latest developments in the North-South Korean negotiations at the Business and Peace symposium in Seoul, the day before the Winter Paralympics begin.

The Symposium includes business, political and academic leaders from around the world and will discuss themes including religious nondiscrimination and inclusion in the workplace. With his high-profile commitment to business and peace, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, as well as providing his expert insight in to the tense situation on the Korean peninsular, will also speak about how business is a powerful force supporting interfaith understanding and peace.

Top South Korean government leaders will welcome a delegation from the symposium at the National Assembly. “Korean support for this event is tremendous,” said Brian Grim, international organizer and President of the Religious freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF). “This shows the initiative’s timely contribution to peace, held at this time of heightened tensions and in tandem with the Olympics.”

A main focus of the event will be the presentation of the Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards, given to CEOs worldwide for their promotion of peace through interfaith knowledge and action. Awardees include:

  • – Ernst and Young’s UK Chairman Steve Varley who has overseen a first-of-its-kind online program, Religious Literacy for Organizations, helping earn EY the #1 slot on DiversityInc’s 2017 diversity and inclusiveness list.
  • Mark Woerde, Founder Havas Lemz and, who believes he can make the world a better place through interfaith advertising featuring the world’s most prominent religious leaders including Pope Francis.
  • – Former Dell Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Ingrid Vanderveldt, who has the ambitious goal of, by 2020, empowering a billion women from all faiths to work together to achieve more, give more and accomplish more.
  • – The Global Business & Peace Awards, will also give awards to business leaders from South Korea who have worked to build positive ties with North Korea, selected by high level government officials.

This is the second Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards. The inaugural awards were given the day before the opening of the Rio Paralympics in 2016. This pioneering peace initiative was started by RFBF and is a collaboration with the Global Compact Network Korea, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).

The Awards began after H.E. Ban Ki-moon established the Business for Peace platform in 2013 within the UNGC, the world’s largest corporate member organization committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, which notably include SGD 16 (Peace) “Promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”