Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Monthly Archives: October 2018

Role of Religion Along China’s Belt and Road Initiative

10 Oct, 2018

Immediate Release: Beijing, Oct. 13, 2018

Dr. Brian Grim will be the only foreigner to deliver a keynote speech at the Oct. 13-14 conference at Minzu University in Beijing on China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative (or One Belt One Road, OBOR). Using data from his work at Boston University and his previous work at Penn State and the Pew Research Center, Grim will outline the the role of religion in the OBOR countries where Beijing is hoping to do and expand business. He argues that successful international relations requires a good understanding of these dynamics.

The Role of Religion Along China’s Belt and Road Initiative

One Belt One Road Religious Literacy: Part 2

Brian J. Grim, Ph.D. (葛百彦)


In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the One Belt One Road initiative (OBOR, also known as the Belt & Road or Silk Road initiative). Over the past five years, scores of countries and international organizations have actively participated in OBOR which promotes common development and sharing, policy communication, facility connectivity, unimpeded trade, financing, and people-to-people links. As with any grand plan, challenges are numerous. Just as the pilgrims in the Chinese epic Journey to the West had to overcome a series of challenges to bring Buddhist scriptures back from India, Chinese goods, services and businesses also need to overcome many challenges on the road to success. One leading Hong Kong Business CEO investing heavily into OBOR pointed to cultural barriers as “quite the most challenging part” of being successful.

Grim’s presentation is the second in a two-part study contributing to successfully meeting those challenges. The first study provided data on and analysis of the religious demography of the 63 countries (besides China) participating in OBOR. This study provides data on additional religious dynamics in OBOR countries, including how religion impacts governments and economics.

Grim will present the pivotal research he and Roger Finke published in the American Sociological Review that shows how government restrictions on religion contribute to religious violence, which in turn adds to social regulation of religion, setting of a cycle of religious violence. These dynamics are impediments for sustainable development and economic growth in OBOR countries.

Grim will also present his research  from the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion (with Greg Clark and Robert Snyder) showing that government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion in OBOR countries are key factors holding back economic growth.


Dallas: Religious Diversity in Workplaces

10 Oct, 2018

You are invited to attend a groundbreaking breakfast meeting with a select group of diversity/inclusion influencers and a spectrum of faith leaders, at 7am, Friday, October 26 at the Doubletree Dallas on North Central Expressway.

Attendees will hear eyewitness reports about the effects of opening the workplace to diverse religious expression, including positive impact on:

  • › Employee recruitment, engagement and retention
  • › Culture of ethics and integrity
  • › Product and service quality
  • › Creativity, inventiveness and productivity
  • › Dissolution of unwarranted and toxic fears and prejudices

They will also hear a crisp business case for action, including:

  • › Demographic trends in religious affiliation
  • › The fact that, for increasing numbers of people, their religious belief defines the core› principles by which they live and work
  • › The importance of freeing employees to connect their faith to their everyday life, so they can bring their whole selves to work
  • › Increasing claims of workplace religious discrimination and other negative effects when companies stifle faith-related communications

Lastly, speakers will introduce:

  • › Some policies and best practices for accommodation and encouragement of relevant religious expression at work (including a corporate pledge), and
  • › Available tailored seminars/how-to resources

The breakfast is sponsored by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF).  Among others, speakers will include the Foundation’s President, Brian Grim.

See the following links for information about Brian Grim and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation:

Please RSVP to Kent Johnson, Senior Corporate Advisor, RFBF:

Cairo Workshop: Private sector’s contribution in supporting interfaith understanding

9 Oct, 2018

Workshop: Private sector’s contribution in supporting interfaith understanding

The UN Global Compact Network Egypt hosted the 2018 Business for Peace Annual Event that took place on the 7th and 8th of November in Cairo, Egypt. About 300 leaders from the private sector, civil society, Governments and the United Nations came together to explore innovative approaches to, and opportunities for collaboration in, sustaining peace.

  • Nov. 7-8, 2018, Marriott Mena House

  • Hosted by Brian Grim, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

In many countries around the world, sectarian conflicts can paralyze the society’s potential to grow and to develop. However, Businesses can play a very effective role in promoting inter-faith understanding as a substantial condition for peaceful social coexistence. Business can often be at the forefront of creating space where people from different cultures and religions can meet and cooperate. When companies are sensitive to religious and cultural issues around them, they can strengthen their social license and increase employee morale and productivity, while addressing difficult social needs at the same time. Beside being a moral commitment, promoting interfaith understanding is also important for business in terms of financial profit because it makes the work environment healthier and more productive.

During this workshop, the audience will explore how businesses can effectively uphold interfaith understanding within the communities in which they operate by providing examples and best practices from different countries. 


  • Global Compact Network Egypt

The Business for Peace annual event serves as the main convening platform for the business and peace movement. Over the years, the Business for Peace annual event has convened more than 1,000 stakeholders in Istanbul, New York, Dubai and Colombia. Building on this momentum, the 2018 Annual Event will be hosted by the Global Compact Local Network in Egypt and bring together over 300 leaders from businesses, the investment industry, civil society, Governments, the United Nations and Global Compact Local Networks.

Conflict and instability not only impact people and the environment, but also pose risks to all parts of the business sector. Business for Peace is a platform of over 130 leading companies from 37 countries dedicated to catalyzing collaborative action to advance peace.

By joining Business for Peace, companies will be able to:

  • – Better identify and manage business risks and opportunities while reducing operational costs
  • – Engage in public-private dialogue to establish local priorities and implement projects
  • – Align business strategies and operations with good practice from across the globe
  • – Share best and emerging practices and learn from the experiences of peers
  • – Demonstrate leadership and receive recognition for advancing practical solutions

Companies who join Business for Peace commit to:

  • – Paying heightened attention to the implementation of the UN Global Compact Ten Principles in high-risk and conflict-affected areas
  • – Take action to advance peace, either individually or in collaboration with others
  • – Annually communicate on progress

Recognizing that local ownership and knowledge are vital to driving change, Business for Peace has adopted a locally-driven approach. Business for Peace works to develop the capacity of Global Compact Local Networks to support participants in their efforts to conduct responsible business practices and advance peace. 18 Local Networks have already joined this growing movement, including: Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Learn more about the work of our Business for Peace Local Networks

Nominate Your CEO for the Global Business & Interfaith Peace Award

The UN Global Compact and Religious Freedom & Business Foundation invite you to nominate your company’s CEO for the Global Business & Interfaith Peace Award. The Awards salute concrete and innovative actions taken to advance interfaith understanding and peace. Nominees must have launched or spearheaded policies, programmes or initiatives that contributed to increasing interfaith understanding and peace in the workplace, marketplace and/or local communities.

The awards recognize business leaders – current or past CEOs – who have demonstrated leadership in championing interfaith understanding and peace in one of the following categories:

  • – Core business
  • – Social investment and philanthropy
  • – Advocacy and public policy engagement
  • – Partnership and collective action

The Awards will be presented at the start of the Paralympic Games, where award recipients will have the opportunity to present their commitment to interfaith understanding and peace.

Canada: Business Can Do Better on Workplace Diversity

5 Oct, 2018

OTTAWA – Canada’s businesses must do a better job of honouring the diversity of their employees, argues think tank Cardus in a new guide for workplaces. The four-step guide, Navigating Religious Diversity in the Workplace, offers concrete recommendations to make Canadian businesses and workplaces truly welcoming for people of faith. Cardus Executive Vice President Ray Pennings says the guide is more necessary than ever.

“We know that having a diverse workplace is good for business,” says Pennings. “And religion is part of that diversity. Eight in 10 Canadians claim some connection to spirituality, while at least half of Canadians have a religious identity at some level.”

Navigating Religious Diversity in the Workplace comes as part of a special Cardus presentation to a meeting of the Conference Board of Canada’s Council on Inclusive Work Environments in Toronto this week. The guide, which is freely available for download, recommends that organizations undertake four steps:

Awareness: Build religious literacy and awareness within your organization by learning about various traditions, holy books, or major beliefs.

Affirmation: Institutionally recognize the importance of religious diversity and religious freedom in the workplace—just as other aspects of individual identities are being publicly affirmed, so too should religious identities.

Engagement: Look outside your organization to learn and work with religious communities by collaborating with religious charities or hosting training sessions.

Accommodation: Complex issues require complex solutions, such as allowing scheduling changes because of religious holidays, changing employees’ duties if tasks conflict with religious convictions, or allowing the use of work facilities for religious observance.

“Religion is not merely a private thing that only belongs in our homes or houses of worship; it’s a deep part of the identity of many Canadians and is present wherever they are, be it a public or private space,” says Pennings. “Because Canadian society is as religious as it is, we need to be more attentive to matters of faith, especially in our workplaces and other public spaces. Simply put, business can do better.”

Download a copy of Navigating Religious Diversity in the Workplace from the Cardus website.

To book an interview with Ray Pennings, please, contact Daniel Proussalidis.

Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications
613-241-4500 x508

About Cardus
Cardus is a non-partisan, faith-based think tank, and registered charity dedicated to promoting a flourishing society through independent research, robust public dialogue, and thought-provoking commentary. To learn more, visit our website, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.