Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Monthly Archives: November 2022

King Husein Addressed CEO Roundtable

30 Nov, 2022

At Thursday’s monthly Women’s CEO Roundtable we heard the fascinating story of how faith has played a central role in King Husein’s business success (see recording above).

It was a the wonderful opportunity to hear how faith played a role in King’s coming from India where his mother helped put him through school sewing on a Singer machine, to founding and being CEO of Span Construction and Engineering – one of the country’s largest metal building construction companies, including being the exclusive builder of Costco stores.

King Husein is a Global Business & Interfaith Peace Award Gold Medalist. In addition to meeting King at the CEO Roundtable, hosted by fellow award-winner Ingrid Vanderveldt, you can learn more about King in the videos and links below.

Utah InterFaith@Work, Keynote – King Husein

30 Nov, 2022

On Veterans Day (11/11/22), the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation in partnership with Utah Valley University hosted a half-day conference for companies on the “Silicon Slopes” of Utah at the UVU Campus at Thanksgiving Point.

Topics addressed included:

  • – How including faith and belief reinforces other diversity initiatives
  • – How to start and grow a faith-or-belief employee resource group (ERG)
  • – How faith and spirituality, when accommodated in the workplace, provide resiliency, health, and wellbeing to employees
  • – How corporate chaplains are providing the same level of spiritual care in corporate workplaces as they do in the military
  • – Corporate General Counsel Panel
  • – Contribution of freedom of religion or belief for all to the US economy

The event ends with lunch* and an optional tour of Tom Holdman’s glass studio.

Keynote Speakers

  • King Husein, Chairman and CEO of Span Construction and Engineering, which has the exclusive contract to build all Costco stores worldwide

  • Astrid S. Tuminez, President of the Utah Valley University
  • Dr. Brian Grim, President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, and the world’s leading expert on the socio-economic value of religious freedom for all
  • Jefferson “Jeff” S. Burton, Maj. General, US Army (ret.), Vice President, Zions Bank, and member of the Utah House of Representatives

Panel Speakers

  • Archana Thiagarajan, Adobe, Senior Director Experience Design
  • Fr. Greg McBrayer, Chief Flight Controller and Company Chaplain, American Airlines
  • Chaplain Kimberly Moses, Captain, U.S. Navy, ret., ChaplainCare Learning Officer, former executive director of the Navy Chaplaincy School
  • C. Todd Linton, Director, Military Relations and Chaplains Services Division, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
  • Michael Isom, Adobe, Senior Business Operations Management
  • Adam Smith-Cairns, ServiceNow, Product Marketing Manager, and Co-chair, Interfaith Belonging Group
  • Kristine Ouzts, Strategic Planning Consultant for start-ups focusing on revenue generation, market segmentation, and financing needs
  • Keagan Case, People Analytics @ Qualtrics
  • Matt Evans, Sr. Director, Digital Transformation at Salesforce, and Global Vice President of Salesforce’s Faithforce
  • Robert Burton, UVU Civic Education Initiative

If your company has an office in Utah, get your tickets today before they sell out!

* Please contact organizers with any dietary needs.

Hope for this century, India’s century

23 Nov, 2022

Thanksgiving report for India’s engaged pluralism with Latter-Day Saints

By Brian Grim

I’ve just landed in New York after meetings and encounters in India that have given me so much to be thankful for. Research I did more than seven years ago for the World Economic Forum documented the socio-economic rise of India and the growing global impact of it’s Hindu majority. This can be a boon for the world, especially if it is accompanied by engaged and respectful interfaith relations, what we call covenantal pluralism.

At a meeting on Tuesday in the World Peace Dome (the world’s largest free-standing dome, pictured above and below), I had the opportunity as a Catholic to watch such engaged pluralism unfold in an historic interfaith event.

Looking up at the top of the dome from inside tells the story of their aim to “promote peace through the union of spirituality (of all faiths) and science.”

At the World Interfaith Harmony Conference, with thousands in attendance, the Hindu founder of the MIT World Peace University Dr. Vishwanath D. Karad, together with leaders and members other faiths ranging from Bahai and Buddhists to Muslims and Sikhs gathered for the installation of the 50th 12-foot bronze statue under the massive dome dedicated to peace.

The conference is the outgrowth of the amazing relationship between Dr. Karad and his university classmate, Dr. Ashok Joshi. Dr. Joshi, a renowned entrepreneur and holder of the first patent for a lithium battery, moved to Utah decades ago and became a friend to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though not a member of the church himself, Dr. Joshi introduced the Latter-day Saints to Dr. Karad a few years ago (Karad and Joshi pictured from yesterday).

On Dr. Karad’s first visit to Utah at a reception held by BYU President Kevin J Worthen, he was feeling tired and asked for a cup of coffee, not knowing that members of the church don’t drink coffee. When he heard the explanation, that led him on a deeper exploration of what the church was all about, culminating in his deciding to install a statue of their founding prophet Joseph Smith under the dome along with the 49 other statues of religious leaders (from multiple faiths) as well as statues of philosophers and scientists already commemorated beneath the dome.

On hand to celebrate the unveiling of the statue in addition to Pres. Worthen (pictured above), was Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife, Sister Katherine Jacob Christofferson, along with King Husein, Chairman and CEO of Span Construction and Engineering, and Ron Gunnell, global envoy for the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square and Global Chairman of Truth Alone Triumphs LLC.

And back to Thanksgiving. This amazing interfaith conference gives reason to be thankful that the communalism that often makes news is not the deeper and more nuanced news of an India where great institutions like the MIT World Peace University (with more than 50,000 students) are promoting engaged and respectful interfaith relations and thereby working for peace.

This is good news – not only for those represented at the conference – but for everyone in India and the world. Indeed, this will be India’s century if such engaged pluralism continues and grows.

With thanksgiving and hope – Happy (US) Thanksgiving Day!

Interfaith ERGs go global

19 Nov, 2022

From Latin America to India, interfaith employee resource groups (ERGs) are spreading worldwide

By Brian Grim

Members of DELL Technologies’ Interfaith ERG from across Latin America had a virtual All Hands event this week. I was invited to participate in the multinational gathering, and share how their work is at the forefront of building religiously inclusive workplaces that benefit retention, recruitment, revenue, and resiliency.

“Our faith helps us live our ordinary lives in an extraordinary way! I’m proud to serve as the Latam Executive Sponsor of Interfaith, Dell Technologies Employee Resource Group focused on supporting our employees to be active with their faith at work and drive awareness of different religions. In today’s Interfaith Latam AHOD, we had the honor of having Brian J. Grim, founding president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. He shared with us great insights and his perspective on the value of respecting and promoting our different faiths in the workplace. So proud of the work Interfaith Latam is doing and all its Leaders!”

– JuanCarlos (JC) Gama, VP of Marketing Latin America at Dell Technologies

One big takeaway for me is that DELL Interfaith’s global expansion is truly at the forefront of the growing movement of faith-friendly workplaces worldwide.

For example, I had the opportunity to meet in Mumbai with Manoj Paul, Equinix’s India country head. He shared how they are actively making sure every team member feels free to bring their whole self to work, including their faiths and beliefs. They do this by making sure every religious and cultural holiday is recognized and celebrated. But not stopping there, he said that they are continuing to look for innovative and fresh ways to help everyone feel respected and valued, including membership in Equinix’s FaithConnect interfaith ERG.

Soon after I get back from India next week, I’ll head out to Equinix’s Silicon Valley headquarters in Redwood City to speak at a Dec. 9 holiday lunch on the importance of acknowledging the importance of every employee’s holidays. If you or your colleagues are in the area, please register and join this Equinix FaithConnect sponsored event!

All the very best from India!

Dare to Overcome at the Taj Palace Hotel

16 Nov, 2022

By Brian Grim

Yesterday, I had very good discussions with the Taj Palace Hotel on final details for holding next year’s Global Dare to Overcome at the prestigious site.

Spread over six acres of lush gardens, the iconic Taj Palace, New Delhi, holds a prominent place in the capital’s prestigious Diplomatic Enclave. Synonymous with timeless luxury and unmatched hospitality, the hotel offers modern facilities seamlessly infused with epitomizing elements of exquisite Indian art. It offers an incomparable combination of award-winning combination of comfort, service and luxury. As a celebration of luxury coupled with timeless hospitality, the hotel finds a pre-eminent position among the leading hotels of the world. For close to four decades, the hotel has been a gracious host to royalty, heads of states, corporate chieftains and travelers from across the globe and is home to an array of legendary and award-winning culinary and wellness experiences.

Save the Date: Dare to Overcome 2023

12 Nov, 2022

Washington DC & New Delhi India – venues for national and global Dare to Overcome 2023

Our annual conference Dare to Overcome will be held in Washington DC (May 22-24, 2023) and New Delhi, India (Sept. 24-26, 2023). Registration will open next month.

For the national Dare to Overcome, we return again to the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America in the U.S. capital. The global meeting will be in India’s capital in advance of the G20 meetings to be hosted by India in fall 2023.

Sponsorship opportunities are now open for companies with faith-and-belief employee resource groups (ERGs) and/or corporate chaplains. For a limited time, 2-for-1 sponsorship deals are available. Please contact us for details.

Business, Diversity, Freedom of Religion and Belief, and Human Rights

12 Nov, 2022

Address by Brian Grim: Nov. 11, Interfaith@Work Summit, Utah

Good morning. Since this is a multi-faith event, I hope we can all learn something new about another faith today. As a Catholic in the Jesuit tradition, I’ll get the ball rolling with a story you might have heard before:

Members of three catholic orders were walking along an old road, debating the greatness of their orders. The Franciscan emphasized that they do not believe in living lavishly while other Christians live in poverty and misery. The Dominican emphasized how they see everything through the lens of the Holy Trinity. And the Jesuit emphasized how their striving for “magis’ or excellence in all things helped them establish schools and top universities the world over. Suddenly, an apparition of the Holy Family appeared in front of them, with Jesus in a manger and Mary and Joseph praying over him. The Franciscan fell on his face, overcome with awe at the sight of God born in such poverty. The Dominican fell to his knees, adoring the beautiful reflection of the Trinity in the Holy Family. The Jesuit walked up to Joseph, put his arm around his shoulder, and said, “So, have you thought about where to send him to school?”

So, in that great Jesuit tradition, let me talk about some research the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation has done, with the last example I’ll give being a study my daughter and I did as part of an initiative at Georgetown University, a Jesuit institution.

Research shows that a growing number of top multinational corporations are embracing religion and belief as part of their diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments. Just as companies allow and encourage employees, for example, who are women, LGBT, of color, or of differing abilities, to form company-sponsored, employee-led affinity groups or Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), companies are increasingly allowing and encouraging employees to establish similar groups around faith, interfaith, and/or belief.

These ERGs are global and can be faith-specific, such as at the Intel Corporation, which has ERGs for Agnostics, Atheists, and Allies; Baha’i; Christians; Hindus; Jews; Muslims; and Sikhs. The ERGs can also be interfaith with sub-chapters for faith-and-belief communities, such as Google’s Inter Belief Network (IBN), with chapters for Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and Interfaith – for groups that are not yet ready to establish a formal chapter.

Faith-and-belief ERGs provide a platform for employees to support one another and give employees of faith an official voice within the company to make their concerns and ideas known, including business insights. Indeed, these give a company a competitive edge that increase employee morale and, therefore, retention. These ERGs make it easier to recruit new talent among people for whom their faith and belief are core identities, by letting them know that people like them work successfully here. These, of course, benefit a company’s bottom line, which provides a pragmatic reason for companies to support freedom of religion and/or belief in the workplace.

But more than that, research also shows two things. First, including faith and belief as part of a company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments both reinforces attention to other affinities.

As part of the initial launch of the Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) analyzed the level of attention Fortune 100 companies place not only on religion, but also the following categories: race/ethnicity, women/gender, sexual orientation, veterans/military, dis/ability, age, and family.

The analysis showed that the level of focus companies place on each of the seven diversity categories is higher among companies that acknowledge religion than among companies that do not. We refer to this positive association between companies that place focus on religious inclusion and their commitment to the other categories of diversity as a “religion dividend.”

For example, companies focusing on religion score 69% higher on age inclusion, 63% higher on veterans/military inclusion, 60% higher on dis/ability inclusion, and 47% higher on race/ethnicity inclusion. Sizable “religion dividends” include companies acknowledging religion scoring 35% higher for women/gender inclusion and 31% higher on family inclusion. While the smallest religion dividend is for sexual orientation (scoring 4% higher), it is still notable that the relationship is positive.

This also coincides with global RFBF research showing that religious freedom fosters a positive environment for LGBT people, and that LGBT rights are increasing in countries with higher levels of religious freedom.

The second thing that research shows about the value of including religion and belief as part of a company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments is how respecting freedom of religion or belief (FORB) in the workplace opens the door for a corporation to stand up for other human rights, such as those violated by human trafficking, or modern-day slavery. There are an estimated 40.3 million people enslaved right now, according to A21, one of the largest organizations in the world that is solely fighting human trafficking.

Various human rights violations occur at different stages of the trafficking cycle, including unassailable rights such as: the right to life, liberty, and security; the right to freedom of movement; and the right not to be subjected to torture and/or cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment.

So, how does respecting freedom of religion or belief (FORB) in the workplace open the door to combatting the human rights violations concomitant with human trafficking?

Dell Technologies – a company that develops, sells, repairs, and supports computers and related products and services – is based in Austin, Texas. It is a global employer of more than 150,000 people. Until a few years ago, it didn’t have a faith-related ERG.

Dell started its Interfaith@Dell ERG after its acquisition in 2016 of EMC, which had an interfaith ERG. Dell employees at had a robust Christian Bible study and prayer group for many years, but it was unofficial – not a company-sponsored group. The merger with EMC created an opportunity to keep the Christian activities but elevate faith and belief to a much higher level. The large informal Christian group decided to get behind the interfaith group from EMC as an official Dell ERG.

As the new Interfaith@Dell ERG gathered people from all the different faiths and beliefs working at Dell, they looked beyond being just affinity groups for their respective faiths to envisioning how to put their faith-inspired virtues and ethics into action. As they deliberated, all gravitated toward a concern for one of the most marginalized groups in the world – people being trafficked for labor or sexual exploitation.

Interfaith@Dell proposed to the company that this issue was larger than just a concern for faith communities, but one that touched every human community. Thus, Interfaith@Dell proposed the first-ever pan-ERG initiative of any sort in the company’s history! They proposed combating human trafficking. Top Dell leadership embraced the proposal, which now has become a global campaign, in partnership with A21, to end human slavery forever.

Dell Technologies Interfaith ERG received the A21 Catalyst Award for leading the charge in combatting human trafficking. The Award was presented in Washington DC by A21 on the opening day of Dare to Overcome, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s annual faith-and-belief national employee resource group (ERG) conference. The conference is held in partnership with the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America, and brings together faith-and-belief ERGs from top Fortune 500 in allyship with diverse communities, including those with disabilities.

The Interfaith@Dell ERG has now successfully invited other companies to join the “Initiative for Freedom” (a human trafficking awareness effort), also in partnership with A21. Thousands of Dell employees are now equipped to spot human trafficking and report it to the authorities.

The example of Interfaith@Dell is an illustration of how workplace freedom of religion and belief is realized by embracing religion and belief as part of their diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments, resulting in a broader initiative to combat human rights abuses, in this case those associated with human trafficking.

The illustration of Interfaith@Dell taking on human trafficking reveals several principles.

First, freedom of religion and belief (FORB) can be built, not just advocated for. Faith-and-belief ERGs are religious freedom in practice, and it is built from the ground up. ERGs don’t happen by executive dictate, but from a groundswell of interest that executives support because of principled and/or pragmatic reasons.

Second, majority faiths – in the case of Dell in Texas, evangelical Christian – can have multiplied impact when they work in coalition with others. Majority faiths become stronger when they, as St. Ignatius of Loyola said, “See God in all things.” Finding God in all things is at the core of Ignatian (Jesuit) Spirituality and is rooted in a growing awareness that God can be found in everyone, in every place and in everything. When we learn to pay more attention to God, we become more thankful and reverent, and more willing to work with people of differing faiths.

Third, the lens of faith brings things into focus what might otherwise be left unnoticed, e.g., trafficking victims. It’s not that people of faith are the only ones to care about such abuse, but when the better angels of our religious teachings and ideals are set free, they are compelled to put faith to practice, as is concisely summarized for many faiths in the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

And fourth, it challenges ideas about corporations. They are more than the products or services they provide. They are communities of people. And that is where human rights matter the most.

Indeed, a growing number of top multinational corporations are embracing religion and belief as part of their diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments. This means there are new allies for building freedom of religion or belief, which, as described results in greater resources combat human rights abuses. It is incumbent upon human rights advocates to better understand how to engage with people in businesses, especially faith-and-belief ERGs, who work for freedom of religion or belief for all.

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to a study that my daughter and I deed a few years ago estimating the socio-economic value of the overall religious sector to the US economy. This is a study I will discuss in more depth during the breakout session.

We find that religion annually contributes nearly $1.2 trillion of socio-economic value to the U.S. economy. That is equivalent to being the world’s 15th largest national economy, putting it ahead of about 180 other countries. It’s more than the annual revenues of the world’s top 10 tech companies, including Apple, Amazon, and Google. And it’s also more than 50% larger than that of the annual global revenues of America’s 6 largest oil and gas companies. So, you might say, especially with fuel prices these days, that represents a lot of spiritually inspired fuel being pumped into the U.S. economy.

Religion contributes economically to American society in three general categories: — Congregations: $418 billion — Religious institutions: $303 billion — Business: $437 billion (faith-based, -related or -inspired). All these figures come from a careful analysis of survey and financial data from a wide range of national sources detailed in the research article in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and a law review version in the University of St. Thomas Law Journal.

Religion: The forgotten dimension of workplace diversity

9 Nov, 2022

Evaluating Workplace Religious Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Using the Kaizen HC Model of Religious Inclusion

By Dr. Ed Hasan, Washington, DC

Should a public servant be allowed to wear a crucifix at work? What about a kippah or a hijab?

These are deceptively simple questions that have been hotly debated throughout the world—in fact, the question of whether or not police officers should be allowed to wear religious dress has resurfaced in the Netherlands where it continues to be disallowed. So often the answer depends on one’s own religious conviction or lack thereof—and the conversation can descend into a quagmire of personal beliefs and perceptions about the role of neutrality in the public sector.

At the heart of these conversations is actually the concept of belonging: Who gets to show up as their full selves at work? And, how do we know the answer to that question?

It is undeniable that religious affiliation is a central influence on people’s identities. Despite this, religiously diverse people have been all but forgotten in workplace efforts around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiatives. This means that organizations that embrace the importance of workers bringing their full identities to work when it comes to gender and race are ignoring a critical component of identity: religion. At the same time, according to a new Deseret News/HarrisX survey, 80% of business leaders say employees’ being open about their faiths is “good for company culture.”

So while many leaders see the importance of faith at work and are open to religion-related programming, religiously diverse people and religious identity aren’t being integrated into formal structures and DEIB initiatives the same way race and gender are. (It’s not all on business leaders. Only 54% of non-leaders agreed that faith is good for company culture—many seemingly due to a fear of repercussions or tension with colleagues.) Often, the result is that workers are forced to hide their religion. Employers would never require a worker to hide their race or gender–that would be unimaginable. Why, then, should we expect employees to hide their religious identities?

To become an organization that reaches DEIB maturity, it is imperative to embrace religious identity alongside other identities—and to do so formally and with as much dedication as any other identity.

But how does an organization, its leaders and employees, and society at large know how successful we are at including religious identity at work? How do we know what to do next?

Image credit: Dr. Ed Hasan, Washington, DC

Built upon both scholarship around religious diversity and work with organizations seeking to become more inclusive, the Kaizen HC Model of Religious Inclusion helps organizations, leaders, and workers evaluate religious inclusion practices and determine what the path ahead might be. There are four levels to the model:

Level 1: Avoidance – Organizations at this level do not recognize the need for religious diversity in the workplace. Most Level 1 organizations are homogenous and avoid the subject of religion or promote only one religion, often the dominant societal religion. Avoidance might look like refusing to discuss religious accommodations with employees whose needs are deemed strange or are different from the dominant religion, for example.

Level 2: Compliance – Organizations that reach this level meet existing legal requirements, but go no further. Level 2 organizations are guided by a desire to avoid lawsuits and associated costs. For instance, to be compliant, an organization may say that employees who are Muslim women are allowed to wear the hijab at work, but in reality, that employer might not actually hire any Muslim women who wear the hijab. Just because the bare minimum is being done to meet legal protections doesn’t mean religious people are actually being protected.

Level 3: Emerging – Organizations that reach this level seek to make their workplaces safe for people of all religious backgrounds (or none) and see the benefits of including religious diversity among other DEIB efforts. Level 3 organizations are content with their internal work and do not seek to push the external conversation further. This may result in a broad expression of religious “tolerance,” but it doesn’t necessarily create belonging—a concept organizations at this level still find elusive. This can translate to microaggressions between coworkers who may not share religious identities.

Level 4: Transformational – Organizations that reach the final level ensure that religiously diverse people aren’t just safe and included, but also belong at the workplace as religious people. For Level 4 organizations, religion is an integral part of their DEIB strategy and programming—including employee resource groups. Furthermore, organizations at this level advocate externally for religious freedom in society and the workplace. A compelling example of a Transformational organization is Chobani, the yogurt maker, which has time and again advocated for all their employees to be their full selves–inclusive of religious identity and refugee status. In the case of CEO Hamdi Ulukaya this has looked like speaking publicly about the importance of hiring and supporting religiously diverse employees, advocating for the rights of all workers inclusive of religious identities, and much more. The Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index also provides insight into the companies that are most faith-friendly workplaces, many of which could be described as reaching Level 4, including American Airlines, an organization which utilizes ERGs, provides chaplain care, and makes accommodations available for religiously diverse employees, among many other efforts.

You might be tempted to jump in and use this model immediately to decide if your organization is doing a “good” or “bad” job at religious inclusion. You might even want to change everything at your workplace. While that energy is commendable, it’s best to slow down, take a deep breath, and reassure yourself that this isn’t black and white. This model is not meant to be one size fits all or to give any organization a stamp of approval. Instead, the Kaizen HC Model of Religious Inclusion is a living tool that works in concert with other frameworks, initiatives, and philosophies to help you chart the path ahead.

Most importantly, this framework can help you identify organizations at the level you’re reaching for, what work they’ve done around religious inclusion, what they’ve learned through the process, and how they moved from one level to another. In Embracing Workplace Religious Diversity and Inclusion, we explore several organizations and the specific scenarios they have faced, even rating them on the scale, so you can become fluent with the tool and its application.

Regardless of where your organization falls on this model, don’t panic or give up. Organizational cultures evolve and change—using this model, you can help shape your culture to become all the more inclusive of religiously diverse people.

Want to learn more about the Kaizen HC Model of Religious Inclusion and about the business, moral, and legal cases for inclusion? Pick up Embracing Workplace Religious Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Ed Hasan’s in-depth exploration of the current state of workplace religious diversity and inclusion where the Kaizen HC Model of Religious Inclusion is first introduced.

NEW: President Astrid Tuminez to give keynote

5 Nov, 2022

UVU Pres. Astrid Tuminez joins CEO King Husein & Maj. Gen. (ret) Jefferson Burton, to keynote Utah Interfaith@Work on 11/11, Veterans Day

I’m pleased to announce that Utah Valley University Pres. Astrid Tuminez will join Span Construction and Engineering CEO King Husein and Utah legislator/Maj. Gen. (ret) Jefferson Burton, to keynote our Utah Interfaith@Work Summit on 11/11, Veterans Day, on the “Silicon Slopes” just south of Salt Lake City.

These three top leaders will discuss why Faith matters to people in the workplace and why it should be accommodated.

Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez will discuss why this matters globally; King Husein will share how the movement in Fortune 500 companies to religious inclusion is so encouraging; and Maj. Gen. (ret) Jefferson Burton will describe how the spiritual care of chaplains in the military is a great model for providing spiritual care in the workplace.

President Astrid Tuminez

Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez (pronounced too-MEE-nez) was appointed the seventh president of Utah Valley University in 2018. Born in a farming village in the Philippine province of Iloilo, she moved with her parents and siblings to the slums of Iloilo City when she was 2 years old, her parents seeking better educational opportunities for their children.

Her pursuit of education eventually took her to the United States, where she graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and Russian literature from Brigham Young University (1986). She later earned a master’s degree from Harvard University in Soviet Studies (1988) and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in political science (1996).

Before UVU, President Tuminez was an executive at Microsoft, where she led corporate, external, and legal affairs in Southeast Asia. She also served as vice dean of research at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. She has worked in philanthropy and venture capital in New York City and is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of Russian Nationalism Since 1856: Ideology and the Making of Foreign Policy and many other publications. She and her husband, Jeffrey S. Tolk, have three children. In her spare time, she enjoys running, dancing, and traveling.

Israel-Lebanon Border

4 Nov, 2022

Nov. 4, 2022

It is important to understand the geography of the Middle East. At the Israel-Lebanon border, I was closer to Beirut (120 km) than to Jerusalem (205 km).

Running up through the middle of Israel is a mountain range, with the pinnacle being mount Carmel. This mountain range goes north into the sea with a conclusion that includes a grotto. The mountain range also separates Israel and Lebanon at this point. At the border crossing, the train route – that used to connect Haifa with Beirut – is sealed off … the last time the gate was opened was in 2008 for a prisoner exchange where Lebanese and Palestinians were exchanged for two Israeli soldiers’ bodies.