Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


G20 Interfaith to build on India’s moon success

26 Aug, 2023

A billion prayers from all faiths took India to the moon

By Brian Grim

Writing in RNS, Murali Balaji describes “how India’s foray to the moon might help faiths get along here below.” Indeed, an estimated billion prayers from Christians, Hindus, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, and more accompanied the successful landing of India’s Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on the lunar surface on Aug. 23, making India only the fourth country to accomplish this feat.

UCA News quotes the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India: “The progress made by our scientists and engineers in the field of space research is truly commendable and fills our hearts with pride.” Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, the conference president said that “the efforts of ISRO and the entire team behind the project serve as an inspiration to the entire nation.”

In this transformative moment of national success, the G20 Interfaith Forum will gather in Pune, India, at the World Peace Dome, to discuss how holistic development fosters world peace.

Panel: Role of Business in Peace

I’ll be leading a panel at the G20 Interfaith Forum that describes how business is a powerful force for interfaith understanding and peace. Indeed, the technological and scientific advances tied to business that put India on the moon are an example of how development and business can bring people together when they see success as a benefit to everyone.

Business can make significant contributions to advancing interfaith understanding and peace both through both core business and outreach activities. This set of case studies from the UN Global Compact Business for Peace platform and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation fall into four areas:

Using Marketing Expertise to Bridge Borders: Companies can make positive contributions to peace in society by mobilizing advertising campaigns that bring people of various faiths and backgrounds together, as seen in Coke Serves Up Understanding Across Borders.

Incentivizing Innovation: Because cross-cultural dialogue and cooperation is an essential part of daily work for multinational companies, some have programs that specifically recognize and mentor social enterprises that foster inter-cultural and inter-religious innovation.

Incubating and Catalyzing Social Entrepreneurship: Business can also provide common ground where religious differences give way to shared concern and enterprise. Some initiatives offer support to new entrepreneurs in conflict-affected areas, which can reduce extremism and empower marginalized communities.

Supporting Workforce Diversity: When businesses are sensitive to the religious and cultural issues around them, they can not only increase employee morale and productivity, but also address unmet difficult social needs.

Joining me on the panel to explore these avenues to peace are Salesforce’s Sukie Gandhi, a Manager of Technical Consulting, and Executive Vice President of Salesforce’s “Faithforce Global Equality Group.”

In a visit to the Hyderabad headquarters of Salesforce, I met Sukie as well as the president of Faithforce India, members of their leadership team.

The Faithforce Business Resource Group (BRG) India is a network of 1,500+ members spanning multiple cities. In addition organizing inclusive mindfulness yoga in locations across the country as well as celebrating each other’s festivals and gaining knowledge of each other’s beliefs, they also collaboratively engage in community service.

For example, during last year’s December holidays and their champion month, each office put up a sustainable Christmas Tree through which they collected donations for children in need across India. The donations for this #BeAFaithSanta Drive included hygiene kits, educational kits, clothes, sports equipment and toys. Faithforce members planted the trees afterwards, in partnership with their environmental Business Resource Group – Earthforce.

Each floor also has a purpose-built mindfulness room for meditation and prayer, just as Salesforce offices do worldwide.

Also joining me on the panel is Kiran Yadav, Vice President of the India chapter of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT India).

The International Institute For Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) is a not for profit organization dedicated to fostering and facilitating tourism initiatives which contribute to international understanding and cooperation, an improved quality of environment, the preservation of heritage, and through these initiatives, helping to bring about a peaceful and sustainable world.

It is based on a vision of the world’s largest industry, travel and tourism – becoming the world’s first global peace industry; and the belief that every traveller is potentially an ‘Ambassador for Peace’. A primary goal of IIPT is to mobilize the travel and tourism industry as a leading force for poverty reduction.

The IIPT Credo of the Peaceful Traveler is:

Grateful for the opportunity to travel and experience the world and because peace begins with the individual, I affirm my personal responsibility and commitment to:

  • – Journey with an open mind and gentle heart
  • – Accept with grace and gratitude the diversity I encounter
  • – Revere and protect the natural environment which sustains all life
  • – Appreciate all cultures I discover
  • – Respect and thank my hosts for their welcome
  • – Offer my hand in friendship to everyone I meet
  • – Support travel services that share these views and act upon them and,
  • – By my spirit, words and actions, encourage others to travel the world in peace

Using Marketing Expertise to Bridge Borders: Companies can make positive contributions to peace in society by mobilizing advertising campaigns that bring people of various faiths and backgrounds together.