Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


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Faith@Work on 9/11 (Zoom Recording)

10 Sep, 2021

Hear how 9/11 still defines the work of Rev. Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook, (Ambassador Sujay is a former NYPD chaplain and US Ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom), Fr. Greg McBrayer (American Airlines chief flight controller and Christian EBRG leader), and David W. Miller, Ph.D. (Dr. Miller became Director of Princeton University’s Faith & Work Initiative after 16 years in senior executive positions in international business and finance). Moderated by RFBF President, Brian Grim.

News coverage: Religion and 9/11: How tragedy changed the role of faith in the workplace

9/11 was the day that “ministry came out of mayhem,” according to Fr. Greg McBrayer, a Chief Flight Controller and Chaplain at American Airlines, who was on duty that day. 9/11 not only changed the future of air travel, but opened a door for ministry that has only grown wider since that fateful day. Filmed by Tim Antkowiak.

Thank you first responders.

Faith@Work on 9/11

1 Sep, 2021

Join us at 1pm (Eastern Time) on Thursday, September 9, to hear the untold stories of faith at work on September 11, 2001, as seen through the eyes of 9-1-1 call dispatchers, chaplains, and flight dispatchers on duty that morning.

Featuring Amb. Rev. Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook (9/11 First Responder and Chaplain) and Fr. Greg McBrayer (American Airlines Chief Flight Dispatcher and Chaplain).

For a preview, watch:

A New Lens: Unique Abilities, Not Disabilities

28 Aug, 2021

The benefits of workplace accommodation and respecting the human dignity of all

by Kent Johnson, J.D., Senior Corporate Advisor, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

Part of the blog series, Authenticity & Connection

“Survival of the fittest.” It’s a principle we can observe again and again, not just in the wild jungles, deserts, and seas, but also on the world’s political stage, and even in our workplaces, as dominant powers sometimes subjugate and abuse those who are vulnerable. Is this who we are as human beings?

I was deeply moved this week when a corporate leader described being clinically blind as a “blessing.” He opened our eyes. He explained how the constraints of blindness have enabled him to lift others up, to show others how to build trust and collaboration, and to strengthen the fabric of corporate culture. This was just one vignette in a tapestry of inspiring personal stories at the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation’s “Dare To Overcome” conference at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, also held virtually worldwide.

The concepts discussed at the conference have powerful and broad relevance, not just to the needs of people with varying abilities among us. Whether faced with a disability or not, we all, in some way and in some places, from time to time, struggle with constraints and weaknesses. Though they may not equate with disabilities, per se, we can learn much from our colleagues with disabilities about how our constraints and weaknesses might present opportunities for blessing. Fact is, we are a community of people who need each other. Help, freely given to the vulnerable without expectation of recompense, is the lifeblood of civility.

The cultural enrichment that comes from heightened sensitivity to others’ needs is just one facet of the business benefit that flows from embracing people with disabilities. Another benefit comes from the insight and heightened abilities they bring to work. For instance, one speaker at the conference described how a company’s focus on accommodation of autistic people led to new AI facial recognition technology that has far broader uses. And, since all technology can be used for good or evil, it’s important to give voice to those who might be especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of some uses.

Some might think discussion of disability and vulnerability is a bit “off topic” for a foundation focused on religious freedom in business. Here are three thoughts on the connection:

(1) As “Dare To Overcome” speakers pointed out, people of every faith, no matter how dominant on the world stage or in particular communities, are in the minority somewhere else. People of every faith are subject to marginalization, oppression, and even genocide somewhere. At the Dare to Overcome conference we heard a poignant cry for help for Yezidi women in Iraq. Religious hatred isn’t the same as physical or developmental disability; but people who indulge in religious hatred have disabled their civility.

(2) Nearly all faiths urge compassion towards and protection of the vulnerable of society. They teach that the arrogance of the powerful is a form of blindness. Some point out the ironic fact that, when we are weak and recognize our weakness, then we are strong. And many affirm the great value of every human being, regardless of one’s social standing or particular set of vulnerabilities.

(3) Like we benefit from accommodating people with various disabilities in the workplace, we will benefit in a similar way from accommodating people of diverse religions in our midst. (Note: I’m not equating religious belief with disability. Far from it. But in some cultures, minority religions are wrongfully treated as a liability or problem.) Companies ought to give voice to members of religious minorities for many reasons, including that of enabling deeper, more trusting connection among coworkers. A corporate culture that humbly acknowledges, respects and listens to its people of different faiths – without imposing the idea that all their respective truth claims are equally valid – is open to fresh, breakthrough insights. The blessing of insight from diversity is especially transformative and healing in cultures where a particular religion or way of thinking is viewed as dominant. Even in what we consider a “free” society, we must be vigilant to guard against the blind arrogance of the powerful, or it will marginalize the vulnerable and foreclose this blessing.

The theme “Dare to Overcome” presented three challenges. The first and obvious one is directed to those of us who have disabilities and constraints: We should keep striving and never lose hope.

The second speaks to all of us; especially those in the dominant culture and in the mainstream, who may think we have no disabilities: We should dare to overcome the prevalent cultural pressure to think of ourselves as self-sufficient or good enough without help.

Third, we should humbly appreciate and celebrate the unique abilities and perspectives that disabled people bring (as illustrated by the blind corporate leader). In so doing, we will nurture relationships of trust, we’ll strengthen the fabric of civility in this all-too-hostile world and we’ll be living true to the values we profess: the values that make us human.

We can do much better than replicate the harsh realities of the wild jungle, the barren desert and the roaring sea. Our workplace culture ought not be a place where it’s “survival of the fittest” or the most powerful. Work ought to be a place where respect and accommodation for every human being — regardless of status or affiliation — are the starting point. Caring for each other, regardless of vulnerability, is a good start. Our faiths lead us to this. Together, let us “dare to overcome!”

To drive home the point, let me end with this inspirational clip of the “Dare To Overcome” Virtual Global Choir.

Announcing the Women’s CEO IRF Roundtable!

23 Aug, 2021

Invitation to Women Business CEOs

Join us virtually on Sept. 2 and in-person on Oct. 29 in Dallas, TX, to begin to use our business know-how to address religious and gender-based discrimination against women, such as the ISIS genocide of Yezidis, with thousands of Yezidi women still held as sex slaves by ISIS fighters, as well as the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Email Roundtable secretary Christina Clark for details.

Case-in-point: Yezidi Women Recovering from Genocide

Meet the Co-Chairs

Intel’s top leaders to receive Business & Interfaith Peace Gold Medal Aug. 24

22 Aug, 2021

Intel’s CEO Pat Gelsinger and EVP Sandra Rivera to receive 2021 Global Business & Interfaith Peace Award Gold Medal on August 24 in Virtual Ceremony

The join other CEOs from US, UK Iraq, Israel, India, Australia, Japan to be honored from multiple industries: technology, construction, health, food, manufacturing, legal services

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Washington DC, 22 Aug. 2021, 00:00 AM

Pat Gelsinger and Sandra Rivera will virtually take the stage, speak and be honored with Gold Medals at the global Dare to Overcome conference on August 24 for their work in interfaith understanding, religious freedom and peace.

“Pat and Sandra are showing Corporate America and the world that creating a culture where people can bring their whole selves to work – faith, beliefs and all – is good for people, good for business and good for society,” said Dr. Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. “This is for everyone,” said Grim, “because everyone’s core values (religious or not) are the engine driving commitment and innovation.”

The Intel Corporation is the most religiously inclusive Fortune 100 company in America, according to the REDI Index. Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s CEO, and Sandra Rivera, Intel’s CPO, have helped create a culture where people can bring their whole selves to work — faith and all — thanks to solidly incorporating religious diversity into their overall diversity and inclusion commitments. Intel’s embrace of religious inclusivity is seen in their willingness to officially sponsor a wide range of faith-based employee resource groups. These groups not only support members of their particular faiths, but also work together in an interfaith association to support all employees at Intel to succeed in work and life, indeed, a positive model for society at large.

Winners of the third biannual Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards will express their thoughts on faith and work as they are presented with Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in a virtual global ceremony at noon ET, Tuesday, Aug. 24, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. For winners in Japan, a special awards ceremony will be held at the prestigious Sophia University in Tokyo on Aug. 22.

Previous Awards were presented in tandem with the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro (2016) and in Seoul (2018), where former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, and former general manager of Bain Capital, Robert C. Gay, gave keynote addresses.

The awards are presented by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, a US-based nonprofit, in cooperation with the United Nations Global Compact’s Business for Peace initiative. The foundation helps educate the global business community about how religious freedom is good for business and how they can promote respect for freedom of religion or belief.

Winners come from a variety of religious backgrounds and manage companies and enterprises in Australia, India, Iraq, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals are given in three categories: Core Business, Philanthropy, and Advocacy.

The Core Business gold medal is shared by Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s CEO, and Sandra Rivera, Intel Executive Vice President, former Chief People Officer and now General Manager of the Datacenter & Artificial Intelligence Group, who have helped create a culture where people can bring their whole selves to work – faith and all – thanks to solidly incorporating religious diversity into their overall diversity & inclusion commitments.

The Philanthropy gold medal goes to Dr. Judith Richter, CEO of the Israeli heart stint company Medinol, who also founded the NIR School of the Heart to help high school students not only understand cardio-vascular career opportunities but also connect the hearts of people from different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

The Advocacy gold medal goes to King Husein, Chairman and CEO of Span Construction & Engineering, who has played a critical role addressing the rising tide of restrictions on religious freedom that has swept the globe over the past decade. His efforts range from helping found the South Asian Consortium for Religion and Law Studies, to helping to kick off the first-ever Business Roundtable to advance International Religious Freedom during the 2019 UN General Assembly in New York City.

Silver medals go to John Tyson (Core Business), Chairman of Tyson Foods, who was an early pioneer of building a faith-friendly workplace by recognizing the spiritual and psychological needs of all employees; Maurice Ostro (Philanthropy), Chair of Ostro Fayre Share Foundation, Vice Chair of the Council of Christians and Jews (the UK’s oldest interfaith organization) and the Founding Patron of the Faiths Forum for London; and Peter Mousaferiadis (Advocacy), founder of Cultural Infusion in Australia, who is a pioneer in using cultural and artistic expression as a means of promoting social cohesion and interfaith understanding.

And the three bronze medals go to Khalid Khowshnaw (Core Business), founder the Hemn Construction Group in Iraqi Kurdistan, combats discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, or sectarian identity by intentionally hiring differing nationalities to working alongside one another; Dr. John Gathright (Philanthropy), founder of Tree Climbing Japan, who helps children of differing faiths, abilities, and challenges come together to find an increased self-confidence through embracing the challenge of climbing trees; and Candice Corby (Advocacy), founder of Cobra Legal Solutions in India and the U.S., who promotes the celebration of religion and belief, encouraging employees to be their full selves, including bringing their faith and beliefs to work in this majority-female law firm.

“These CEOs show that business is a powerful force for building interfaith understanding, religious freedom and peace in workplaces, marketplaces and in societies at large,” said Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation and global chair of Dare to Overcome. “Indeed,” Grim said, “civil society and governments have much to learn about building religious freedom in practice from these amazing champions.”

Dare to Overcome

The awards are presented as the culminating virtual event of Dare to Overcome (DTO) (at noon US ET on August 24, 2021), the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s signature global conference, with the mission of shining a light on successes in promoting mutual respect and allyship among diverse communities. Each day focuses on a different theme:

– Aug. 22: Social Justice, Equity and Religious Non-discrimination
– Aug. 23: Intersectionality Between Faith & Abilities Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
– Aug. 24: Business for Interfaith Understanding, Peace & Inclusion.

Please join on the 24th us to hear and interact with these CEOs as well as experience DTO’s gala finale: our virtual 200-member global choir from dozens of countries, faiths and ethnicities singing the Dare to Overcome original anthem!

Additional Details

The 2021 jury is comprised of a group of high-level experts, including from the European Union (H.E. Ján Figeľ, former Special Envoy for promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU); the NGO religious freedom community (Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice, and a former Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom); and the business & peace community (Per L. Saxegaard, Business CEO, and Founder and Executive Chairman of the Business for Peace Foundation, Oslo, Norway).

RELIEF from the Culture Wars!

13 Aug, 2021

by Kent Johnson, J.D., Senior Corporate Advisor, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

Part of the blog series, Authenticity & Connection

Today, in many circles, certain words and phrases are instantly presumed to signify that the speaker has bad character and dangerous intent, and is worthy of mockery, condemnation and aggressive opposition. Presumed association with a group or worldview is enough to spark distrust, fear and hatred; and in extreme cases even promotes violence.

You’ve seen it on social media, and, chances are, even in your workplace. You yourself may have fed the drama.

Against this volatile cultural backdrop, how can we begin to weave a fabric of civility?

There’s hope. We at the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation have seen how Businesses can launch transformative ventures of civility across cultures, by embracing Covenantal Pluralism.

Let me begin by providing two controversial examples from workplaces: one individual’s perception of the study of “intersectionality and critical race theory,” and another’s perception of the promotion of “religious freedom.” (Warning: I’m going to wildly oversimplify controversial issues here – and I don’t intend to “take sides” on any of the controversies – but if you’ll bear with me, I think you’ll see the overall goal of this analysis is helpful and apt).

First, “Intersectionality.” Ann (a fictitious name) sees the growing focus on intersectionality and critical race theory in diversity training as a means by which socialists are fueling anger and resentment among aggrieved parties in order to influence legislators to force an unfair and counterproductive governmental redistribution of wealth. More troubling than that, she worries that certain coworkers are pushing for a Marxist revolution and establishment of an all-powerful central government that will crush people like her. This impacts her work, because, in the course of the diversity training, Ann feels she’s been accused of having racial bias, simply by virtue of her race. She worries that this will impede her advancement in the company.

Second, “Religious Freedom.” Bob (a fictitious name) sees the phrase “religious freedom” as a pretense by which fundamentalists are trying to deny HIS freedoms, and to condemn him. The CEO of the company he works for says the business is run according to “Biblical principles,” and openly supports legislation to advance “religious freedom.” Bob says, “Why should fundamentalists be allowed to cram their restrictions and condemnation down our throats?” He worries that his employer seeks to impose a theocracy that deplores the core values and beliefs of people like him. He feels alienated, powerless and fearful.

Two different topics. In each case, the perceived threat is both personal and corporate. It seems each is promoting laws and policies that would protect its interest by imposing restrictions on the other. It’s adversarial. One side’s success would spell the other’s failure. The fears are real; and they greatly complicate relationships at work.

Time for disclaimers. What I have to suggest is no panacea. I’m not contending that protective laws and policies are unnecessary. I won’t resolve the complex issues associated with these topics. But I’ll suggest a step toward strengthening the fabric of civility in your workplace, person by person.

I believe that though it’s important to understand the past, historical conflicts need not prevent us from creating something new and better. Through one-on-one engagement that remains true to the core values of each person, we can nurture a culture that respects differences without trying to compel uniformity of core beliefs.

Intersectionality and religious freedom are just two of many possible examples, but by way of illustration, let’s push ourselves to think anew about the goals and the potential impact of each. We can do this by opening the door to employees’ respectful discussion of core values and beliefs. (Not compelling such discussion; but encouraging it). Returning to our two examples:

Ann chose to engage with the colleague who said she was a bigot; to give that person the benefit of doubt concerning intent. Over time, Ann and her colleague began to perceive another facet of “intersectionality” in a generic sense. They discovered that they share a belief in God, and they both aspire to treat others the way they themselves would like to be treated. They learned that each has a family member (by blood or marriage), whom they love, who ascribes to the views of the other on intersectionality; and some who belong to the same organizations. Their common interest in caring about their family members with different views brought them together. Today the two are close friends, working in concert.

What about Bob? In light of negative experiences with religious people from whom he sensed condemnation, he was unwilling to engage with the advocate of religious freedom. But a trusted colleague told him about a panel discussion at his company among people of various faiths, and an atheist, about how the speakers’ faith and belief systems affected their work. He attended. To his surprise, he witnessed genuine respect and warmth among these diverse speakers. Each remained true to his or her belief system; yet they really seemed to respect and care for one another. He was encouraged by what he saw; and today he’s a strong advocate of reaching out to “the other side.” Talk with him today, and you’ll come away filled with hope for civility.

Multiply these personal interactions by the thousands, and you’ll begin to see how workplaces that enable and encourage discussion of core values and beliefs are serving as platforms for civility to grow. Tremendous solid progress is made, one-on-one. But it doesn’t stop there: As each person engages on a deeper level with another representing a different perspective, the positive ripple effect spreads 360 degrees, as other colleagues witness reconciliation.

This doesn’t just happen spontaneously. But it’s possible. And it’s happening in more and more companies. A key starting point is to reach broad agreement on a set of basic ground-rules on which, in our experience, almost everyone will agree. For more on that, see our list of Basic Principles and our forthcoming article on Covenantal Pluralism.*

To learn more about the encouraging cultural transformations sweeping many companies, and to see how these themes of positive intersectionality and freedom of religion and belief work together, join us August 24 for the DARE TO OVERCOME conference. Register HERE.

* Author’s Accepted Manuscript. Forthcoming as, Brian Grim and Kent Johnson, “Corporate Religious Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as Covenantal Pluralism.” In Chris Seiple and Dennis R. Hoover, eds., The Routledge Handbook of Religious Literacy, Pluralism, and Global Engagement (Oxford: Routledge, 2022).

Jade Romano (BYU Marriott School of Business) and Drew Fleming (Wabash College) Dare to Overcome!

31 Jul, 2021

IMMEDIATE RELEASE (EIN Presswire): BYU Marriot School of Business student Jade Romano and Wabash College student Drew Flemming are having the opportunity of a lifetime as corporate liaisons for the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s Dare to Overcome global initiative.

Jade is from Boston, Massachusetts, and is studying Marketing at the Marriott School, and Drew grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, before attending Wabash where he majors in Religion with a minor in Political Science.

“The opportunity for Jade Romero to intern with the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation has been excellent,” said BYU Marriott Dean Brigitte Madrian. “Jade is a marketing major, and the experiences she is having as the Fortune 500 corporate liaison for the Dare to Overcome initiative are invaluable as she prepares for her future as a leader in both her professional and personal life. She has mentioned what a profound influence this amazing internship has already had on her. We’re grateful that the foundation worked with our summer experience program to provide this opportunity to help Jade gain such a meaningful and quality experience.”

“I was excited to hear that Drew is working this summer on RFBF’s ‘Dare to Overcome’ initiative,” said Wabash President Scott Feller. “Drew’s internship is supported by our new Wabash Public Policy Project, which provides our liberal-arts students opportunities to learn about the wide variety of nonprofits and civil society organizations doing important work in that sector. As Wabash continues to promote lifelong learning and civil discourse, our engaged students like Drew will graduate as informed and active citizens, ready to serve others.”

“Jade Romano and Drew Fleming are role models for the rising generation!” — Dr. Brian Grim, President, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

Dare to Overcome (DTO) is the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s global intersectionality conference, highlighting the ways diverse communities support and reinforce one another to build more inclusive workplaces and peaceful societies. Each day focuses on a different theme:

– Aug. 22: Social Justice, Equity and Religious Non-discrimination

– Aug. 23: Intersectionality Between Faith & Abilities Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

– Aug. 24: Business for Interfaith Understanding, Peace & Inclusion

DTO is the global convening point for faith-and-belief employee resource groups (ERGs). Members of these ERGs will gather virtually in support of their colleagues around the world and share best practices.

The United Nations Global Compact and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation are collaborators for DTO’s signature initiative, the Global Business & Interfaith Peace Award. Main sponsors include American Airlines and the Templeton Religion Trust.

DTO is held in the host city of the Paralympic Games: Rio 2016Seoul/PyeongChang 2018Tokyo 2021, as well as virtually due to the pandemic.

“Higher Education” Needed – On Diverse Religion and Belief

31 Jul, 2021

by Kent Johnson, J.D., Senior Corporate Advisor, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

Part of the blog series, Authenticity & Connection

Who is teaching the skills necessary to successfully engage the increasingly religiously diverse workplace landscapes of tomorrow?

     • Does your business school offer a course on how religious beliefs impact employees’ daily work; or on how to engage employees on a spiritual level at work?
     • Does your medical school offer a course on how to discuss death with patients of various faiths?
     • Does your technical school offer a course on the implications of faith and belief in daily work?
     • Does your law school offer a course on navigating faith-based values in the adversarial legal landscape?

Probably not.

There’s a huge gap in higher education. It’s time that gap was closed.

In workplaces around the globe, employees and customers sense a “calling” and responsibility to live out their work lives in concert with the principles of their faith every day. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, atheists, non-theists, people all across the belief spectrum wrestle with the deep questions presented by their work. What is the core WHY behind my daily strivings? How should my core beliefs affect the way I conduct myself at work – especially when nobody’s looking? When do I say NO to the dictate of a boss that contravenes my faith? Is my work life defined simply by the hope of monetary reward?

How can I better understand the core motivations of my diverse coworkers? How can I help employees relate trustfully to coworkers who embrace diverse faiths? What can be done to help employees connect their core beliefs in ways that support the company’s business goals? For that matter, how (if at all) should the core beliefs of employees help shape the goals and vision of my company?

Where should we look for answers to these kinds of questions?

Increasingly, business schools focus on various cultural impediments to human achievement by diverse employees. They identify and lean strongly against overt and unconscious bias (as they should). They explore ways to promote a company culture that inspires all their people to engage heartedly (even soulfully) with their work. Some business schools and engineering schools offer courses on ethics, environmental stewardship, human rights, servant leadership, humility and the like. They raise helpful cautions about the profit motive as the preeminent corporate value. Yet in many schools, personal faith and belief are topics to be avoided, as if they were facets of human life that are irrelevant to work (at best), or destructive and shameful (at worst).

The same aversion to topics of faith and belief applies to many medical schools, law schools and technical schools. As a result, people emerge from our institutions of “higher learning” ignorant of the core values and motivations that influence their future coworkers. Many haven’t thought through the implications of their own professed faith for the way they will conduct themselves at work.

There are exceptions of course. Some faith-oriented colleges and universities seek to address these questions; at least from the perspective of the particular faith they espouse. Notable solid examples include The Catholic University in Washington DC and Brigham Young University in Salt Lake. But ask these questions about the institutions you attended. Are they advancing study on the application of one’s core values and beliefs to one’s work? Are they equipping students to engage meaningfully and trustfully with those whose core beliefs differ from their own? If not, why not?

For far too long, higher education has shunned religion and belief, except as a theological sideline, as if it were isolated from business and daily life. But people’s religion and belief are not going away. To the contrary, as the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation has shown, religion and belief are gaining influence worldwide. And core beliefs matter in business and life.

The next generation of workers needs to know how to navigate religious diversity. Will your alma mater offer courses of study to help? Can you help engage institutions of higher learning to begin to grapple with these questions?

It’s worth thinking about. It’s worth a course of study. Help us promote it.

King Husein, CEO of Span Construction, has critical role in countering rising tide of restrictions on religious freedom

30 Jul, 2021

PRESS RELEASE: King Husein, Chairman and CEO of Span Construction & Engineering, has played a critical role addressing the rising global tide of restrictions on religious freedom. Span Construction, the largest steel construction company in the world and exclusive builder of Costco stores worldwide.

King’s efforts range from helping found the South Asian Consortium for Religion and Law Studies, to helping kick off the first-ever Business Roundtable to advance International Religious Freedom during the 2019 UN General Assembly in New York City. In diverse venues such as the Horasis Global Conference in Portugal and the IRF Summit in Washington DC, King shares how religious ethics benefit business.

His advocacy also looks toward the next generation by his helping launch an initiative at BYU Hawaii to equip students from across Asia to know how to advance religious freedom when they return home.

“It is a true honor for us to recognize one of the world’s leading business champions of interfaith understanding and religious freedom,” said Dr. Brian Grim, President of the  Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, “and we wholeheartedly congratulate King as a finalist for the 2021 Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards.”

A concrete sign of King’s commitment is that his company’s “About” page prominently features his official pledge to protect the freedom of all who work in the company to practice their faith and beliefs.

Reflecting on the values that guide his business in a to-be published manuscript on faith@work, King Husein shares:

“I love President Abraham Lincoln’s statement: “Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.”

This summarizes how I strive always to keep my commitments in all aspects of my life. True success comes with preparation, opportunities, hard work, and relying on the Lord. Without a doubt, I know I can accomplish more with the help of God than I can on my own.

Commitment to my faith has enabled me to establish core principles to guide my business from its inception. These core principles became the foundation upon which I built my company. They are ingrained in the culture of my company. Culture defines my company, and my religion defines me. Not only does my religion defines me, it also sustains me in my business, as I know it does for so many of my employees. Providing a workplace where we can bring our faith with us to work makes for a better workplace and a more successful business!”

King Husein is competing for a Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal, which will be announced and awarded on Aug. 24 virtually at Dare to Overcome. Dare to Overcome is the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s global intersectionality conference, highlighting the ways diverse communities support and reinforce one another to build more inclusive workplaces and peaceful societies.

Background on the Awards

The Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards are presented biennially by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, a US-based nonprofit, in cooperation with the United Nations Global Compact’s Business for Peace initiative. The foundation helps educate the global business community about how religious freedom is good for business and how they can promote respect for freedom of religion or belief.

The awards are held in tandem with the opening of the Paralympic Games, including previously being held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and in Seoul in 2018. This year they will be held during RFBF’s Dare to Overcome event, Aug. 22-24, 2021, both virtually worldwide and in-person in Tokyo (due to pandemic restrictions, limited to those already in Japan) .

In the short video below, the global chair of the Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards, Dr. Brian Grim (also president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation), shares the inspiration for these awards, followed by brief reflections by former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.