Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


2020 Empower Women Film Festival (Recoded)

NOTE: The Films begin at the 23:00 minute mark.

On August 1, people from around the world joined the 2020 Empower Women Media Film Festival and Awards cosponsored with the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation.

See All 2020 Films

  • — Festival: August 1, 2020
  • Press Release
  • Comments by US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback
  • Comments by Prof. Azza Karam, Secretary General of Religions for Peace
  • — Data on “Why Religious Freedom Matters Today” by Dr. Brian Grim, President, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation


Film Festival and Awards

Empower Women Media and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation honor women who artfully and compellingly explore through short films the impact of freedom of religion and belief (FoRB) in their workplaces and communities.

The 2020 finalists hailed from Afghanistan, Canada, India, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and the US.

Long Road to Freedom by Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake (Afghanistan and US) took the grand prize for the best live action short film. District 18 by Maral Karee (Iran and Canada) claimed grand prize for the best animated short film.

In Long Road to Freedom, Mariya shares her story of immigration from Afghanistan to Canada and then the US. Thanks to the religious freedom she now has, Mariya and her team – in collaboration with local businesses – empower refugees and promote freedom of belief in Kansas City through Global FC. Global FC is a football/mentoring program that bridges diverse cultures to come together, forming just communities where all are free to be fully-known and fully-loved in pursuit of their God-given purpose and potential.

District 18 is the story of a young woman living in a society where diversity is shunned, but she longs for freedom of belief. She finds it in a land where Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is celebrated.

Article 18: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

In addition to the 2020 results, see results from 2018 and 2019.