Empowerment Plus: Integrative Business
Helping those experiencing a wide range of socio-economic risks including displacement, unemployment, isolation, crime, addiction and extremism through integration, empowerment & self-reliance.
The initiative does this by helping at-risk communities, in collaboration with the Empowerment+ volunteer teams, identify such business opportunities and then network with individuals, businesses or financial institutions capable of investment.
Projects will be carefully selected based on the following criteria:
- – High probability of a successful business venture
- – Applicability of the business model to other situations
- – Representation of different faith traditions so that integration is built-in
- – Win-win collaboration between religious minorities and other segments of society
Example of a business that, by design, includes multiple faith communities
The Middle East and Justice Development Initiative (MEJDI Tours), is a joint Jewish-Arab tour company running tours in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Palestine. Seeking to foster peace and cultural understanding through the promotion of tourism, MEJDI runs the “Dual Narrative” tour, which is led by Israeli and Palestinian guides who offer their perspectives on culture, politics and religion at each tour location. This approach to peacebuilding and understanding has gained additional support from organizations such as the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) which mentors the company as it works to build bridges between cultures.
MEJDI Tours was initially led by Liel Maghan, an Israeli, and Aziz Abu Sarah, a Palestinian, who came together to enable tourists to become cultural explorers and truly understand the different sides of the conflicts in the Middle East. While the two men are good friends, they understand the challenges many Israelis and Palestinians face, particularly in perceiving and understanding those on the other side.
In 2012, MEJDI Tours was awarded 1st Prize in the Intercultural Innovation Award, a partnership between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group that aims to select and support the most innovative grassroots projects that encourage intercultural dialogue and cooperation around the world.
For more, see: BMW AWARD, Driving Global Peace and Success.