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Religious Freedom: Tremendous Global Challenges & Opportunities


Title of talk: "Religious Freedom: Tremendous Global Challenges & Opportunities"

Date of Presentation: July 7 @7:30 PM at the Charles Carroll House in Annapolis MD (right behind St. Mary's Church)

Brief synopsis of talk: THE SITUATION: Religious populations are growing worldwide, making religious freedom a bigger need in public life in the years ahead. THE PROBLEM: Today, more 75% of people live with high restrictions on religious freedom. These restrictions adversely impact life and livelihoods in every region of the globe. Religion-related hostilities spurred on by government restrictions on religious freedom disrupt markets. Religious prejudices stigmatize women and keep them out of the marketplace in counties as diverse as Turkey and France. And fears of offending religious or cultural norms - including secular norms - impede innovation and stifle entrepreneurial spirit in the West and the rest of the world. THE OPPORTUNITY: Businesses are uniquely situated to solve problems caused by religious restrictions and hostilities because they are at the crossroads of culture, commerce and creativity. Indeed, they have a vested interest because religious freedom is good for business.

Bio: Brian J. Grim, Ph. D., is founding president of the Annapolis-based Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) and a leading expert on international religious demography and the socio-economic impact of restrictions on religious freedom. Brian is a regular speaker at the Vatican, US Congress, United Nations, and other major international venues. Brian is also chair of the World Economic Forum's global agenda council on the role of faith. He holds a visiting professorship at St. Mary's University in London, where he is developing the RFBF's Empowerment+ initiative to increase religious freedom by helping those experiencing a wide range of socio-economic risks including displacement, unemployment, isolation, crime, addiction and extremism become self-reliant. Brian also supports and works closely with the "Business for Peace" platform of the United Nations Global Compact. He is an advisor for the religion & geopolitics project of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. He is also an associate scholar at the Religious Liberty Project at Georgetown University and an affiliated scholar at Boston University's Institute on Culture, Religion & World Affairs. Prior to becoming the Foundation's president in 2014, Brian directed the largest social science effort to collect and analyze global data on religion at the Pew Research Center. He has four grown children and five grandchildren. His wife, Julia Beth, works at the US Naval Academy, where they are part of the Catholic community.