Religion is growing and will continue to grow globally, with about 9-in-10 people projected to be affiliated with religion in 2030 compared with 8-in-10 in 1970, according to the World Religion Database. At the same time, however, there has been a dramatic rise in the level of religious restrictions and hostilities. For instance, in 2007, fewer than 30% of countries had high restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, but by 2012, this figure increased to 43% according to the Pew Research Center. For the past decade, Dr. Brian Grim has led these ambitious global studies of religion. He will discuss the results of his research that empirically show that religious freedom, when protected by governments and respected by citizens, results in better business and economies. And, at the same time, the research also shows that business respect for and encouragement of religious freedom pays dividends in peace and stability as well as provides benefits to the bottom line.
Brian J. Grim, Ph.D., is President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation and a leading expert on the socio-economic impact of restrictions on religious freedom and international religious demography. Dr. Grim is a member of the World Economic Forum's council on the role of faith, and an advisor for the religion & geopolitics project of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. He is 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, Dr. Grim directed the largest social science effort to collect and analyze global data on religion at the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC. He also worked for two decades as an educator in the former Soviet Union, China, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Grim holds a doctorate in sociology from the Pennsylvania State University and is author of numerous articles and books including The Price of Freedom Denied (Cambridge Univ. Press), The World Religion Database (Brill), The World's Religions in Figures (Wiley-Blackwell) and The Yearbook of International Religious Demography (Brill). Dr. Grim writes the Weekly Number Blog and also is a TEDx speaker.