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Capitalizing on Inclusion – Our Religious Diversity Symposium with Ted Childs

Tanenbaum and Ted Childs LLC hosted our fourth annual Religious Diversity Symposium on September 19th – 20th, 2019. This fall conference, designed for high-level diversity, equity, and inclusion leaders, focused on the theme of “capitalizing on inclusion.”

We brought together representatives from 30 different organizations and corporations for two days of robust learning and discussion. Programming included a presentation from Robby Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, a panel of Chief Diversity Officers from two multi-national companies, and a session lead by Sumreen Ahmad, Global Change Management Lead at Accenture, focused on moving through your organization’s religious diversity journey.

Attendees called the sessions “raw and eye-opening,” and filled with “invaluable insights.” Tanenbaum and Ted Childs are proud to partner on a conference that builds the knowledge, skills, and competencies of DEI leadership on religious diversity in the workplace.

 

Tanenbaum’s 2019 Religious Diversity and Inclusion Summit

Tanenbaum held its fourth annual Religious Diversity Leadership Summit (the Summit) on June 19, 2019, tackling the theme of “innovating religious diversity in the workplace.” Programming included dynamic speakers and engaging panel discussions that highlighted the work of leaders in the religious diversity and inclusion space.

Missed this year’s Summit? Keep an eye out for additional content and details about next year’s event!

Join us Oct 3rd at Comic Strip Live!

Come join us and have a good laugh for a good cause on October 3, 2019. With an outstanding line-up of comics, you are sure to have a good time. And bring a friend!

Thanks for Helping Make Peace Possible

Last week, Tanenbaum’s Peace Made Possible Gala celebrated the people and places that are making inclusion of our religiously diverse country a reality.

Hosted by Sandra Bookman and brought to life by Chuck Nice, this year’s gala honored champions of human rights through inclusivity, respect and education.

  • Target received our CORPORATE BRIDGE BUILDER AWARD for its work in creating faith inclusive environments among its team members and guests.
  • The Henry Luce Foundation received Tanenbaum’s PHILANTHROPIC BRIDGE BUILDER AWARD for its investment in creating a more nuanced, contextualized and dynamic understanding of the power of religion in the international sphere.
  • NYC Health + Hospitals received the ADAM SOLOMON AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE as innovative leaders who are educating health care providers to further enhance their care of the religiously diverse patients they serve across NYC.

And Tanenbaum’s Peacemaker in Action, Rev. Bill Lowery spoke about his work fighting for peace and reconciliation in Sudan and South Sudan for over 25 years. His words helped us understand the horrors of the conflict there, and how local leadership and interfaith coalitions were working every day in that fraught region.

Tanenbaum is grateful for the gracious support of many our Corporate Members and long-time and newer friends including Dr. Georgette Bennett & Dr. Leonard Polonsky CBE, Target, DTCC, FJC, Howard P. Milstein and The Russell Berrie Foundation. The evening was made possible because because of our Honoree Committee members Carla Harris, Brian Lehrer, Soledad O’Brien, Fareed Zakaria, Maz Zouhairi and Libra Group, the Co-Chairs Georgette Bennett, DTCC, Justin Foa and Holly H. Weiss, and the Gala Committee Mary Jane Brock, Reverend Gregory Johnson, Sara Pandolfi, Marni Selman and EmblemHealth for their work.

In a world marked by growing bigotry, the evening’s theme was timely — because peace is not only a far off dream. There is much we can do now. And we must.

If there was ever a time to support Tanenbaum’s work combating religious bigotry, that time is now. We must not wait until it is too late to conquer this hate!

Listening Is Hard

Friends –

Following an evening of Courageous Conversations, the audience’s key takeaway was the power of listening. Though it sounds simple…it’s anything but. These days, we’ve stopped hearing each other. We talk over one another. We prepare our responses while people are speaking. We don’t even consider listening. It’s the new normal. And it’s contagious.

Former white supremacist, Arno Michaelis and former Muslim supremacist Mubin Shaikh, shared powerful stories of how civil conversations helped pull them out of extremism – conversations we should all be aspiring to have. And Kiran Thadhani described why dialogue works.  

Arno shared that everything he did during his extremist days was designed to cultivate hostility. He deliberately provoked people, and he wanted (and expected) people to react with hostility and even aggression. But when random people treated him with kindness—like a woman behind a counter at McDonald’s—he was rendered powerless.

Mubin discussed how 9/11 disoriented his radical beliefs. And how he went to Syria to deeply study and debate the Qur’an with a Sufi master. Mubin recalls how the Sufi master’s demeanor and approach had the greatest impact on him. He was nice, always very loving, smiling and happy. Through this engagement, Mubin “pulled a 180 and became an adversary of his old extremist self.”

Panelist Kiran Thadhani, from Seeds of Peace, rounded out the discussion by sharing how dialogue helps create change. It’s not a method for winning an argument, but rather one that helps build a foundation for answering today’s burning question, how do we all exist here together?

Together, we unpacked the power of kindness and courage, and how Courageous Conversations, even when we differ and they are uncomfortable, present an opportunity for interrupting extremism and division.

I invite you to watch and then share the evening’s footage, and then consider holding a Courageous Conversation of your own.

With courage,

Joyce

How We Show Up At Work and Make Room for Difference

Tanenbaum Deputy CEO, Mark Fowler

Dear Friends,

I recently was profiled by Lower Manhattan HeadQuarters (LMHQ) in their monthly Q+A segment about all things Tanenbaum and all things me. As Deputy-CEO for Tanenbaum I am tasked with overseeing all of Tanenbaum’s program areas, along with fund development and communications. But the longest section of my early career began in public education and working with at-risk youth. I’m also an ordained interfaith/interspiritual minister and graduate of One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in New York City, a journey I embarked on while working at Tanenbaum.

These experiences and others, affect how I show up at work daily. Now that I’m in a position of leadership, I try to be very aware that we have to be willing to accommodate the whole person at work. My experiences continue to inform and help me work to create an environment where people feel cared for, respected, and a part of the team. A place where a person’s truth can be told.

I invite you to watch the full interview now and let us know what you think.

Mark Fowler
Deputy CEO, Tanenbaum

A Path Forward: Confronting Hate in America

Ken Parker, prior to leaving the KKK and NSM.

Knowing anti-Semitism is on the rise again. Seeing what happened in Charlottesville, then Pittsburg. Hearing the chants, “Jews will not replace us.” In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, we have to ask the hard question.

Are there some people—bigots and extremists—who are so extreme, they just can’t change?  Our answer, “NO!”

Support for this can be found in Deeyah Kahn’s beautiful, courageous and heart-wrenching Netflix documentary White Right: Meeting the Enemy. In the film, on the Unite the Right rally and the white nationalists who participated, Kahn introduces us to white supremacist leader and Born Again Christian, Ken Parker. At that time, he was active in the Nationalist Socialist Movement (NSM) and a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). 

Ken hands over his Grand Dragon robe to race relations expert Daryl Davis

The film captures what Ken had to say during the 2017 rally

Jews and homosexuals, they should be exterminated, every single one of them.” 

I absolutely despise Jews, so yes I’m a racist.”

“I will never break bread with a Jew! Ever.”

Today it’s different. Ken is now a “former.” He retired from the NSM and the KKK and denounces hate groups. Part of his evolution included a process of reconciliation, and Ken reaching out to the very people who he used to vilify.

Ken Parker with Jewish Holocaust Educator, Tamara Meyer

Tanenbaum’s Combating Extremism campaign partnered with Arno Michaelis, a former leader in the skinhead movement and now a peacebuilder, who pushed Ken to meet his first Jew—something he vowed never to do.

Arno introduced Ken to Tamara Meyer, a Jewish Holocaust Educator, and to race relations expert Daryl Davis, and videotaped Ken “break bread with a Jew.”  And now, in partnership with Arno, we are proud to present what happened.

A Path Forward: Confronting Hate in America, affirms that a powerful way to move forward through hate is with empathy, understanding and respect. Take a look. And let us know what you think.

 

What does Global Ethics Day mean in today’s world?

Today is Global Ethics Day. But what does that mean in today’s world? What do we mean by ethics? Do we mean our values? Or do we mean, how we live our lives?

One way to answer this is by referring to what I call, the musings of the Wise Ones. The oldest discussions of character for which there are records come from the ancient Greeks. They are best known from the reflections of such well-known philosophers as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Indeed, many of Plato’s “Socratic Dialogues” specifically examine virtue and the character of a virtuous person.

There’s the philosopher Herodotus, known for his proto-relativistic creed: “Man is the measure of all things.” And in more recent history, the assessment by the late literary giant, Elie Wiesel who observed, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” Or the words of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Albert Schweitzer who wrote, “Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”  

We can find values amid their ideas. However, I prefer to define ethics by considering the lives, and actions, of religious peacebuilders—individuals who, because of religion, dedicate themselves to pursuing peace. Around the world, such extraordinary yet unknown women and men exist. Driven by faith, they dare to do the work that others are afraid to take on. Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action Network is a group of such individuals, a special breed from the world’s most violent crises. They offer critical insights, real-world skills and examples of ethical leadership that can inspire.

Take for example, Imam Dr. Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye of Nigeria who have been publicly pursuing anti-corruption efforts to keep their country’s upcoming general elections fair and honest. Each has been a voice for safe elections, calling on their fellow countrymen to critically assess what politicians say, to be wary of false promises by politicians, to educate themselves and apply the core values of their religious traditions in their everyday lives and as they exercise their votes. Imam Ashafa noted:

“In every street in Nigeria, you find Churches and Mosques with people calling unto God but yet our attitudes to one another does not portray what we are learning in our various places of worship.”

Similarly, his peace partner Pastor James has added his voice to the Nigerian public’s pre-election preparation. In the past month, alone, he offered valued insights at a four-day interreligious dialogue between leaders of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria and the Fellowship of Christian Students of Nigeria; and again at a capacity-building workshop for youth to better combat corruption. At the latter event, held in Northern-Nigeria, where Boko Haram has spread fear and violence, Pastor James spoke boldly on lingering criminal activities and banditry in the northern states. In so doing, he pursued truth while placing himself at risk. He stated:

“Those that are involved in curtailing these problems are benefiting from it financially, and that is why it is occurring.”

Such efforts are high profile in a country where extremism lurks. Yet these men pursue democratic processes even when laying low and remaining silent would be safer. They are not alone.

Elsewhere in Africa, Peacemaker Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge of South Africa’s Cape Town-based organization Embrace Dignity is helping women and girls in the sex industry, and those who are victims of human trafficking. Working directly with the women, while also putting herself “out there” with political leaders, Nozizwe and her colleagues are trying to move the Parliament of South Africa to pass an equality law that would decriminalize the act of selling sex – thus supporting women’s agency over their own bodies – but would also criminalize the act of paying for sex. Ideally, the law would lower the demand for solicited sex, while simultaneously decreasing the supply of women and girls being trafficked into the sex industry – similar to the Nordic model from 1999. In a recent IOL interview, Nozizwe explained:

“This law must be heavy on the buyers (of sex work), who are creating a demand. If there is no demand, there is no supply. Women are being thrown in the street either by family members or by desperation. That is what caused the demand. We elevate their voices so the government can hear them. We are showing the government that it can be done!”

So again, what do we mean when we talk about ethics? Values or actions that demonstrate values? Actions unveil a person’s moral and ethical character and reveal who they really are. So as we think about Global Ethics Day, let’s identify the strongest values we can muster…and then put them into action.

International Day of Peace

Friends,
 
This year’s International Day of Peace celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document lays out a vision of human rights for all. As such, it is critical to all of us.
 
But what needs to be remembered is that the Declaration itself, and much of the work that has followed its powerful release, would not exist without women – including women of faith – who are involved in the peacebuilding process. As head of the Human Rights Commission, it was a woman, Eleanor Roosevelt, who was instrumental in composing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The work that has grown from that document would not exist if not for that one visionary woman.
 
​​​​​​​Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel at the United Nations General Assembly called Keeping Faith in Sustainable Peace: Women of Faith as Agents of Transformation. I spoke alongside professor Hind Kabawat, a member of Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action Network, along with Fatima Madaki, from Search for Common Ground and a KAICIID International Fellow. These women, along with myself, are living proof that women of faith can and should be recognized for the roles we play in the peace and reconciliation process, as formal and more often informal, agents of peace. Among our panel, we unanimously agreed that before anything else, UN leaders, diplomats, government officials and religious leaders within various communities MUST collaborate with women as allies and partners in the conversation. Women need more than a seat at the table. They need many seats. 
 
Early on, Tanenbaum saw the importance of women of faith in peace, and committed to formally recognizing women among our Peacemakers. Today, the Peacemakers in Action Network includes 10 women of faith – from all different conflict zones, who each live out their faith in different ways that build towards sustainable peace and inclusion. 
 
Too often the role women play as agents of peace is undervalued and often straight out ignored. Their work, their perspectives, their existence must be recognized. So today, to honor the past 70 years and look towards the next 70, let’s change how we work together – and make sure that we are working with the multitudes of women who make peace possible internationally.
 
And just in case you still have doubts about the power of religious and faith-based women peacebuilders…please take a few minutes to review Tanenbaum’s resource sheet, Women Who Pursue Peace and Justice, on the female peacemakers we recognize and partner with, and the important work they’re doing.
 
Yours in peace, 
 
Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO, Tanenbaum 

Fostering Religio-Cultural Competence in Nursing

Dear Friends,

On July 19-20, 2018, Tanenbaum convened a number of nursing educators from across the United States, to discuss our new nursing curriculum, Fostering Religio-Cultural Competence in Nursing. This curriculum was created and piloted in partnership with Columbia University School of Nursing’s Masters Direct Entry (MDE) Program to address a gap in nursing education in relation to religious and cultural competence. The event was well attended, with representatives from 16 nursing schools, and 34 attendees overall, including nursing educators, practicing nurses, and people generally involved in health care and health education.

Our speakers at the event, Dr. Vivian Taylor, Associate Dean of Diversity and Cultural Affairs at Columbia University School of Nursing, Dr. Karen Desjardins, Associate Professor and Director of the MDE Program at Columbia University School of Nursing, and our Deputy CEO, Mark Fowler discussed the challenges and opportunities encountered when creating and implementing the curriculum. They further discussed the opportunities for new nurses to have this training in advance of seeing patients. We fulfilled one goal of the Symposium through conversations, garnering feedback on the curriculum content and gaining advice on how to organize the material to attract interest from, and better serve, nursing education programs when the curriculum is made available to the public.

This symposium is the culmination of a 4-year effort spearheaded by Tanenbaum and CUSON staff to create and organize a nursing curriculum on religio-cultural competence that is accessible and easily incorporated into existing nursing programs and class syllabi. The symposium guests responded well to the curriculum, many underlining the necessity of better education and training when it comes to interacting with and treating patients of unfamiliar religious and cultural backgrounds.

Other insights included:

“Great people, awesome organization, and insightful lecturers”

“This conference far exceeded my expectations. I am excited and motivated to begin a new academic year with a new skill set (although I still have much to learn)”

“[The curriculum] seems very thorough”

“It seems very accurate and comprehensive, it’s good to have lots of case studies”

“[I am] really pleased with the material”

We also received some guidance on how to expand the curriculum’s impact by perhaps, making it more concise, breaking up the curriculum thematically rather than by specialty, making the questions more open-ended, both for students and patients, and for certain case studies, including more background information and context.

Overall the Nursing Symposium was a success! The feedback we received was much appreciated and will help guide our next steps as we move this curriculum forward so we can soon make it available to all nursing schools and nursing education programs. We are very excited to continue this project and our effort to ensure that patients of all religious and cultural backgrounds are treated equally and with respect.

Warm regards,

The Tanenbaum Health Care Team