Global Agenda Council on the Role of Faith 2014-2016
The religious landscape has shifted over the past decades. Evidence shows that in some societies the role of faith is fading, with an increasing number of people having no religious affiliation and a general resistance to identifying as someone who practises a religion. However, over 80% of the world’s population adheres to a religion. In these societies, recognition of the role played by faith and religious culture in public life is growing. Faith groups exercise authority, strengthen the social capital, provide services, advocate for change and mobilize communities. No matter whether a society is religious or not, it is difficult to deny the pivotal role religion plays in catalysing civic engagement in global problems. The space where faith, the economy and society interact is evolving in dynamic ways. These shifts create an opportunity for collaboration and socioeconomic transformation.
Members of the Global Agenda Council on the Role of Faith comprise the world’s foremost experts on the issue. They provide thought leadership that furthers understanding of faith’s complex influence on global affairs within World Economic Forum activities. The council and its members have sought to raise awareness of the criticality of “religious literacy” – ensuring leaders from government, business and civil society adequately comprehend religion’s nuances and drivers, as well as its impact on communities, markets and governance. It aims to transform perspectives on faith in government and the private sector, specifically in nations experiencing dramatic change (for example, immigration dynamics, internal conflicts, freedom of beliefs/religion and emerging market challenges).
Religion and faith play an important part in most emerging markets. If business, government and non-profits are to engage with these markets in a positive way, so as to lead to greater social well-being and stability, they will need to increase their religious literacy. The council is developing a toolkit to teach religious literacy through awareness, assessment and analysis. The first part of this toolkit highlights the impact faith has on economies, particularly through demographic and market analysis.
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