FGI: future careers
Faith can give a sense of value in whatever walk of life you are in. So as a professional person I think it can also help in that way too: it can give you a sense of purpose, a sense of stability and a sense of what is right and wrong.” Tony Blair
Thinking about a career in law, business, finance, social services, international development, education or politics? Unsure why faith and globalisation is relevant? Below are some examples examining why the study of faith and globalisation is important to each as you move on to what’s next.
With the trend towards multiculturalism, thanks to globalisation, religion is an increasing factor in every career and directly impacts the legal profession, as religious adherents can sometimes follow legal systems derived from holy texts or theological jurisprudence which clash with secular or civil laws. For example:
- Some Muslims in Western Europe prefer to be judged by Sharia law and Muslim judges in domestic cases
- Some Westerners in Middle Eastern and Gulf states fall foul of prohibition laws, or are unsympathetic of local cultural traditions and local laws
- The Amish in the USA follow strict religious laws, sometimes in direct conflict with the law of the land
- Human rights cases on the conflict in parts of Africa often have cultural and religious themes at their heart
Business and finance
Globalisation has meant that businesses, banks and industries have gone global, bringing those in business and finance into direct contact with those of other cultures and faiths. Understanding other faiths is vitally important. Not having sufficient knowledge of faith or cultural customs can hamper transactions, insult customers, or harm business – perhaps irrevocably. Businesses have to take into account:
- Holy days, religious festivals and holidays affect trading hours
- How religious customs affect the manner in which transactions are conducted
- How religious traditions sanction various products or industries in different parts of the world
Working in international development demands knowledge of those you will be working with in foreign countries, even if you never actually travel overseas. Knowing the needs of those you are supporting and helping is paramount to successful planning, implementation and delivery. For instance:
- How would you deliver goods in Saudi Arabia on a Friday?
- How would you try and deliver aid to regions controlled by religious rebel groups such as Al-Shabab?
- What religious and cultural considerations would need to be taken into account when dealing with Northern Sudan, Israel or the Vatican?
Whether it is the delivery of aid, working with governments to implement better economic structures, or planning engineering projects to supply sustainable energy sources, being able to suggest ideas, write reports or deliver presentations with consistent cultural and religious awareness is aprerequisite of anyone working in this field.
Working within the social services brings you into direct contact with members of different faiths and cultures every day, and being able to better understand their religious or cultural needs and expectations, especially if they do not speak the same language, is increasingly important. For example:
- Would you know what foods are Kosher?
- Do you know the difference between Halal and Haraam?
- How would you care for an elderly Amish gentleman?
Religion and politics have always been two of the most hotly debated topics. The surging influence of the Middle East, the continuing civil conflicts in North and Sub-Saharan Africa, and the emergence of mass religion in places such as China all signal that religion and religiously orientated politics will dominate the international scene for the foreseeable future.
For future leaders, both national and international, an understanding of religion as a political force, religion as a globalised entity, and religion as a motivational tool is imperative.
- How would you approach discussions with the Taliban?
- How would you try and resolve religiously fuelled civil conflicts?
- How would you implement national security against religiously motivated terrorists without isolating and scapegoating those within the nation who follow the same religion?
Considerations such as these will hamper those who do not understand the new form of globalised religion and the manner in which globalised technologies have transformed the way in which people have access to and view religious beliefs.
Standing in front of a classroom of children today, you see a range of different nationalities and ethnicities staring back at you, and many different religious faiths being practiced outside (and inside) of school hours.
Knowing what to expect from these enquiring minds, eager for knowledge and full of questions, and moreover knowing how to balance the many different viewpoints that are represented is hard work, but increasingly vital.
For those working in Education an understanding of the ways in which the new globalised world is interacting with religions, and an understanding of how those religions are changing and developing is now more important than ever as they teach the next generation of leaders.