Positive dialogue with Muslims

By Jessica Elgot, August 4, 2011
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Jewish and Muslim entrepreneurs discussed Zionism, Islamism and business ethics at a Cambridge University conference aimed at improving relations between the religions.

Under the aegis of the Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship programme, 24 British, American and French social entrepreneurs spent two weeks at Cambridge's Judge Business School.

They included charity heads, artists and campaigners for human rights and the environment. Tzedek director Dan Berelowitz and Alice Wood, director of the UK Task Force on issues facing Arab citizens of Israel, were among British participants.

Ms Wood felt "incredibly privileged to have been given the opportunity to be among such inspiring people, all of whom want to work together to build a fairer and more cohesive society. The fellowship is a unique model, helping social entrepreneurs refine their business skills whilst creating cross-community dialogue. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I hope to be involved with the network for many years to come."

Mr Berelowitz said he had been among "an exceptional group of people. This is the start of lifelong friendships and some seriously innovative world changing projects."

The fellowship programme is run by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation, whose executive director Firoz Ladak said: "We wanted to strengthen long-term Muslim-Jewish relations, but realised that religion is often not the divisive factor.

"As such, we moved away from conventional discourse on faith and opted to start from an area of natural collaboration - the meeting of the humanities with social entrepreneurship."

    Last updated: 2:34pm, August 4 2011