How many technologists have traveled to Niger, or the Balkans, or Rwanda, to learn the lessons of peacebuilding? Technology and social media are creating patterns and pathways of conflict that few people anticipated or even imagined just a decade ago. And we need to act quickly to contain the effects, but we don't have to reinvent the wheel. There are people, such as this episode’s guest, Shamil Idriss, CEO of the organization Search for Common Ground, who have been training for years to understand human beings and learn how to help them connect and begin healing processes. These experts can share their insights and help us figure out how to apply them to our new digital habitats. “Peace moves at the speed of trust, and trust can’t be fast-tracked,” says Shamil. Real change is possible, but as he explains, it takes patience, care, and creativity to get there.
Shamil Idriss is CEO of Search for Common Ground, leading around 900 staff in 31 countries to end violent conflict. At Search for Common Ground, he has previously served as President, Chief Operating Officer, and Burundi Country Director at a time of high-stakes peace talks. As CEO of Soliya from 2008 to 2014, Idriss oversaw a public-private coalition to establish the field of virtual exchange, pioneering interactive media as a tool for cross-cultural trust. In 2005, Idriss was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan as Deputy Director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, seeking to improve relations between Western and Muslim-majority countries. Previously, Idriss had helped establish and served on the Steering Committee of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders. Since 2018, Idriss has worked with peer leaders to establish +Peace, a campaign platform to broaden public support of peacebuilding. Idriss has spoken widely on peace and conflict, social impact entertainment, and West-Muslim World relations, with TIGER-21 chapters across North America and Europe requesting Idriss more than any other speaker in that organization’s 20-year history. A graduate of Swarthmore College with degrees in Economics and Philosophy, Idriss lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss, a leading expert on the rise of radical right-wing extremism, and their two daughters.
Join Shamil Idriss in discussion with David Jay, Head of Mobilization at the Center for Humane Technology, for our conversation series Let’s Talk on Friday, April 9th at 1PM ET/ 10AM PT. RSVP here.
Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire is a book by Harvard Business School professor Rebecca M. Henderson. She argues that capitalism is on the verge of destroying the planet and destabilizing society. Yet some psychological norms have blocked us from making interventions that most people, even in the business community, recognize as necessary.
Naija Girls is a documentary short from Search for Common Ground that describes the friendship between two Nigerian girls, one Christian and one Muslim, who learn to work together despite the violent division between their communities.
The World Happiness Report is an annual report first issued in April 2012 by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network that shows how we can reliably assess quality of life using a variety of subjective measures.
The Peace Innovation Lab is a Stanford Business School lab that researches how to use technology design to encourage prosocial behavior.
“Fearless: The Child Reporter who became Sierra Leone’s Top Investigative Journalist” is a blog post by Search for Common Ground about Michael Sambola, a reporter who broke major national scandals as a teenager.