By Kathy Sun, Senior Manager at Search for Common Ground

Starting at the age of five, I very seriously wanted to be a singer. I found solace in music, and I loved to perform.

By the time I turned twelve, I had abandoned this dream — not because I no longer wanted to be a singer, but because I figured it was impossible. I had never seen a famous singer of Asian descent in the U.S.

The world looks different today. BTS, a Korean band, just broke the record for most views of a YouTube video within 24 hours, a…

Interview with Rezha Alausy Fauzan and Vera Al-Mawla

A mural painted by young activists in Sudan.

On May 5, young peacebuilders, international donors, and supporters of the Youth, Peace & Security agenda will come together at the Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development 2021. We reflected on the moment with two young peacebuilders: Rezha Alausy Fauzan, Advisor with Young Interfaith Peacemaker Community Indonesia, and Vera Al-Mawla, President and Co-Founder of the Lebanese NGO Peace of Art — both of whom have taken part in our Youth 360 pilot programs.

What motivated you to start working on peace and inclusion issues?

By Shamil Idriss, CEO of Search for Common Ground

There has never been a more promising, or more challenging, time to run an organization called Search for Common Ground.

In the past year, a chorus of voices has urged Americans to get over their differences and get along. President Biden struck this tone last night in his first nationally-televised address to Congress, ending with the words: “We can do whatever we set our mind to if we do it together. So let’s begin to get together.”

At Search for Common Ground, our ears perk up whenever we hear these calls…

Statement from Shamil Idriss, CEO of Search for Common Ground

Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on three counts: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

For millions of people in the United States and around the world, the news brings relief after months of fear and anticipation.

It should also spark our resolve — because although the verdict carries huge meaning, it cannot bring George Floyd back to life or resolve the deeper injustices of which his murder is not even the most recent example. Any hope that we feel is tempered by these realities.

There is something…

By Kathy Sun, Senior Manager at Search for Common Ground

After the shock comes clarity. A whole week has passed since the shootings in Atlanta, and I — like many other Asian-Americans — feel more committed than ever to contribute to meaningful change. For me, this commitment is further amplified, because I work in the peacebuilding and conflict resolution field for a living.

These killings are the latest and most horrifying crime in an escalation of violence against Asian-Americans over the last year. While officials are debating whether the murders are a hate crime, there’s no question that they were…

By Shamil Idriss, CEO, Search for Common Ground

When the Boss is speaking, millions of Americans listen. After all, millions of us (including myself) love his music. And on Super Bowl Sunday, a vast audience was watching as Bruce Springsteen — as a disembodied voice in a Jeep commercial — called for people to come together.

“The middle has been a hard place to get to lately,” rasped Springsteen over images of diners and empty landscapes.

The commercial added to a cacophony of voices calling for Americans to get over their differences and get along. At Search for Common Ground

In Burundi, as in all countries, peace requires economic security: a base of stability for people to support themselves and pursue their dreams. While everyone shares this need, we all go about it in different ways.

Enter the entrepreneurs from Nd’umu DG (I´m a boss).

In Dec. 2020, Search for Common Ground launched a 12-episode show in Burundi modeled off Shark Tank, the hit American show. Young entrepreneurs make pitches to a panel of judges, hoping to secure key funding. The show “seeks to bridge social divides in the country and generates opportunities for youth.”

The contestants show that everyone…

by Shamil Idriss

Photo courtesy of Mel D. Cole. Instagram: @meldcole

The storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was an alarming reflection of what happens when unresolved conflicts fester; media outlets fuel conspiracies; and craven leaders choose to exploit divides.

As the CEO of Search for Common Ground, the world’s largest NGO dedicated to peacebuilding, I work with over 1,000 colleagues to end violent conflict in countries from Mali to Myanmar. We know that turning back from the brink of civil war to forge a strong, cohesive republic is difficult — but that it is possible.

Consider just three components of our American condition and what…

In Kenya, face masks, reflector jackets, and dialogue are repairing relations between police and youth.

By Dominick Mwambui and Eoin O’Leary

Kwale County, Kenya — It’s 10 a.m. when the police officers arrive.

The mid-morning sun has begun to scorch, its rays glinting off a row of parked motorbikes and the young men seated on them, all squinting through the glare as they wave and call out to potential passengers. This is one of the stages along the Likoni-Msambweni highway where travellers know that they can find “boda bodas”, or motorbike taxis.

As the police approach, several boda boda drivers…

by Shamil Idriss, CEO, Search for Common Ground

The news that the next presidential debate is not taking place will be no surprise to those who sat through the first. What we saw — five weeks before the election and two days before the monumental news that the President of the United States had contracted COVID-19 — wasn’t a debate in any traditional sense. It was everything that we have come to expect from politics since 2016. With all of this it would be easy to say: Where’s the hope?

The United States isn’t united. We are divided not just…

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