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  • Search for Common Ground, Soliya
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Chief Executive Officer, Search for Common Ground

Board Chairman, Soliya

Facilitating inter-religious cooperation on issues of shared concern as a means to deepen trust through collaboration.  Utilizing diverse tools and technologies to foster dialogue and cooperation, from traditional in-person roundtable dialogues to social impact entertainment (TV and radio drama and “reality” programming), community theater, sports, and internet-based virtual exchanges. Shamil Idriss is the Chief Executive Officer of Search for Common Ground (Search), the world’s largest peacebuilding organization. During his time at Search he has also served as Chief Operating Officer and Burundi Country Director and led or supported the organization's efforts to address violent conflicts in more than 20 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Central and Southeast Asia, the United States, and between the U.S. and Iran. Idriss is also Chairman of the Board of Soliya, an NGO whose mission is to equip and support young people to establish healthy relations within and between their societies through virtual exchange educational experiences that combine the power of dialogue with the reach of new media technologies.  Previously as CEO of Soliya, he led a coalition of public and private sector leaders to establish the field of virtual exchange as a scaleable model for cross-cultural education and collaboration. In 2005, Idriss was appointed by the UNSG Kofi Annan as Deputy Director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, whose role was to support political and religious leaders in developing action plans and policy recommendations to advance interreligious and intercultural relations between Western and Muslim-majority countries. Early in his career Idriss worked with prison inmates in the U.S. on alternatives to violence and mediated disputes for the Washington, DC Office of Minority Business Development.  Idriss delivers keynote addresses, lectures and media apperances on the subjects of violence, conflict, extremism, and the principles and practical approaches to peacebuilding.  In 2015 he received the Open Society Foundation’s New Executive Award and in 2018 his organization Search for Common Ground was nominated by the Quakers for the Nobel Peace Prize.