In February, over 200 changemakers from more than 20 countries around the world met in Jordan to take practical steps towards transforming conflict in and between their communities.
GATHER+962, a Seeds of Peace initiative, marked a new milestone in Seeds of Peace’s journey as a leadership development organization. The three-day convening formally launched a larger Seeds of Peace initiative to help accelerate the efforts of Graduate Seeds and other leaders in their communities.
A New Seeds of Peace Action-oriented Initiative
Mohamed Rahmy, Director of Seeds of Peace Graduate Programs, shares the highlights from GATHER+962:
I’m happy to report back on this first step that is GATHER+962 and share with you some of its highlights, but before I do, if you missed out on GATHER+962 and couldn’t attend it last month, don’t worry: there are many more opportunities yet to come!
Participants from more than 20 countries all around the world including Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, the US, the UK, Italy, Yemen, Lebanon, and France attended GATHER+962.
The majority of participants came from the Seeds of Peace community: Seeds, Delegation Leaders, educators, and counselors. However, GATHER+962 was equally inclusive of those new to the organization. We had representations from a wide array of local, regional and international organizations, companies, and foundations including: PITME, Endeavor, CISCO, QuestScope, Ashoka, Energiya Global Capital, FOEME, Think Unlimited, MEET, One Voice, Tsofen, Sadara Ventures, ALLMEP, PresenTense, Rabtt, Social Quotient, and many more.
Themes and Speakers
This year we focused on the roles that business, entrepreneurship, media, technology and gender play in social change. Selection of participants as well as curation of all activities and sessions at GATHER+962 were guided by these professional tracks.
Our plenary Inspire Talks featured:
Ami Dar, founder of Idealist and a pioneer in building a global online community.
Kito De Boer, Head of Mission, Office of the Quartet Representative, who is spearheading the Initiative for the Palestinian Economy.
David Pearl, a much sought-after inspirational speaker, who through his Hero’s Journey talk spoke to the GATHER community about leadership, culture change, and working with uncertainty.
Our dear colleague and Seeds of Peace’s very own Director of South Asia Programs Awista Ayub moderated a phenomenal conversation between the first female Second Deputy Speaker in the Afghan Parliament, Fawzia Koofi, and Parnian Nazary, Advocacy Manager at Women for Afghan Women and 2003 Afghan Seed.
We curated 15 different Discussion Series over the course of the weekend featuring more than 50 panelists debating a multitude of current topics through the lens of how progress might be advanced in practical ways. Discussion Series were structured as panels but in a more intimate set-up to allow for meaningful conversations, interactions and thoughtful exchanges.
Leading the Discussion Series were Graduate Seeds who sat alongside experts and industry leaders—representing pioneering social change organizations, businesses and VCs in our regions—to share their views, work and expertise, among them:
Sherife AbdelMessih (Egyptian Seed and CEO of Future Energy), Aneeq Cheema (Pakistani Seed and Co-Founder of Rabtt), Alina Shkolnikov (Israeli Seed and Director at PresenTense), Shanoor Seervai (Indian Seed and freelance writer and journalist), Adham Rishmawi (Palestinian Seed and VP Medipharm Co.), Christina Hawatmeh (American Seed and Founder of Protestify).
There were numerous opportunities for participants to develop practical skills as emerging social entrepreneurs. Danny Warshay, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Brown University, led his popular case-study based “Entrepreneurial Process” workshop which guided participants on how to master a deliberate entrepreneurial process, apply entrepreneurial approaches to solving social challenges, develop entrepreneurial confidence and hone down analytical and communication skills.
Tia Johnston Brown of Ashoka led an “Entrepreneurship Boot Camp” where change leaders worked through the unique challenges and opportunities of running a social enterprise and learned how to pitch their projects.
The weekend culminated with an Initiative Pitch, where 20 young professionals presented their ideas to conference attendees and received feedback from esteemed panelists, paving the way for the work that will continue after GATHER+962.
Where do we go from here?
We will continue to build the network and community through in-person follow up events, our online community, a very active Facebook group, and the upcoming Seed Fellowship Program which will debut in London and continue over the course of the year through local programs and targeted leadership development opportunities.
We will be announcing the opening of the Seed Fellowship Program applications in the coming weeks. All are invited to apply whether or not they attended GATHER+962.
Have a look at more photos and highlights from GATHER+962!