Two leading nonprofits—Seeds of Peace and Social Entrepreneurship Forum (Sweden)—partner to unite social innovators in pursuit of conflict resolution
NEW YORK | How do we move beyond superficial diversity to leverage our differences and build thriving, equitable communities across lines of conflict? This was the challenge posed to changemakers across the globe who recently applied to the GATHER Fellowship, the only program of its kind at the intersection of social innovation and conflict transformation.
A record number of applicants, more than 250 individuals from 55 countries, submitted proposals to take part in a year-long fellowship that kicks off in Sweden from March 11-16, 2018. There, a group of carefully selected social entrepreneurs and influencers will join together for a five-day incubator program that includes skill building, reflection and sharing, mentorship, and meetings with Swedish parliamentarians, business leaders, and international investors/funders. The program will culminate in a public pitch session where the Fellows each share their innovative solutions in support of sustainable peace to an audience of 150 philanthropists, business leaders, investors, and Seeds of Peace and SE Forum Board members.
Today, Seeds of Peace, working in partnership with SE Forum, is proud to announce its third class of GATHER Fellows: 16 changemakers from the Middle East, South Asia, the United States, and Europe who are already having a social, economic, or political impact. Their work varies—from building affordable solar energy solutions to developing educational video games, fighting gender violence to leading art-based trauma workshops. But they are all united in their optimism and commitment to transform conflict, despite the tensions in their communities.
“Reading through 250+ applications from across 55 countries of people thirsting to advance creative solutions to conflict provides a remarkable contra to the dire images that we see regularly in the news. GATHER is thrilled to promote the work of these extraordinarily brave individuals who are visionary enough to imagine an alternate and more hopeful reality for their communities of conflict.”
— Jonah Fisher, Director of GATHER
“Our orchestra consists of Greeks, migrants and refugees. The message is simple: no matter your religion, your nationality and the color of your skin, on stage we are all artists. We develop individual artistic personalities and build a group for a more peaceful society.”
— Anis, Co-founder of El Sistema Greece, an organization that teaches music to empower refugees.
“Conflict is the only byproduct when half of a country’s population is neglected and denied opportunities. A good education will give women skills through which they will transform Pakistan’s society in unimaginable ways.”
– Ahmed, Founder of the Lincoln School System, a progressive program in Lahore that offers girls scholarships to high-quality schooling to in order to overcome the stark gender imbalance in educational opportunities.
This year, the first half of the five-day program will be hosted by Sigtunastiftelsen, a 100-year old foundation near the town of Upsala that aims to inspire human thought and reflection. Fellows will then move to Stockholm for the final two days, using the city as a case study of the GATHER Challenge—exploring how one city can serve to authentically and equitably integrate an enormously wide set of diverse communities. Fellows will meet the pioneering entrepreneurs, investors, and parliamentarians driving impact in the country that is at the top of the world’s sustainability rankings. The Fellowship, however, has a full year ahead, beyond the Swedish program. A GATHER symposium will be held in New York City on May 8 to showcase the work of current and past Fellows, and an international convening is planned for the end of 2018.
For media requests, please contact Huberta von Voss-Wittig (firstname.lastname@example.org).
About Seeds of Peace
Seeds of Peace inspires and cultivates new generations of global leaders in communities divided by conflict. We equip them with the skills and relationships they need to accelerate social, economic, and political changes essential to peace. Our network now includes nearly 6,700 alumni throughout the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, and the United States who are uniquely positioned to lead change. The nonprofit was founded in 1993 and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Learn more about our journey and impact at 25.seedsofpeace.org.
About the Seeds of Peace GATHER Fellowship
GATHER is Seeds of Peace’s social innovation arm, an investment in practical idealism through action. It is built on a powerful and ever-growing network of thousands of changemakers across the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, and the United States who are skilled in dialogue across lines of conflict and are creating opportunities across diverse fields—business, nonprofit organizations, technology, education, arts and culture—to reshape communities divided by conflict. The initiative is sponsored through the generous support of Scott and Sabrina Birnbaum, Darcie Bundy and Ken Cohen, Leir Charitable Foundations, Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation, the Moses Feldman Family Foundation, Orphanides & Associates, Red Sea Ventures, and the Leila and Mickey Straus Family Charitable Trust.
About Social Entrepreneurship Forum (SE Forum)
Since 2004, SE Forum has been advocating responsible business solutions to address local and global challenges; promoting, inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs from all over the world to use business to do good. Providing social entrepreneurs opportunities to strengthen their business skills, challenging them to find sustainable models for their business and providing a network of support to help them reach their goal of making a lasting impact in their communities.