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Shamil Idriss

President & CEO, Search for Common Ground


Shamil Idriss is President of Search for Common Ground, a global peace-building and conflict transformation organization with offices in more than 30 countries. He was previously appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as Deputy Director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. Upon departing his staff position with the UN in 2008, Idriss retained the role of Senior Advisor, facilitating dialogue between American and European foreign policy makers and religious leaders with the leaders of diverse Islamic political movements from across the Middle East and North Africa before, during, and after the “Arab Spring” revolutions in 2011. Mr. Idriss has served as Senior Advisor at the World Economic Forum and member of the Steering Committee of the Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders. As CEO of Soliya from 2008-2014, Idriss led an effort involving public and private sector leaders to establish the field of “virtual exchange” which led to the establishment of the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative announced by President Obama in February 2015 and a subsequent announcement by the European Commission of their first dedicated fund for virtual exchange in 2016. Mr. Idriss is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and recipient of the Open Society Foundation’s New Executive Award in 2015.