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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Unlikely Allies: Partners in Progress

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Session Description

Often, successful partnerships are bold; where unexpected allies form across a deep divide. What are strategies for working towards peace and progress with unlikely partners? Journalists Adrien Sindayigaya and Agnes Nindorera reached across Burundi’s ethnic divide at the height of the civil war to establish the first multi-ethnic-staffed radio outlet in the region, credited by John Kerry with helping to prevent genocide. Abigail Disney, activist and filmmaker, partnered with Reverend Rob Schenck, evangelical minister and pro-life leader, to advocate for gun control, while documenting the process.

When | Where

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM Wednesday, April 5 Pyramid Room


Interview Series

Session leaders

  • Rob Schenck Speaker
    President, The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute
    The Rev. Dr. Rob Schenck is an ordained Evangelical minister and president of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute, located in Washington, DC. A leader among American Evangelicals, Dr. Schenck served a 2-year term as chairman of the Evangelical Church Alliance, America’s oldest association of independent Evangelical clergy. As featured in Abigail Disney’s newly released documentary, The Armor of Light (Fork Films, 2015), Dr. Schenck has recently challenged the prevailing attitudes of American Evangelicals on gun ownership, opening a vigorous debate in his community on the ethical dimensions of gun use and related public policy questions. Dr. Schenck holds a B.A. in Religion, M.A. in Christian Ministry, D.Min in Church and State, and is a senior fellow at the Oxford Centre for the Study of Law and Public Policy at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford. Dr. Schenck serves on numerous boards and committees, including the National Advisory Board on Community Engagement in the State Courts. His professional memberships include the National Association of Evangelicals, the American Academy of Religion, the Capitol Hill Executive Service Club, and The University Club of Washington. Dr. Schenck lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Cheryl, a psychotherapist in private practice.
  • Abigail Disney Speaker
    President, Fork Films
    Abigail E. Disney is a filmmaker, philanthropist and the CEO and president of Fork Films. Disney’s longtime passion for women’s issues and peace building culminated in producing her first film, PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL (winner, Best Documentary Feature, Tribeca Film Festival 2008). She then executive produced the five-part PBS series, WOMEN, WAR & PEACE. Her executive producing and producing credits include Fork Films supported films 1971, CITIZEN KOCH, FAMILY AFFAIR, HOT GIRLS WANTED, THE INVISIBLE WAR (2012 Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Feature), RETURN and SUN COME UP (2011 Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Short). Her most recent projects include Fork Films original productions THE TRIALS OF SPRING, which she executive produced, and THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, her directorial debut. Disney is also the founder and president of Peace is Loud, a nonprofit organization that uses media and live events to highlight the stories of women who are stepping up for peace and resisting violence in their communities.
  • Country Director - Burundi, Search for Common Ground
    Adrien Sindayigaya is a media expert and peace builder. He has been a Search for Common Ground ( SFCG) ’s Media Development Advisor and Trainer and has led media, governance and accountability, capacity building and community peace-building programs until September 2016. He provided senior-level technical assistance to SFCG and its partners’ programs throughout Africa, including journalism training, media sector analysis and program management. Adrien is a journalist by training with 18 years of experience working with SFCG, and has also worked with the BBC and Voice of America and other prominent media organisations. He supervised journalism and communications training Africa-wide between 2012 and 2015. In Côte d’Ivoire as part of a World Bank-funded, SFCG-implemented capacity building program focused on strengthening public communication on government reform, working with civil society, media outlets, and government and Adrien played a great role. In Ethiopia, Adrien trained radio stations as part of a USAID-funded programme using strategic communications to prevent gender-based violence in Amhara region. In Chad, he led SFCG’s European Union-funded communications and governance work aimed at enhancing the role of local media outlets in strengthening accountability of local service providers. Previous technical assistance assignments included conducting media sector mapping and analysis in Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Burkina Faso and designing SFCG’s multi-pronged conflict transformation programmes in Rwanda. He also lead curriculum development for SFCG’s Radio for Peacebuilding: Africa programme, which focuses on developing communications and journalism training material for journalists and media professionals across the continent. In 2013, Adrien led a training for Senegalese journalists in Dakar in the techniques of investigating and reporting corruption.
  • Agnes Nindorera Speaker
    Journalist, Burundi Women Journalists Association
    Nindorera Agnes was born and raised in Burundi, a small eastern African country which suffered from violent political conflicts since 1965 to today. She studied Journalism first in Burundi(1983-1985), graduated in 1986 and served as Press Attachée at the National Assembly. The later was suspended following the 1987 military coup and Nindorera lost her job. She decided to go back to school and studied Journalism and Communication in Belgium at Free university of Brussels (Université Libre de Bruxelles) from 1987 to 1990. She took this opportunity to research “The ethnic dimension of the politics of Burundi” and published her memoire on this issue. From then, Nindorera was convinced that politics were critical to violence, ethnic cleansing and massive Human Rights Violations. Back home, she served as journalist Reporter and Chief of Column at the daily “Renouveau”. Meanwhile Burundi had entered into a political and economic liberalization process which allowed freedoms including for the press and media diversity. Nindorera’s work and professionalism were early recognized and she went on numerous US International Visitor Programs. The first one was attended just after the 1992 elections that brought into office a civilian elected President. During this trip Nindorera had the opportunity to visit American media including VOA which hired her as reporter and representative in Burundi. She was at the same time granted the Honorary Citizenship of Oklahoma. As Burundi’s political crisis turned into a civil war in October 1994, Nindorera was detached from le Renouveau to help the United Nations Secretary General Representative in Burundi’s team to develop a Campaign for Peace. It is at time that she was recommended, along with two other journalists, to the representative of Search for Common Ground in Burundi and thus, she became the only woman Journalist member of the team to start SFCG’s media project “Studio Ijambo”.
  • Shamil Idriss Moderator
    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.