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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Winning Hearts And Minds: The Power Of A Well-Told Story

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Session Description

Social entrepreneurs have to do more than present compelling solutions. They need to change long-standing beliefs in favour of new ways of thinking and being. This session will look at different ways that film and media can take positive messages to mass audiences with the goal of influencing strongly-held attitudes and behaviours. Speakers will offer expertise, case studies and lessons learned regarding how popular culture and a well-told story can accelerate social transformation.


When | Where

10:45 - 12:15 Thursday, March 26

Session leaders

  • Have a Post Graduate in Labour and Social Welfare with an additional degree in Law. Working in Development Sector since 1982. Since joining IDE-India in 1991, have been able to help 1.5 million small holders with small plot irrigation technologies through market forces.
  • Cara Mertes Speaker
    Director, JustFilms, Ford Foundation
    Cara Mertes’ career focuses on supporting and connecting independent film communities globally as a public television executive, independent executive producer/director, funder, curator and teacher. Currently Director of Ford Foundation’s JustFilms, she funds content, networks and leadership fostering independent film/digital storytelling. She has served as Director, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund and Executive Producer of the POV documentary series on PBS, where she was awarded with multiple Emmy, George Foster Peabody, and duPont-Columbia awards. She has executive produced several Oscar-nominated films, including Street Fight, My Country My Country and The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) and led major Ford Foundation funding and support for Academy Award winner CITIZENFOUR. She served as executive director of American Documentary Inc., and has taught and written about the independent documentary movement. Mertes is a member of NATAS, WGA and AMPAS.
  • Greg Barker Speaker
    Director, Silverbridge Productions
    A former war correspondent, Greg Barker draws on his years of experience overseas, filming and working in more than 50 countries across six continents, to make thought provoking, character-driver documentaries about the complex world we live in. His films include the award winning Ghosts of Rwanda and several other investigative films for the flagship PBS series Frontline. Sergio is his first feature-length documentary film.
  • Peace Ambassador, Search for Common Ground
    Susan Collin Marks, Search for Common Ground’s Peace Ambassador, is an internationally renowned peacemaker and peacebuilder. For nearly three decades, she has worked in some of the most conflictual places on the planet, including mediating in the heart of her native South Africa’s transition from apartheid, facilitating ongoing dialogue in the Middle East, supporting peace initiatives in the former Soviet Union and Asia, and establishing national peacebuilding programs throughout Africa. In recent years, she has focused on mentoring and coaching high level political, institutional and civil society leaders worldwide, encouraging them to be leaders for the whole, not just their party, faction or group. In September 2014, she stepped aside after 20 years as senior vice president of Search for Common Ground (, and moved from Washington DC to Europe. Her book, Watching the Wind: conflict resolution during South Africa’s transition to democracy, USIP 2000, captures the compelling story of how peace can be built even in the most intractable conflict. She holds an MA in International Relations from the University of Kent at Canterbury, and a BA in Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town. Honors include an Honorary Doctorate from the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica; Jennings Randolph Peace Fellowship at the United States Institute for Peace; Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship; President Jimmy Carter’s Waging Peace Award; Marvin Johnson Diversity Award, Association for Conflict Resolution; Exemplary Leadership Award from the University of Pittsburgh; and the Institute for Noetic Science’s Creative Altruism Award. She continues to speak, teach, coach, mentor, write, facilitate, and support peace processes and conflict resolution programs internationally. She holds a vision of a world of peace and dignity for all. She believes that our common humanity binds us together more than our differences divide us. She works to make it so.