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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
    Rob Schenck is an American evangelical minister and president of The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute in Washington, DC. As the subject of Abigail Disney’s Emmy Award Winning documentary, The Armor of Light, Rob broke with his community by challenging the American evangelical embrace of popular gun culture and its resistance to common sense gun regulation, fostering a mutually respectful conversation between the two sides on how to reduce gun violence. Similarly, after years as an aggressive anti-abortion activist, he has called for an end to combative engagement on the abortion issue and for a new understanding of each side's perspectives and experiences, with a view toward reducing unwanted pregnancy. In his upcoming memoir with HarperCollins, Costly Grace, Rob crosses another line by detailing his deep, personal shift of position on human sexuality and same-sex marriage. Rob’s previous decades-long leadership on the Religious Right has given him a unique voice in bringing new, solidly evangelical perspectives to entrenched social positions and has allowed him to build bridges across vast religious and political divides. He believes a new generation of socially conscious American evangelicals can help repair the considerable damage done by a highly politicized and destructive brand of evangelicalism that has dominated the American religious and political landscape for almost half a century. Rob holds degrees in Bible and Theology, Religion, Christian Ministry, and the doctor of ministry in church and state, all from evangelical institutions. He is a fellow of the Centre for the Study of Law and Public Policy at Oxford and the Royal Society of Arts. He 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 & CEO of Search for Common Ground, a global peacebuilding organization which supports communities to prevent and recover from violent conflict. With more than 650 staff and thousands more partners and volunteers working through offices in more than 30 countries, Search is the largest dedicated peacebuilding organization in the world. In 2004 Idriss helped establish and served on the Steering Committee of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders. He was appointed in 2005 by UN Secretary-General Annan as Deputy Director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. Idriss has pioneered the use of interactive technology for dialogue and conflict prevention. As CEO of Soliya he led a public-private sector coalition to create a market for virtual exchanges, leading to the establishment of the Ambassador Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative announced by President Obama in 2015 and subsequent launch by the European Union of a virtual exchange fund in 2017. Idriss is a member of the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders and a recipient of the Open Society Foundation’s 2015 New Executive Award.