Speakers: Shamil Idriss

Shamil Idriss is Chief Executive Officer of Soliya, an international non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young people to use new media tools to advance social change and improve cross-cultural understanding within and between their societies. He assumed this position after negotiating the merger of Soliya with the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund, a consortium of media industry leaders and philanthropists dedicated to using mass media to improve cross-cultural respect, for which he served as Executive Director from January 2009 until the two organizations merged in October 2009.

Soliya is an implementing partner of the UN Alliance of Civilizations.  Mr. Idriss was appointed Deputy Director of the UN Alliance by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2005 and continues to serve as Senior Advisor to the initiative.

From 2000-2004, Mr. Idriss served as Chief Operating Officer of Search for Common Ground (SFCG), a leading conflict resolution organization with offices in 17 countries and a pioneer in using media to transform conflict.  Previous to this he held multiple positions over nine years with SFCG including Director of the organization’s Burundi Program – the flagship project of which was Studio Ijambo, a multi-ethnic staffed radio studio credited by Burundians and international donors alike with playing a significant role in reducing inter-ethnic tensions during and after the civil war – and as Manager of SFCG’s US-Iran program, which developed some of the first exchanges between Americans and Iranians since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Mr. Idriss serves on the Board of SFCG and was Chairman of the Board of Soliya from 2003-2009.  He is a member of the ASMA Society’s Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow network and of the Young Global Leaders network of the World Economic Forum.  He lives in New York with his wife Cynthia and daughters Aniset and Nura.

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