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Search for Common Ground announces leadership transition
an article by Search for Common Ground (abridged)

Search for Common Ground (or “Search”), the peacebuilding organization with operations in 33 countries across four continents, today [February 5] announced that its founder and President John Marks and its Senior Vice President Susan Collin Marks have decided to transition to new roles within Search, and that Shamil Idriss will become President, effective September 1, 2014.



click on photo to enlarge

Mr. Idriss, 41, has served for the past four years as the Chief Executive Officer of Soliya, an organization that has pioneered the use of new media in cross-cultural dialogue and education, and has helped to establish the field of virtual exchange. Before Soliya, among other positions, Shamil had worked at Search for 13 years, most recently as its Chief Operating Officer. He also served as a member of Search’s Board of Directors for the past 10 years.

John Marks and Susan Collin Marks will continue to serve in their current positions until September, at which time John’s title will be Founder, Search for Common Ground and President, Common Ground Productions. Susan will become Senior Advisor of Search for Common Ground. Having voluntarily decided to step down from Search’s Executive Team, both John and Susan will serve as advisors to Shamil and the Executive Team. John, who also decided to step down from the Board, will continue to take a leading role in the organization’s media production. Tom Manley will continue to serve as Search’s non-executive Chairman of the Board.

Separately, Search and Soliya announced that Soliya is in the process of joining Search for Common Ground under Shamil’s leadership to work as one unified team advancing their shared mission (see https://www.sfcg.org/search-for-common- ground-and-soliya-to-join-together/).

John Marks said . . . “Shamil Idriss is the ideal person for this job. To his very core, Shamil is committed to our shared mission, vision and values. With his deep appreciation for – and long experience with – Search, he is the embodiment of the next generation of Search leaders. . . .

Shamil Idriss said, “I am eager to build on the foundation that John, Susan and the team at Search have laid. Their legacy is extraordinary and we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude for their accomplishments. John and Susan have been mentors, friends, and a source of inspiration to me. I am committed to honoring their incredible service, and I am thrilled to work with them through this transition and into the future. Among their greatest legacies is the Search team – a global, diverse, courageous, and talented community that I am honored to join and eager to lead.” . . .

Prior to Soliya, in addition to his time at Search, Shamil served as Executive Director of the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund which merged with Soliya in 2009. In 2005, he was appointed by then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as Deputy Director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. He has served on the Steering Committee of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and of the ASMA Society’s Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow.

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Once again, as they have done now each year since 2009, the Nobel Women's Initiative provides biographies of 16 women leaders involved in local action for peace and justice around the world, and in particular to stop violence against women.  Last year's biographies were listed in the CPNN discussionboard.


This report was posted on February 5, 2014.