John Marks, president and founder of Search for Common Ground in Washington, D.C., will speak about “Peace Building and Conflict Resolution” at UT on March 16.
Marks’ talk, which begins at 7 p.m. in the International House Great Room, is part of the Great Decisions Program, coordinated by the Center for International Education and funded by the Ready for the World Initiative, which brings speakers from around the country to UT this semester to address our nation’s most pressing foreign policy issues.
Marks will make a multimedia presentation on how non-governmental entities play a substantial role in peace building and will show a series of short video clips and music videos to illustrate his points.
In a letter on the Search for Common Ground’s Web site, Marks describes the organization, which is now active in 20 countries:
“We began in 1982 at the height of the Cold War, and we focused on building bridges between East and West. Back then, we had two employees, a handful of supporters and a minuscule budget. We currently work in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Indonesia and the United States, and we have a staff of almost 400. In addition, thousands of people directly participate in our programs, and we reach millions more through media projects,” he wrote.
Many of Search for Common Ground’s programs involve the media, education and the arts and culture. Some specific examples include the soap opera for social change in 15 countries; youth community and mediation centers in Morocco; building bridges between the Muslim world and the West; and the use of sports to find common ground.