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February 2019 Newsletter


Later this month, we will be sharing our 2018 Annual Report to highlight and showcase the incredible impact our grantees have had in their immediate communities. In the meantime, we wanted to share some of our work that is dedicated to building our collaborative networks to enrich and secure sustainability for our Partner organizations and encourage growth initiatives for our Stardust grantees.

In this newsletter, you’ll find GPD’s monthly update to you, our friends and fellow supporters. As always, feel free to reach out directly if we can be a resource to you or if you would like to explore ways we can work together.

Syria Direct unveils Souriyeh / سوريّة: Women’s voices from Syria

This February, Syria Directt سوريا على طول launched its first-ever audio journalism reporting series, Souriyeh / سوريّة., a 10-part Arabic and English-language audio reporting series that highlights the role Syrian women are playing in communities inside Syria, as well as the diaspora, after more than seven years of war. The series also explores the challenges that Syrian women overcome each day.

Souriyeh /
سوريّة., takes its title from the feminine adjective of “Syrian.” It was produced by Syria Direct with support from the Canadian Embassy in Amman.

You can find all 10 episodes on Syria Direct's soundcloud account as well as on its news website. In one of its English episodes, Syria Direct reporter Madeline Edwards reports on a Syrian women's center in the mountains of Lebanon where shared grief develops into a shared sense of hope among Syrian women. Ammar Hamou explores how Syrian women have developed psycho-social support models which fill a gap in international programs targeting refugee women in Jordan. In a two-part series, Alice al Maleh meanwhile tells the story of two Syrian women in Denmark who are using their art to address questions of identity, statelessness and moving forward in their new lives.

Syria Direct is a non-profit journalism organization that produces timely, credible coverage of Syria while training a small group of highly talented, aspiring Syrian and international journalists in professional news-gathering and accurate, in-depth reporting.

The Democracy Council Brings Iran Civil Society Discussion to Capitol Hill

On March 15th, 2019, The Democracy Council led by Jim Prince will host a discussion titled Civil Society in Iran: Prospects for Reform & Implications for Policymakers to Capitol Hill staff, lawmakers, experts, and academics.

The moderated panel discussions will explore:

  • Access to Independent Information & Media

  • Marginalized Communities: Social & Political Movements

  • Civil Society: Trends & Prospects for Reform

This event will is open to the public and more information can be found here. We welcome you to share this with your friends and colleagues in and around Washington, DC.

Development Transformations Leads Evidence-based Programming, SENSUS, in Conflict and Transition Environments

GPD Stardust Grantee, Development Transformations (DT), a veteran owned small business, has been working on behalf of USAID and other donors in conflict and transition countries for the past decade. By working with new and existing local organizations, DT helps translate an understanding of the drivers of radicalization and address its root causes by strengthening community-level resilience to violent extremist activity.

In 2017, DT created a program called ‘SENSUS’ a data-driven, population-based approach to understanding and leveraging community dynamics to achieve program objectives. Local perceptions are the foundation of SENSUS’ approach. As a result of SENSUS, DT has created the ability to identify the issues important to the population by filtering key local dynamics by programming relevance and tailor program design and implementation. Each SENSUS component relies on inputs from and close partnerships with communities.

University of Chicago Pearson Center to Host Summit 'The Darker Side of Peace Agreements'

This April, GPD’s newest Stardust Grantee, The University of Chicago Pearson Center, will host a one day workshop titled, “The Darker Side of Peace Agreement.”

Around the world – from Israel and Palestine, to Colombia, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, and beyond – negative, darker consequences of the peace processes exist. This workshop brings together leading scholars and practitioners to discuss what we can learn from the dynamics of past peace agreements in order to offer practical and profound insights for the future.

The event will take place onFriday April 12 at the University of Chicago’s Keller Center from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Featured speakers include Dr. Nussaibah Younis, a Senior Advisor to the European Institute of Peace, an Associate Fellow at Chatham House, and the Executive Director of the Iraqi Fellowship Program, a GPD Partner.

The Center for the Study of Civil-Military Operations at West Point Hosts Charles Glass

This February, GPD Partner, The Center for the Study of Civil-Military Operations (CSCMO) at West Point hosted the esteemed journalist Mr. Charles Glass as part of a larger series of cadet and faculty engagements.

Glass, an American-British author, journalist, broadcaster and publisher specializing in the Middle East and the Second World War. During his visit, Glass shared anecdotes of his work with the cadets, including his experience interviewing the terrorists in the immediate aftermath of the TWA Flight 847 hijacking in 1987 as well has 62 day stint as a Shi’a militant hostage in Lebanon.

This event was part of a larger initiative to embed civil-military and interagency cooperation into traditional military education at West Point. 

In Chicago, Aspen Institute and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Hosted Annual Socrates Salon

On Friday March 8, 2019 and Saturday, March 9, 2019, GPD Stardust grantees, The Aspen Institute and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, hosted its annual Socrates Salon. This years focus was ‘A Brave New World: Democracy and Big Data.’

The two-day seminar explored the expansive role of tech platforms, the consumption of information in digital spaces, and increased connectivity, the arenas of discourse and social interaction have become new sites of regulatory dilemmas. It also explored issues of liberty (e.g., issues relating to the freedom to communicate, freedom to connect, the right of privacy, and the right to be forgotten), security, and the impact of technologies on democracy around the world.

Are they “technologies of freedom” or oppression?

This seminar had a wide-ranging discussion about where to draw the line.

Please join GPD in congratulating Saeid Golkar for earning his U.S. Citizenship.
Saeid is a visiting Professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and remains a close friend of GPD and our grantees. 

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