Shamil Idriss

Truths About Violent Conflict

New initiatives are overcoming violent conflict in 35+ countries. What if there was a way to achieve lasting peace.

President & CEO: Search for Common Ground

Shamil Idriss is the President of Search for Common Ground, a global conflict transformation organization with offices in 36 countries.  Search’s mission is to transform the way the world deals with conflict – away from adversarial approaches and toward collaborative problem-solving.  Founded in 1982, Search works with local communities and leaders in some of the most challenging conflicts in the world, adapting creative approaches to build the trust and cooperation between divided communities that is essential to sustainable development.

Search is one of the largest peace-building organizations in the world and is recognized in particular for the pioneering role it plays in utilizing media for social change and for its work to foster and support the leadership of children and youth in peace-building.  Search also facilitates high-level negotiations and Track II peace processes, playing an especially important role over the past 19 years in promoting US-Iran cooperation and support to the negotiation process between the countries.

Prior to his current position with Search, Mr. Idriss worked with the UN Alliance of Civilizations, first as Deputy Director of that Initiative appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and later as Senior Advisor, facilitating dialogue between diverse religious and political actors from the Arab region, Europe, and the United States.

More recently, as CEO of Soliya, Mr. Idriss led an effort involving civil society organizations, governments, and multi-lateral organizations to establish the field of “virtual exchange.”  Virtual exchanges are technology-enabled people-to-people dialogues and Soliya’s virtual exchanges connect young Americans, Europeans, and their peers in Muslim-majority countries around the world who would not otherwise have access to an international cross-cultural experience.  These efforts led to the establishment in November 2014 of the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative funded by the Governments of the U.S., Morocco, Qatar, UAE, and Algeria. Soliya merged into Search when Mr. Idriss assumed the Search Presidency in September 2014.

Mr. Idriss has served on the Steering Committee of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders, is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and has been named by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in Jordan in their publication 500 Most Influential Muslims.