Resilience is a series of conversations featuring experts and leaders from different professional backgrounds, hosted by Scott Weber, President of Interpeace.

The purpose of these conversations is to understand the role that individuals, communities, institutions and our leaders can play in building trust and a more peaceful world.

The series will begin with a focus on the COVID-19 crisis and its impact in our societies.

Episode 8: A conversation with Gilbert Doumit, Public Policy and Management Expert, Political Activist

Lebanon is currently facing political, economic, and social unrest, which has spiraled in the last year, due to COVID-19 and the devastating explosion on August 4 that killed 200 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. In this episode, Gilbert Doumit, Public Policy and Management Expert, shares his unique insights on the crisis that is unfolding in his home-country. He highlights that the crisis is rooted in the sectarian-power sharing system “enshrined in every aspect of the country”, which helped end the civil war in 1990, but has now caused the near-collapse of Lebanon. Doumit unveils the different layers of the crisis and how this dire situation can create an opportunity for positive change.

Founder and Managing Partner of Beyond Group, an international mission-driven consulting firm, Doumit has worked for over two decades on social cohesion, social and economic policies and governance reforms, and facilitated dialogues in countries such as Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Nepal, Tunisia and Lebanon. As he shares his views on the current political situation of other countries in the MENA region, he emphasizes the importance of empowering citizens in Lebanon to take action and find their own solutions, without relying on foreign interference. If the crisis is not dealt with through their own means, Doumit fears that there is a risk of Lebanon transforming into a war zone. Doumit however, remains positive and shares his vision for a hopeful future.

Episode 7: A conversation with Carlos Lopes, Honorary Professor at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance

Carlos Lopes, professor in Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town, says Africa’s progress in terms of reducing inequalities continues to be overlooked even as inclusive society models become more widespread in countries across the continent. He speaks about the importance of changing the narrative on Africa – moving from pessimism and stories of fragility to optimism – explaining that the negative, pessimist narrative about Africa is enshrined in very deep-seated beliefs.

Lopes, an African Union High Representative for Partnerships with Europe, explains why African countries need to change from structural adjustment to structural change that transforms their economies, manage the underlying causes of conflict and make use of economic peacebuilding opportunities to nurture social cohesion. He gives examples of incredible progress – in African countries from Rwanda through Namibia to Morocco – that are indicative of sustainable change already happening, and talks about ways intergenerational and universal solidarity can protect peace in Africa.

Carlos Lopes is former executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa and co-author of the recently published book “Structural Change in Africa: Misperceptions, New Narratives and Development in the 21st Century”.

Episode 6: A conversation with Nelufar Hedayat multi-award-winning journalist, and Digital Correspondent for the Doha Debates

In this episode, we talk with Nelufar Hedayat, a multi award-winning journalist, documentary maker and Digital Correspondent for the Doha Debates. An Afghan, who moved to the UK as a refugee, Nelufar has gained the trust of a world-wide audience through her authenticity and ability to unite people in meaningful conversations.

Find out more about Nelufar´s path into journalism as an immigrant, how she faces the challenges to remain a trustworthy journalist in the context of misinformation. Nelufar also discuss the opportunities and limits of digital spaces as a platform for debate and social change.

Episode 5: A conversation with Sanam Anderlini, Founder and CEO of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)

In this episode, Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Founder and CEO of the International Civil Society Action Network(ICAN), and Director of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics and Political Science, highlights the progress made and remaining challenges for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, twenty years after the passing of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. She talks about the specific impact of war on women and girls, the crucial role they play in building peace and their prominent place on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response.
In the context of the Black Lives Matter protests in the USA and the wider fight for equality, Sanam stresses the importance of convergence among social justice efforts to better combat the racism, sexism, and homophobia that characterize most identity-based and violent extremism movements.

Episode 4: A conversation with Dr. Michael Adekunle Charles, Head of Country Cluster for Southern Africa at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

In this episode, we are honored to speak with Dr. Michael Adekunle Charles, Head of Country Cluster for Southern Africa at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Dr. Adekunle talks about the impact of COVID-19 on local communities, how local communities demonstrate resilience and the future of humanitarian assistance after this pandemic. A public health expert and seasoned humanitarian, Dr. Adekunle says the COVID-19 response should not be seen from a health perspective alone. He explains how communities are worried about their livelihoods, uncertainties of losing jobs and water and sanitation. “We ask people to wash their hands for hygiene, but the reality is that not everybody has water or running water to do that,” he stressed.

Dr. Charles says the pandemic is also an opportunity to bring people together, especially in fragile societies or countries where there are conflicts. He explains how the IFRC is using the crisis to bring communities together against the common enemy – COVID-19, in the process fostering peaceful coexistence.

Dr. Charles identifies innovation, collaboration, and solidarity at all levels of society, as critical to resolving the crisis – concluding that, “together we can succeed.”

Episode 3: A conversation with Noam Shuster-Eliassi comedian and peace activist 

In this episode, we are pleased to welcome Noam Shuster-Eliassi, a Jewish Israeli Comedian and Peace Activist to talk about her personal experience with COVID-19 and how comedy makes us more resilient. Noam who recovered from COVID-19 recently, talks of her experience in quarantine at the Corona hotel in Jerusalem where she shared the same space with people from conflicting Israeli and Palestinian societies. She says her quarantine experience uniquely positioned her to see the “deep political understanding that we needed this health perspective to understand that we share the same land and our fates are intertwined”.

The comedian sees a silver lining to this COVID-19 pandemic, being an opportunity to bring people together through comedy. She explains her role as comedian to repair things that are broken and to give some light and hope to people as they adjust to the current situation. Why is comedy a powerful tool to promote coexistence?

Find out more in this episode and join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #ResilienceWebcast

Episode 2: A conversation with Ambassador Frederic Ngoga-Gateretse, Head of the Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division at the Peace and Security Department of the African Union Commission

In this episode, we explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on conflicts in Africa, the impact of viral misinformation on the response effort and how this crisis is enhancing multilateralism across the Continent.

Ambassador Ngoga-Gateretse says that African states will need to put human well-being above all else, with a focus on security, health, and education. An experienced peacebuilder, diplomat, and public administrator, he talks about the need for a new social contract in Africa after the pandemic and highlights the amazing sources of resilience that are helping people cope with this crisis.

Will the COVID-19 pandemic weaken commitments to multilateralism or lead to more solidarity in Africa? Will the pandemic exacerbate mistrust in governments or be an opportunity for trust-building?

Find out more in this episode and join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #ResilienceWebcast

Transcript of the conversation here

Episode 1: A Conversation with Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi – The Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization

In this episode, we are honored to speak with Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization, to explore new responses and innovative tools to address the COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Berkley is an epidemiologist, and one of the world’s foremost public health officials.  In 2009, he was selected by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for his groundbreaking work on HIV-AIDS.

Dr. Berkley will help us understand the complexities of this pandemic, the impact it is likely to have in the world’s most vulnerable populations, and how we can build a more resilient system to prevent such crises in the future.