Monday, December 01, 2008

"Beyond Belief" Leadership Retreat in Los Angeles

A little late blogging on this... Last week I got back from our first official "Beyond Belief" Countering Terrorism Leadership Retreat in Los Angeles, organized by Americans for Informed Democracy. The all-day event took place on the USC Health Sciences campus and included a keynote speech from Suraya Sadeed, founder of Help the Afghan Children, a screening of "Beyond Belief", Q&A, panel discussion, and roundtable. More than 50 people attended, including high school students from Santa Monica and Compton, USC professors, a handful of college students, and local activists. Despite such a mixed crowd, it was great to see so many people engaged in a discussion about non-violent reponses to terrorism and America's role in the post-9/11 world. Particularly fascinating was a presentation from Ed O'Connell of the RAND Corporation on the importance of bolstering civil society organizations in the Middle East. A few pictures from the event are posted below... stay tuned for some video as well. Thanks to The Fledgling Fund for making this event possible and especially to Lynn Crandall, Laura Kavanaugh, and Vicente Garcia for all their hard work organizing.

Suraya Sadeed is the founder of Help the Afghan Children, which has been working on humanitarian projects in Afghanistan since 1993, during the civil war.

Students talking in the lobby during a break between sessions.

Ed O'Connell (RAND Corporation) telling stories from his time in the Middle East to some high school students from Santa Monica.

Post-screening discussion.

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