Johnson Institute 2016 Exemplary Leadership Award

The Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership announces the 2016 Exemplary Leadership Award event. Susan Collin Marks, Peace Ambassador and John Marks, Founder and Former President of Search for Common Ground are the event’s honorees. The event will take place on Thursday, April 21, 2016 in Ballroom B of the University Club, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Susan Collin Marks, Search for Common Ground’s Peace Ambassador, is an internationally renowned peacemaker and peacebuilder.  For nearly three decades, she has worked in some of the most conflictual places on the planet, including mediating in the heart of her native South Africa’s transition from apartheid, facilitating ongoing dialogue in the Middle East, and establishing peacebuilding programs throughout Africa.  In recent years she has focused on coaching high level political, institutional and civil society leaders worldwide, encouraging them find common humanity with their opponents.  In September 2014, she stepped aside after 20 years as senior vice president of Search for Common Ground, and moved from Washington DC to London.  She was a Jennings Randolph Peace Fellowship at the United States Institute for Peace.  Her book, Watching the Wind: conflict resolution during South Africa’s transition to democracy, USIP 2000, captures the compelling story of how peace can be built even in the most intractable conflict. She holds an MA in International Relations from the University of Kent at Canterbury, and a BA in Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town. She speaks, teaches, coaches, mentors, writes, facilitates, and supports peace processes and conflict resolution programs internationally.  She holds a vision of a world of peace and dignity for all.   She believes that our common humanity binds us together more than our differences divide us.  She works to make it so.

John Marks
was until September 2014 the President of Search for Common Ground, a peacebuilding NGO he founded in 1982 that has grown to 600 staff with offices in 36 countries.  He also founded and headed Common Ground Productions, and from his new base in London, he remains a Senior Advisor to both organizations.  He wrote and produced a four-part TV documentary series, called “The Shape of the Future,” that was simulcast in 2005 on Israeli and Palestinian TV, and he has executive-produced a wide variety of TV and film productions, including “Under the Same Sun,” an Israeli-Palestinian feature film, and 327 episodes in 19 countries of “The Team” dramatic TV series.  He also is a best-selling, award-winning author, and he was a US Foreign Service Officer and Executive Assistant for Foreign Policy to US Senator Clifford Case. A graduate of Cornell University, he was a Fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School.  He is an Ashoka Senior Fellow.

 John and Susan’s honors include honorary doctorates from the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica, Skoll Awards in Social Entrepreneurship, President Jimmy Carter’s Waging Peace Award and the Institute for Noetic Science’s Creative Altruism Award.


Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
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