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Salzburg Global Mourns the Death of Ernest Mokganedi
Salzburg Global Mourns the Death of Ernest Mokganedi
Salzburg Global Seminar 
Salzburg Global Seminar would like to pay tribute to Ernest Mokganedi, a transboundary conservation champion and Salzburg Global Fellow, who has passed away at the age of 48. Mokganedi was killed after being involved in a motorbike collision on Saturday, July 28. Two other bikers were also injured in the incident, whom we both wish a strong recovery. Salzburg Global was first introduced to Mokganedi when he attended one of our programs, The Next Frontier: Transboundary Cooperation for Biodiversity and Peace, in November 2016. Mokganedi was one of a diverse group of participants who helped identify the most promising approaches with regards to inclusive and sustainable development, regional economic growth, cohesion, and peace-building. The program was the second in the series of the Parks for the Planet Forum. Since 2002, Mokganedi had been director of the Transfrontier Conservation Areas in South Africa, a position which allowed him to utilize his extensive knowledge and experience in the fields of public policy development, public policy implementation, labor relations, and dispute resolution. In a statement, Edna Molewa, minister of environmental affairs for South Africa, said, “Mr. Mokganedi was instrumental in establishing, managing and extending the Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) in Southern Africa having grown this network of conservation areas from a concept to the successful reality it is today. “His role and commitment to ensuring that all the countries linked through the TFCAs in Southern Africa benefited from these areas will always be recognized.” Mokganedi also served as a board member for the Southern African Wildlife College. As part of a tribute, the College said Mokganedi “loved life and lived true to the five mottos of the Tshwane Legends Bikers Club; Family-hood, Brother-hood, Respect, Love and Discipline … He often lent his support when working through strategic issues and was incredibly supportive of the College’s work." Our thoughts remain with Ernest Mokganedi’s family and friends.
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Salzburg Global Seminar Mourns the Death of “Generous Supporter” Vi Lort
Salzburg Global Seminar Mourns the Death of “Generous Supporter” Vi Lort
Salzburg Global Seminar 
Salzburg Global Seminar would like to pay tribute to Vi Lort, a long-time friend and supporter of Salzburg Global Seminar who passed away on July 8, 2018. Vi was the widow of Roger Lort, who served as vice-president, resident director, and treasurer at the Seminar between 1965 and 1991. Vi, along with Roger, was a recipient of the Salzburg Cup, an honor bestowed upon individuals whose service to Salzburg Global merit special recognition. She was a crucial part of the Lort team when the organization first visited the Middle East to recruit Fellows. Efforts in this direction were so successful because she was along to share the challenge of making contacts and conducting interviews. She was also one of the most active and supportive volunteers in memory, continually helping in the office with any task that needed doing, and was also a superb hostess, caring tirelessly for the needs of Fellows and Faculty.   Vi played a pivotal role in the Seminar’s life for many decades. She contributed to the organization’s general operating budget and the Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association. Marty Gecek, chair of the Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association and director of American studies symposia at Salzburg Global, said, “All who had the privilege of knowing and working with Vi Lort, can attest to her love and affection for the Salzburg Seminar, which was demonstrated in countless ways throughout the many decades she was at the side of her husband Roger Lort, vice president, and treasurer. “Vi was not only gracious, poised and welcoming to all who came to Schloss Leopoldskron, her wonderful humor and enthusiasm endeared her to all. For many years, she was a generous supporter of the Seminar, in particular, the American Studies program. Vi was one of the most positive individuals I have ever met, always seeing the bright side of things, despite her many medical challenges. With her passing, an important era of the Salzburg Global Seminar’s history has come to a close." Tim Ryback, former director of Salzburg Global Seminar, said, “Roger and Vi were a model of dignity, honesty, kindness, and generosity of spirit, indeed the very embodiment of the Seminar spirit.  Roger could have been a high-flying New York investment banker, which indeed he was for a time, and Vi an even higher flying (in the literal sense of the word) airline hostess, but both decided to devote their lives to the Seminar, and saw the institution through complex times with a firm but gentle hand.   “There is much talk about the spirit that continues to inhabit the walls of Schloss Leopoldskron. I believe the spirit of Roger and Vi remains in the very spirit of the Seminar.”
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Salzburg Global Fellow Danny Ramadan Wins Canadian Authors Book Award
Salzburg Global Fellow Danny Ramadan Wins Canadian Authors Book Award
 
Salzburg Global Fellow Danny Ramadan has received another accolade for his latest book, The Clothesline Swing. Ramadan, who has previously attended two programs of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum, recently won the 2018 Fred Kerner Book Award, which is given each year by the Canadian Authors Association. This tale takes place during the aftermath of the Arab Spring and tells the story of two lovers anchored to the memory of a dying Syria. The book has already been widely acclaimed and was named among the Best Books of 2017 by the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. It also received an Independent Publisher Gold Medal in the category of LGBT Fiction. Ramadan is a a Syrian-Canadian author, storyteller and LGBTQ refugees activist. Born in Syria, Ramadan moved to Vancouver, Canada in September 2014. During the Salzburg Global program, The Many Faces of LGBT Inclusion, Ramadan discussed his experiences as a gay refugee and his search to find a place to belong. After winning his latest award, Salzburg Global caught up with Danny to discuss his reaction, the messages he wants his readers to take away, and his experience as a Fellow of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum. Read our Q&A below. SG: Congratulations on winning the Fred Kerner Book Award. What were your first thoughts when you found out you had won? DR: I was completely floored when I found out I won that award. Being recognized for my art is the highest form of recognition I can think of. It says that my art, despite it being about characters on the margins, and being an unconventional form of storytelling, can still hold value in my new community here in Canada. SG: Was it a surprise to be featured on the shortlist? Did you have any expectations when you first published the book? DR: When I published the book, I wished the best for it but knew that my expectations might be too high. I'm thankful the book won this award, and one more award, as well as was featured in multiple shortlists and best books of 2017 lists. It honestly came as both a confirmation that I'm on the right track and a surprise that my work as an author can hold value for others who don't necessarily share the same lived experiences with me.   SG: What was the drive behind writing a book and how did you find that process? Is it a skill that came naturally to you? DR: I have always thought of myself as an author. If we queer people are superheroes, my superpower was my ability to write. It always felt natural and comfortable for me to write. If anything, my storytelling skills are the reason I managed to leave a mark in all aspects of my life as an activist or a journalist. I was driven to write this book because there were stories that I found unique to the experiences of queer Syrian refugees that I believed should be told, and I didn't even know if those stories will be read by anyone else other than me, so having this opportunity for those stories to be shared means the world to me. SG: What message(s) do you want readers to take away from The Clothesline Swing? DR: I think the main message behind the story of The Clothesline Swing is that there is a lot of resilience in the spirits of queer refugees everywhere. Their stories are not that of hardship, but also of survival and finding love and being true to who they are; as well as finding paths to accomplish their dreams both as humans but also as humans who are marginalized and second-rate in many communities around the world. SG: You’ve received excellent feedback so far, but has there been a particular piece of feedback or a review you’ve received that sticks in your mind? DR: Being shortlisted for the Lambda awards was a highlight in my life and the best accomplishment I've ever managed to achieve. I've known about the awards since I was a unique fella back in Syria, and I dreamed one day of winning one. I can now say I was shortlisted for that prestigious award and who knows, maybe I win it with my next book. SG: How would you describe your experience as a participant of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum? What impact has it had on you? DR: How to describe a life-changing event that truly affected me positively throughout the years it followed? This is too difficult. I have met folks that I learned so much from, and people that I connected with on spiritual and meaningful ways. I've seen stories unfold in front of my eyes on the panels that means so much to me. I'm a witness for this Forum, and it made me a better person for sure. Danny Ramadan has attended two Salzburg Global programs. This includes The Many Faces of LGBT Inclusion (2016) and Home: Safety, Wellness, and Belonging (2017).
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Hal Varian – Data, like oil, needs to be refined in order for it to be useful
Hal Varian speaking at Salzburg Global Seminar
Hal Varian – Data, like oil, needs to be refined in order for it to be useful
Maryam Ghaddar 
For decades, science fiction films and books have foretold of a future where robots dominate the world, where human action becomes obsolete, and subsequently, human intelligence dwindles into oblivion. Hal Varian, the chief economist at Google, is of a different mindset. He believes technology will set its own course. “My theory is,” he jested, “we want to make sure robots think humans are cute - kind of like doggies and puppies and kitty cats… because if they think we’re cute, then they’ll take care of us.” Varian, who attended this year’s program of the Salzburg Global Forum on Finance in a Changing World on the recommendation of a friend, has worked at Google since 2002 on algorithm designs for auctioning and marketing systems, as well as policy-related issues, like privacy and intellectual property. During the Finance Forum, titled The Promise and Perils of Technology: Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Cybercrime and Fintech, he presented a keynote speech on the economics of artificial intelligence (AI). More specifically, he explained the economic implications of data on education, the workforce, research and development, and demographics. Varian later elaborated on this point, saying data needed to be turned into information, knowledge, and action to be coined as meaningful. “I think there’s a mystical belief in the power of data,” he said. “Data is like oil in one respect… namely, it needs to be refined in order to be useful. So the data itself is not the important components, the know-how to refine it into something that’s useful. It’s the same [when] we talk about oil or data – it’s just the raw material, it’s not the finished product.” When it comes to considering what the Fourth Industrial Revolution will look like, it’s easy to fall into the trap of fearing the unknown. The societal response to this radical revolution, whether it concerns technology, big data, or mass industrial change, is one massive question mark. Varian suggested past industrial revolutions occurred gradually, and then all at once, adding there were challenges and risks involved but then also a plethora of opportunities. He suggested it will be similar this time around. “In Silicon Valley, they always say you overestimate what can be done in a year; you underestimate what can be done in ten years. So a lot of technology that looks so exciting and so obvious today will probably take many years to deploy… The mobile phone has come up as an example. The first working mobile phone was in 1970; the first commercial version was in 1980 – it cost over a thousand dollars, it weighed several [kilograms], it was the size of a brick. So, that technology took… more than a decade to really disseminate in a meaningful way.” The chief economist offered another example that cropped up several times over the course of the Finance Forum: autonomous vehicles. For years, companies worldwide have been endeavoring to circulate driverless cars more widely. It is, as Varian underlined, “a trillion-dollar industry” that works on a mobile and a technological level, but human error and human behavior have thus far been too strong a poison against its operational and marketing advancement. Preserving the human spirit in the face of such technological developments is essential to maintaining the situation in the future. “Demography is destiny,” Varian said. He described a concept of “Bots & Tots,” which essentially pins automation against procreation. Whereas age distribution is indicated through demographics, technology is not as widely understood. “We don’t really know where we’ll go, even in three [or] five years; it’s hard to forecast what will happen in that time period. But, based on the estimates that I’ve developed using the demographic data and various forecasts of the technology data, it looks like the demographic data is the bigger effect, at least for the next ten or 15 years.” Regarding education and labor, he said, “We are a long way away from truly intelligent robots, but at the same time… we’ve seen tremendous advances in just the last five years about tasks that were thought to be extremely difficult, like image recognition and automatic translation and voice transcription… I think that within the next two years, your mobile phone will be able to translate in real time… that doesn’t mean that translators would entirely disappear because there are still cases where the translator might need to know special vocabulary, technical work, physics, chemistry, mathematics, or specific literary skills.” So how do we prepare for this new industrial revolution adequately and in a purposeful way? With the Finance Forum taking place directly after the Salzburg Global Board of Directors Gala Weekend titled Who’s Afraid of Artificial Intelligence?, Varian offered his input on the topic, stressing both the benefits and dangers of these changes. “You certainly shouldn’t be blasé,” he noted. “You should recognize that every technology can be misused… There are tremendous possibilities for improvement in how people live, but they also can be used as weapons, and that’s not even thinking about the technological advancements. That’s simply taking ordinary devices that you would use every day – a car, a truck, a drone perhaps.” His time at Schloss Leopoldskron provided Varian with the opportunity to exchange ideas and viewpoints with others in the field of economics and finance. “You learn things here,” he concluded. “Having these meetings… plus government meetings, plus institutional meetings, that’s what makes the world go round.” If Varian could leave his fellow participants with one piece of wisdom, what would that be? “Keep an open mind.” The Salzburg Global Forum on Finance in a Changing World convenes an internationally representative group of leaders from financial services firms, supervisory and regulatory authorities, and consultancies, auditors, law firms and other professional service providers in a small and intimate setting. The annual gathering at Schloss Leopoldskron offers private and public sector leaders an opportunity for in-depth, off-the-record conversations on the issues affecting the future of global markets. For more info please click here.
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Bruce Adolphe - "Salzburg Global Seminar Has Been a Great Inspiration to Me"
Bruce Adolphe - "Salzburg Global Seminar Has Been a Great Inspiration to Me"
Bruce Adolphe 
The Salzburg Global Seminar has been a great inspiration to me and, most directly, has powerfully influenced my concepts and programming for the Off the Hook Arts Festival in Colorado, of which I have been artistic director since its founding seven years ago. The two Salzburg Global [programs] in which I participated intensified my commitment to combining the arts with urgent social issues: mixing artistic programming with science-oriented educational events; breaking down barriers between artistic and academic disciplines; and strengthening the music community's ability to affect positive change in the world.   The 2018 summer festival, for example, examines climate change from a variety of angles by bringing together music, visual arts, and science for four weeks of concerts, lectures, films, art exhibitions and STEAM-based educational events for all ages. We are calling the festival Mission Earth and dedicating the entire summer to the life and work of the late astronaut and scientist, Dr. Piers Sellers OBE. Inspired by the interdisciplinary investigations so typical of the Salzburg Global Seminar, I have invited over 20 scientists from around the United States to speak to our audiences in a variety of settings: lectures; pre-concert presentations; panels and roundtable talks. As always, the festival presents classical chamber music and jazz, with a mix of standard repertoire and new music, including several world premieres.   Here are the scientists who will join our music/art festival this summer: Edward Barbier, Department of Economics, CSU Joseph Berry, Carnegie Institution, Stanford Michele Betsill, Department of Political Science, CSU SueEllen Campbell, Department of English, CSU Scott Denning, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, CSU Juergen Drescher, Director of the German Aerospace Center Lindsay Ex, City of Fort Collins Climate Change Inez Fung, University of California, Berkeley Bob Henson, The Weather Company Jeff Hill, Bounce Software, LLC Julia Klein, Department of Ecosystem Science, CSU Erika Osborne, Department of Art, CSU John Pippen, Department of Music, CSU Susan Quinlan, Jax Mercantile David Randall, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, CSU Monique Rocca, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, CSU David Schimel, Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena Pete Seel, Department of Communications, CSU Lucinda Smith, City of Fort Collins Environmental Services Mayor Wade Troxell, City of Fort Collins Compton Tucker, Goddard Space Center NASA   Here is the link to our SummerFest website: https://offthehookarts.org/summerfest/   Last summer, we focused the festival on human rights, and my friend KAL (Kevin Kallaugher), editorial cartoonist of The Economist, was our artist-in-residence. KAL and I met at the Salzburg Global Seminar and not only have we remained friends ever since, [but] we have [also] created some unusual collaborations, mostly improvisational, to highlight the creative process in the service of social and political awareness (while getting laughs.)   In my own composing, I have increasingly addressed political and social issues, feeling the energy and mission of the Salzburg [programs] in my thinking. My violin concerto, "I Will Not Remain Silent," is inspired by the life of Rabbi Joachim Prinz, whose activism in Nazi Germany and later in the United States is legendary. Continuing that line of thought, my latest orchestral work is called "I too Bleed," and "Hope for Beauty" and is dedicated to the memory of Alma Rosé, Mahler's niece and the conductor of the women's orchestra in Auschwitz.   With America now facing serious threats to democracy, rising racism, and brutal governmental policies, musicians and artists cannot remain complacent, cannot merely entertain or provide escapist experiences. We need to be in the front lines, where the arts belong: music and art have the ability to awaken our humanity, illuminate our frailties, vulnerabilities, and our hopes. What good is music if it does not help us feel our commonality?   Thank you, Salzburg! Bruce Adolphe has attended two programs at Salzburg Global Seminar. In 2011, he attended Instrumental Value: The Transformative Power of Music. In 2015, he was a participant at The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation? Has Salzburg Global had an impact on your career or your way of thinking? Do you have a story you would like to share? Email fellowship@salzburgglobal.org! We'd love to hear from you!
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Cutler Fellow to Work at International Court of Justice at The Hague
Marcos Kotlik, a recent LLM graduate from the University of Michigan Law School, at the sixth annual Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program in Washington, D.C. earlier this year
Cutler Fellow to Work at International Court of Justice at The Hague
Oscar Tollast 
A Salzburg Cutler Fellow has been selected to undertake a 10-month Judicial Fellowship at the International Court of Justice at The Hague.  Marcos Kotlik, a recent LLM graduate from the University of Michigan Law School, attended the sixth annual Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.  He was one of five MLaw Cutler Fellows who explored the future of public and private international law.  Speaking to LegalNews.com, Kotlik said, "Beyond the professional and academic aspects of the program, it was a really nice opportunity to meet wonderful people from around the world, learn about their countries and the universities they belonged to, and make new friends." This year's Cutler Fellows Program saw participants engage with prominent legal professionals and public servants, including Seventh Circuit Chief Judge Diane Wood; Ivan Šimonović, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect; and William H. Webster, former CIA and FBI director.   Kotlik and his peers also worked with faculty advisors from each of the participating law schools – University of Chicago, Columbia University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, University of Michigan, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, University of Virginia, and Yale University – to sharpen their research papers tackling issues in international law ranging from trade and investment law to the law of war. The Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program was established in memory of Lloyd N. Cutler, the Washington “superlawyer” who served as White House Counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton. Cutler also served as Chair of Salzburg Global’s Board of Directors for a decade and advocated passionately for mentoring young leaders with a commitment to shaping a better world through law and rule of law.  Since its founding in 2012, the Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program has carried forward Lloyd Cutler’s legacy and continues to empower rising legal professionals from around the world. 
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From Scholarships to Schloss Renovations
From Scholarships to Schloss Renovations
Sarah Sexton 
Pillar I: Bridge Divides and Break Barriers Salzburg Global bridges divides by bringing people together across borders, generations, cultures, sectors and battle lines. This is how we began in 1947 and how we continue today. We believe that creativity thrives on diversity and innovation blooms at intersections. By convening individuals with rich experience and diverse perspectives, we challenge our Fellows to consider new possibilities. Through the Campaign, we will increase scholarships to ensure rising stars from emerging countries and underrepresented communities participate in our programs, regardless of financial means. Board Member Robert H. Mundheim, for example, has donated an endowed fund to disperse annual scholarships for Fellows representing “the missing voices of society.” Thus far, the Mundheim Family Scholarship has supported the participation of one Fellow pioneering social security projects for people with disabilities in India and another promoting patientled health care in Chile. Pillar II: Supercharge Innovation Salzburg Global programs have long inspired our Fellows to initiate new projects upon their return home. We are now integrating such post-program activity into our program design. Working with carefully selected partners, we imbed in every program the opportunity to design and discuss downstream solutions. Backed by micro-grants, collaboration among Fellows and partner institutions will produce initiatives ranging from grassroots projects to high-level policy proposals. Whether in redefining health care delivery, reimagining education for tomorrow’s world or revitalizing public sector leadership, multi-year Salzburg Global partnerships will plot a robust course of action. Funding from the Campaign will support program research and development, seed pilot projects and finance institutional collaborations. Pillar III: Preserve and Invest in Key Assets Schloss Leopoldskron animates everything we do. Its history, beauty and spirit inspires an experience nigh impossible to replicate. Generations have commented on the “magic” of the Schloss. In 2014, the Schloss itself was transformed to become Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron, a premier 21st-century hotel. Thanks to the generosity of our Board members and friends, 55 guest rooms were renovated in 2014 and 12 Schloss suites in 2018. The Hotel’s revenue supports both stewardship of this Austrian national monument and the nonprofit mission of Salzburg Global Seminar. The Campaign will conserve historic Schloss Leopoldskron and ensure that state-of-the-art technology links what happens there to audiences worldwide. Campaign funds will also overhaul lecture and seminar rooms and preserve the Schloss Park, which provides a beloved venue for summer weddings, theater and concerts. A Family Legacy To those who knew him, it came as no surprise when Walter Roberts received the Salzburg Cup, the highest honor Salzburg Global Seminar bestows for service to the institution, in 2010. For 64 years, Roberts was among Salzburg Global’s most devoted champions, serving as a faculty member, Board Member and Senior Fellow. He was joined by his wife, Gisela, and son, William and daughterin-law, Patricia, at numerous programs at Schloss Leopoldskron. Two years after his death in 2014, his three sons — William, Charles, and Lawrence — saw an opportunity to honor their father’s legacy. As an early Campaign gift, the Roberts family funded the renovation of the Walter and Gisela Roberts Suite in the Schloss. The family also created a scholarship endowment in their parents’ names to help bring rising stars to Salzburg for generations to come. They invite the Salzburg Global community to join them in expanding the Walter and Gisela Roberts Endowment Fund.
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For the Love of Humankind
For the Love of Humankind
Sarah Sexton & Jenny L. Williams 
Philanthropy — in both its modern meaning and ancient roots, stemming from the ancient Greek for “love of mankind” — has been at the heart of Salzburg Global Seminar since its founding in 1947. Over seven decades, Salzburg Global has invested in connecting and empowering individuals with a common desire to shape a better world. In turn, many who share our vision have offered their time and resources, propelling this organization forward to become a catalytic force for global change. From our earliest beginnings to our latest innovations, “love of mankind” has summoned Salzburg Global Fellows, directors and friends to support a mission and place known for changing lives worldwide. Emboldened by this robust tradition of philanthropy, we are launching our largest-ever fundraising campaign. Inspiring Leadership: The Campaign for Salzburg Global Seminar will seek to raise $18 million over the next three years to expand our scholarship program, invest in developing innovative solutions to complex problems and secure this organization and our historic home of Schloss Leopoldskron for generations to come. As Salzburg Global President Stephen L. Salyer explains: “Campaigns are about vision. They support critical, compelling and transformational priorities.” The First Philanthropists In the fall of 1946, Austrian-born Clemens Heller, a graduate student at Harvard University, had the audacious vision of reviving cross-border dialogue in war-torn Europe and laying the foundation for a peaceful future. According to Salzburg legend, Heller serendipitously re-encountered Helene Thimig, a family friend and widow of renowned theater impresario Max Reinhardt, on the New York subway where he outlined his plan. Enchanted, Thimig offered her late husband’s Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg for a summer school in 1947. Heller and his two Harvard co-conspirators, Richard Campbell and Scott Elledge, received further support from the Harvard Student Council, which contributed $6000. Proceeds from a lecture by German composer Bruno Walter and a concert by American folk singer Pete Seeger also helped pay the first-year bills. A remarkable roster of Harvard professors, including F.O. Matthiessen, Wassily Leontief, and Margaret Mead, agreed to pay their own travel fare and serve on the faculty without stipend — a generosity that has continued in the 70 years since. Enterprising Fellows helped secure the nascent institution but, without an endowment or reliable income stream, the institution bordered in its early years on insolvency. In 1950, a young Marcel Marceau held a series of performances in Salzburg to raise money to keep the Seminar alive. Meanwhile, back at Harvard, graduate students held a dance — the “Leopoldskron Leap” — and contributed its proceeds. A Tradition of Philanthropy As our program has become year-round and global in scope, institutional grants and partnerships have reinforced our financial stability. But individual philanthropy — in its many forms — has been and remains a cornerstone of Salzburg Global’s success. The first scholarship endowments were established in the 1970s thanks to private individuals; today 10 such endowments support the participation of dozens of Fellows annually. The purchase of the Meierhof building in 1973 was made possible by a gift from the widow of former Seminar vice president Amory Parker, for whom our conference room — Parker Hall — is named. Funds to create staff offices and participant bedrooms came directly from European Fellows. Forty years later, Fellows, board members and friends rallied to support another Meierhof renovation, making $2 million in low-interest loans that enabled the launch of Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron in 2014. Exponential Growth With a Salzburg Global Fellowship spanning 170 countries, a stellar international staff, and an incomparable palace to inspire breakthrough thinking, Salzburg Global Seminar is posed for exponential growth in reach and impact. Salyer believes “the Campaign, Inspiring Leadership — gift by gift, investment by investment — will empower people, policies, and placemaking that can transform the world.” Michael Hoffman, Chairman of the Campaign Steering Committee, adds: “As our programs expand and deepen, learning from the world’s top thinkers and innovators will influence change on the ground. Our emphasis on community-level collaboration and next-generation leadership ensures meaningful growth in local relevance and measurable impact.”
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Ayub Ayubi - “I had no time for thinking independently”
Ayub Ayubi - “I had no time for thinking independently”
Helena Santos and Mirva Villa 
Today Ayub Ayubi is a Pakistani social activist dedicated to youth empowerment and to engaging college students from different cultural and religious backgrounds through the Renaissance Foundation for Social Innovation, Pakistan (RESIP). But this story could have been radically different if Ayubi had not attended college. Born and raised in a “religiously fanatic environment” as he describes it, Ayubi’s childhood was marked by hatred and extremist views on how to treat others who didn’t belong to the deobandi – a strict Sunni school of thought. “My time was divided 40% for school, 30% for madrassa and the rest of the time for my family. In this proportion I had no time for thinking independently or I was not allowed to go around freely with friends not of my culture. The parents belong to a deobandi sector and they didn’t want any friend outside that sector.” Gaining time to think and his own space is what Ayubi considers as the defining moment in his life. While in college he started to have contact with believers from other Muslim sects and it led him to challenge preconceived notions that were prevalent in his household, like how the Shias are the enemies of Islam. “At the college time I changed my circle of friends and that was the time I began to change. I improved myself and it was the initial point for me to de-radicalize myself and to have some freedom, for me to have some space for myself. That was the beginning of it and I really love that moment.” This passion and will to change his extremist ways propelled him to create a safe space for others to go through the same process he had. Hence RESIP was born. His main goal with RESIP, an organization he founded in 2011 and of which he now serves as its chairman, is to promote de-radicalization and preventing violent extremism in his country. With support from Salzburg Global Seminar, he is now also piloting another de-radicalization project, as part of the Salzburg Global Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Program. RESIP started as an informal way for students to gather and have the opportunity to discuss their own views, and since 2011 it has helped 5000 young Pakistanis. Seven years later RESIP has two nationwide programs, one of which is Mashal-e-Rah. “Mashal-e-Rah is an on campus campaign for alternative engagement to stop the recruitment of extremist groups like ISIS/Daesh and many of these jihad groups [that] are actively working within the campus. We are trying with this campaign to provide young people a platform where they could share their voices, that could share their grievances against the state, against their own families, against the campus, anyone.” Issues such as gender equality, Islamic extremism and other religions are discussed by students who have different views so that they have a chance to develop empathy with the other person’s believes and values. Mashal-e-Rah is currently present in 25 campuses across Pakistan. “We are not judging them; we are giving them an option to speak up [...] We are trying to let them realize that violence is not an option and that you need to tolerate other people’s views.” Having a space to talk and confront different ideologies is exactly one of the things Ayubi cherishes the most about his time in Salzburg. In his opinion, global meetings are the key to think of the world without any constraints imposed by family, society, governments or media. “I would call it building empathy with the international community. That’s what we need at this stage. That’s one of the stepping stones toward peacebuilding and this is what I’m learning from here.” Ayub Ayubi is a Fellow of the Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Program. This multi-year series is held in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with further support from Ronald D. Abramson, the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria, The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. More information is available here: holocaust.salzburgglobal.org
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