When a Hollywood superstar strives to help heal the world, just a little, I'm impressed. But when a movie star does it over and over again, uses her influence to create projects that help bridge the divide and help us understand "the other" we're so often afraid of, I can't help but call her a heroine.
There was a lot of hype and buzz involved when Web Summit announced that they were holding their first ever event in Asia, the RISE Conference. Web Summit is the technology conference held in Dublin, Ireland. Web Summit has grown from 400 to over 22,000 attendees since it started back in 2011 but RISE Conference started out with a bang with over 5000 attendees from over 75 countries.
In recent years I have worked deeply on quiet conflict management interventions from Afghanistan to Iran, but mostly in Syria. I have watched the unnecessary suffering of countless people, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, the greatest civilian displacement in Middle Eastern history, and I have watched it up close through the lives of my students and friends.
If I were writing the Great American Novel, I would be white. If I were writing the Great American Novel, I would be 10-20 years older. If I were writing the Great American Novel, I would not look at the Wikipedia page for the Great American Novel daily, as if it held some sort of great and terrible secret that would tell me exactly what to write and how to write it.