Shamil Idriss named President of Search for Common Ground

Shamil Idriss named President of Search for Common Ground

Shamil Idriss

(February 5, 2014) – Shamil Idriss will become President, effective September 1, 2014, of Search for Common Ground (or “Search”), the peacebuilding organization with operations in 33 countries across four continents.

It has been announced that Search for Common Ground founder and President John Marks and its Senior Vice President Susan Collin Marks have decided to transition to new roles within Search. 

Shamil Idriss, 41, has served for the past four years as the Chief Executive Officer of Soliya, an organization that has pioneered the use of new media in cross-cultural dialogue and education, and has helped to establish the field of virtual exchange. 

Before Soliya, among other positions, Shamil had worked at Search for 13 years, most recently as its Chief Operating Officer.  He also served as a member of Search’s Board of Directors for the past 10 years.

“I am eager to build on the foundation that John, Susan and the team at Search have laid,” said Shamil Idriss.  “I am committed to honoring their incredible service, and I am thrilled to work with them through this transition and into the future.” 

“Among their greatest legacies is the Search team – a global, diverse, courageous, and talented community that I am honored to join and eager to lead,” he added.

Prior to Soliya, in addition to his time at Search, Shamil served as Executive Director of the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund which merged with Soliya in 2009.  In 2005, he was appointed by then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as Deputy Director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. 

He has served on the Steering Committee of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and of the ASMA Society’s Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow.

“Shamil Idriss is the ideal person for this job,” said John Marks.  “To his very core, Shamil is committed to our shared mission, vision and values.”

“With his deep appreciation for – and long experience with – Search, he is the embodiment of the next generation of Search leaders,” added Marks.

John Marks and Susan Collin Marks will continue to serve in their current positions until September, at which time John’s title will be Founder, Search for Common Ground and President, Common Ground Productions.  Susan will become Senior Advisor of Search for Common Ground. 

About Search for Common Ground

Search for Common Ground works to prevent and end violent conflict in countries that are experiencing violence, facing the threat of it, or dealing with its after-effects.  Search has a 32-year track record of equipping individuals and societies with the knowledge and skills to find alternatives to violence.  By understanding and tackling the root causes of conflict, and by working with local partners in 33 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America, Search helps communities deal with their differences constructively.  Learn more at