Jewish And Muslim Entrepreneurs Address Social Problems

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Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship are to grow and nurture a transatlantic network of social entrepreneurs that spans cultural lines.

Cambridge University hosts the world’s only programme that creates an international social entrepreneurs network to improve Jewish-Muslim relations.

The Ariane de Rothschild (AdR) Fellowship brought together Muslim and Jewish social entrepreneurs from UK, France and USA to participate in a unique model for conflict resolution at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School in July 2011. 

The AdR Fellowship is the brainchild of Firoz Ladak, the Muslim executive director of the Edmond & Benjamin de Rothschild Foundations.

Now in its third year, 24 social entrepreneurs will participate in this year’s programme. These include: Dan Berelowitz, director of Tzedec, the UK Jewish community’s response to extreme poverty; Dr Asher Hasan, an Asia 21 young leader, TED fellow and CEO of ‘Naya Jeevan’, a social enterprise providing low income third world families with affordable healthcare and Lejla Mavris, Co-founder of Global Majority, an organisation promoting non-violent conflict resolution through education, training and advocacy across the world.

The initiative is notable for combining cross-cultural dialogue with business skills development.

The Fellowship currently consists of an international network of Jewish and Muslim social entrepreneurs who support each other through peer-to-peer learning and work to create sustainable social change.

The programme’s teaching model was developed through in-depth research with leading practitioners and academics in conflict resolution, Muslim-Jewish relations and social entrepreneurship, including head of Research Chair on Islam at University of Montreal, Patrice Brodeur, Professor Bruce Kogut at Columbia Business School and Director of the Centre of History and Economics at Kings College, Cambridge, Gareth Stedman Jones.

This year’s programme involved tutorial sessions at Cambridge University’s Muslim College, with Dr. Timothy Winters - Shaykh Abdal Hakim-Murad, deemed Britain's most influential Muslim by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC).

The Programme was conceived and developed by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation (EDRF), an international philanthropic network, and was this year hosted by academic partners at Cambridge University. It consists of three core components:

     • Business skills training
     • Providing academic scholarship to the history and politics between Jews and Muslims including issues of identity, foundations of Zionism or contemporary Islamist movements in Pakistan
     • Practical dialogue workshops

Firoz Ladak, Executive Director of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations said,
“Conflict resolution is not standalone. In a world where challenges of identity, social empowerment and politics are inter-connected, so too should be the approaches to tackling these challenges, particularly in the West.

The AdR Fellowship takes a unique approach to conflict resolution, by moving away from conventional discourse that focused only on religious and cultural themes. It is building an action driven network of social entrepreneurs which is unique, where business acumen, social engagement and exposure to the humanities are combined in a comprehensive training programme.”

Stephen Shashoua, 2010 AdR Fellow and Director of Three Faiths Forum said, "The fellowship provides a good opportunity for both self development and wider social development. The fellowship brings together diverse social entrepreneurs and that enables us to work together beyond dialogue."

Mussurut Zia, 2010 AdR Fellow and Director of Practical Solutions, a Lancashire based organisation dealing with forced marriage and honour based violence also noted the positive education:
“The fellowship completely dispelled any prejudices I had. It helped me to see other fellows as more than just Jews or Muslims, but as people united by the desire to promote social justice. The Fellowship has added a new dimension to my work, enabling me to challenge the divisiveness of labels and stereotypes in own community in Blackburn. 

The fellows have become like an extended family to me and we stay in touch regularly through quarterly meetings on Skype to support one another’s work and develop new projects."

There was also a social component, in which the participants visited religious sites and other venues in New York City.

For more info browse this year’s Fellowship participants (pdf)


Image:: flickr

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