The proof of concept has been proven. Genesis Academy Summer Institute begun in 2015. 16 students accepted from conflict and post-conflict zones to come to Chicago to learn in four curricular areas that will ultimately be four year curricula: Heroes and Human Rights; Music and Peacebuilding; Environmental Sustainability; Peace Journalism. Countries included Bosnia, Cambodia, Northern Ireland from both sides of the divide, Pakistan, Rwanda and the US. (We treated Chicago as a conflict zone). Three students did not get visas so our cohort was 13 students.
Deliverables included peace journalism and content took multiple forms: 1) A group project consisting of podcasts about heroes encountered in their visit (these could be deceased e.g. Pres. Lincoln); 2) A group project consisting of lyrics and music of peace songs that were professionally recorded for use on Genesis CD and for another commercially available children's CD by Badi Assad; 3) Blog posts about work they did in all four curricular areas; 4) The creation of frameworks of children's story about human rights abuse in their part of the world in groups; 5) And a photographic exhibition using images to communicate messages.
The program engaged 30 faculty and 38 volunteers. Participants from 2015 helped identify talent and recruit this year's pool of applicants and now drawing from 13 countries including: Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia, Cambodia, China, India, Israel, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Rwanda, Ukraine, United States, Venezuela. The number of applications tripled in one year. In addition, three 2015 participants were brought back in the role of 2016 Genesis Academy Summer Institute Junior Staff. All have research project accountabilities in areas of interest inside of Genesis curriculum/leadership development and had to compete for junior staff position. The 2016 Summer Institute runs from July 24th to August 7th.
The location of the main campus for the Genesis Academy for Global Leadership is now back in Chicago, the Genesis Academy Summer Institute will transition to either San Diego or Denver. Genesis at the Crossroads also started looking at a Bronzeville, Chicagoland location, with a slated opening in fall 2018.
There are new community partners: The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; The Bridgehouse Museum; The Friends of the Chicago River; Jail Education Solutions; Louder than a Bomb/Young Chicago Authors; 91.5 WBEZ; And the Invisible Institute (in progress).
Genesis at the Crossroads also has new support including the Chicago Community Trust and multiple new individual and foundation donors. They are currently working to partner with the Banking industry and global corporations with large US presences (list to be provided when commitment firmly in place). Overall, they have brought in 218 thousand American dollars since the last update and have naming rights in consideration for multiple foundations and corporations (naming rights include physical structure, grounds and curricular content in house and online to raise 56 million, and will build Academy and endow scholarship fund).
Other updates include the roll-out of the Love the Questions inquiry-based salons, the last of which was titled: What is a New Conversation for Human Rights? in Chicago in 2013 and 2014, and more recently in 2015, at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) as well as at American University for students in their the Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs Program, School of International Service and those at AU's Law School for the human rights law students.
Genesis at the Crossroads is currently working with Prince Zeid Ra-ad Al Hussein on bringing this to his UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in both New York City and Geneva this December, NYU's Center for Global Affairs, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown and others at the University of Chicago.