The Role of Media in Building Cultures of Peace

Broadcast on September 20, 2011
With Jessica Devaney & Nick Stuart & Michael Shipler

Jessica Devaney

Communications and Production Manger at Just Vision
Communications and Production Manager, Budrus Assistant Editor/Associate Producer

Jessica Devaney is the Communications and Production Manger at Just Vision, an organization that creates documentary films, multimedia and educational tools profiling Palestinian and Israeli civilians working nonviolently to end the occupation and resolve the conflict. Jessica oversees Just Vision’s online strategy, including web development and new media engagement; design and creation of press materials; and manages the post-production of all documentary film and digital video materials.  Jessica was the Associate Producer and Assistant Editor of Budrus, a documentary film hailed as “This year’s must-see documentary” in The New York Times. Budrus was screened at dozens of film festivals around the world and received prizes including the San Francisco International Film Festival’s Audience Award; Silverdocs Film Festival’s Witness Award; Pesaro Film Festival’s Amnesty Italia Award; the Festival des Libertes Prize; Bergen International Film Festival’s Checkpoints Award; as well as Special Jury Mentions at the Tribeca Film Festival, Jerusalem International Film Festival, and Documenta Madrid.

Jessica has been working on integrating digital technology in social change advocacy projects since 2002, when she founded and coordinated the web development and media outreach for No Plain Jane, a women’s body positivity initiative. She has been involved in projects including coordinating exchange programs for non-native students in cooperation with First Nations reservations in Alaska and Arizona; consulting on online strategy and web development for a domestic violence awareness-raising campaign; and researching digital advocacy strategies employed by LGBT communities around the world. In 2010, she participated in the Bay Area Video Coalition Producers’ Institute for New Media Technologies.

Jessica graduated from Wake Forest University in 2006 with an MA in Religion and Society, and received a grant to conduct extensive research on Palestinian and Israeli women’s movements and interview numerous veteran feminist activists in preparation for her thesis on joint feminist peacebuilding efforts in the region. Jessica’s interest in creative unarmed resistance led her to produce a short documentary video installation, Beauty in the Uprising, which, through interviews with Palestinian and Israeli artists, explores the role of art in resistance, conflict resolution, and social change.  She completed an additional year of study at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in 2008 where she focused on postcolonial feminist theory and unarmed resistance in the Arab world.  She has published articles on these topics in the Journal of Middle Eastern Women’s Studies and Practicing Anthropology. Jessica continues to research and present papers at academic conferences.

Nick Stuart

Award-winning independent television producer and journalist, President & CEO of Odyssey Networks

Nick Stuart is an award-winning independent television producer and journalist who was formerly CEO of the UK-based, nonprofit independent production company, CTVC. He is credited with re-inventing that organization by expanding distribution of its faith-oriented programming into prime time and into the mainstream media including radio, establishing an educational department, and introducing TrueTube, a teen-oriented Web site where real-life stories and documentaries are featured on a YouTube-style online platform. TrueTube, often referred to as "You Tube with a conscience," won major awards in the UK in its first year of operation, including the Jerusalem Award for best on-demand Internet TV network and the Education Resource Award for innovation.

Nick brings an intriguing mix of skills and experiences to Odyssey, having created quiz shows, produced music videos and reported from war zones. Earlier in his career, he was a reporter and presenter on Britain's most watched TV network, ITV, as well as on the Five channel. A veteran of radio and TV programming and production, he created hundreds of hours of programming for BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC 4, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Discovery, History and National Geographic during his tenure at CTVC alone.

Among Nick's recent productions are "Florence Nightingale," a spiritual portrait of the heroic founder of the nursing profession; "God Is Green," a look at Christian, Muslim and Hindu leaders uniting to fight global warming; and "Clash of the Worlds," a examination of the roots of the divide between Christianity and Islam. "Victim 0001," his documentary about Mychal Judge, chaplain of the NYFD who perished on 9/11, won the prestigious Sandford St. Martin Religious Television Award in 2005.

Michael Shipler

Regional Director, Asia, Search for Common Ground
Michael Shipler is the Regional Director of Asia Programs where he oversees program offices in Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Timor Leste. Michael has been working in peacebuilding for thirteen years, developing a range of programs focused on youth, media, civil-military affairs, and governance. He previously served as our Senior Program Advisor, providing support to peacebuilding and democratization initiatives in a number of countries, including Yemen, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Angola, and others. He supported our programs in methodology and strategy development. He co-led technical assistance on a 17-country communications initiative, The Team, using sport, television drama series, and community-based activities to build peace. He previously served as Director of Programs for our Nepal office where co-started and directed a national, multi-pronged media and community program in support of the peace process. He is the founder and former director of our global Children & Youth Division. In that capacity he co-founded the Washington Network on Children and Armed Conflict (WNCAC) and co-created The Child Soldiers Initiative – a global project aimed at eradicating the use of children as soldiers – done in partnership with Lt. General Roméo Dallaire and other institutions. He served as an advisor for the Nigerian television series, The Station, and supported children and youth-focused peacebuilding programs around the world. He authored Youth Radio for Peacebuilding: A Guide, as part of Radio for Peacebuilding Africa. Previously, while working for Youth for Peace, a youth-led organization in Cambodia, he developed a youth leadership development division that helps youth find ways of avoiding violence and contributing to reconciliation in their own communities. Michael is currently pursuing his MA in War in the Modern World at Kings College in London. He is the author of The Dancing Country and Other Stories.