My HuffPost debut
I have to admit it's very exiting to be featured in the The Huffington Post with the one and only Ruba Huleihel.
I want to thank Seeds of Peace for being my second family and GATHER for giving me the opportunity to learn and teach at the best conference in the world!
"Though our political leaders have yet to bring freedom, prosperity, and stability to our region, we are not waiting"
My spirit animal
Application central - post #4
My spirit animal is Pushkin's storytelling cat. The cat described in the opening poem of the book Ruslan and Ludmila tells tails when going to the right and sings songs when going to the left near his post at the shore of Pushkin's magical land.
I believe that stories and storytelling can serve as key tools in convening deep and complex massages be it a brand new idea or an innovative vision. Stories help us verbalize our dreams, feeling and fears thus giving us the powerful and at times healing ability to share them with others.
Describe an initiative
Application central - post #3
Describe an initiative/project you are currently working on or hope to start that relates to US/MENA relations or social, political, economic concerns in the MENA region. Be sure to address all of the following: Goals, action plan, and existing and/or needed resources
The venture I hope launch in the upcoming year is – DnA. DnA a new media production company focusing on edutainment as a tool to promote awareness and create change around key issues in the Middle East. DnA aims to help NGOs and NPOs who are looking to raise public understanding, shift public opinion and shape public behavior towards their social agenda. The issues can range from questions regarding public health and safety, to encouraging dialogue between Middle Eastern countries, creating an informed dialogue around human rights for refugees, opening a safe and educational channel of communication about sexual abuse and rape and many more.
The way this will work is: an organization shares their agenda/idea/passion with DnA and we produces a full scale, on line, viral, edutainment project that promotes their agenda first locally and then globally (if relevant). The content will be available for free, in different languages for all relevant audiences and will target at creating long-term, long – lasting and sustainable change in society.
In order to better understand the model an example can be used:
- The organization: Israel Aids task force.
- The goal: raising awareness to HIV/Aids prevention and care as well as tolerance towards people who are diagnosed.
- The project: a full on line series of 10 short videos (non – documentary) documenting the life of a young man who was just diagnosed and needs to let his family, friends and former partners know of the diagnoses. He chooses to do so via Skype calls (he is afraid to do so face to face).
- Off line: the on line series will be backed with off line events and lectures that will compliment and complete the on line project.
Today we live in a reality where in the global non-profit world as well as the Middle Eastern non-profit world the idea/agenda, the way and platform for implementation and the funds are not inter-connected. Meaning – there are great ideas for change (by NGO’s and NPO’s), the existence of the right pedagogy (edutainment), lots of potential useful platforms (via new media) and the funds (for example crowd funding) but nothing is connecting the dots - DnA hopes to change all that.
At the moment the venture is being developed and is in contact with a few large organizations in Israel in hope to create the first on line full scale project after having a pilot - with an on line documentary series covering multi culture in Israel.
* I've played around with this idea for a while but at the moment it's on hold.
Application central - post #2
This, for me, is the most difficult question to answer: I'm passionate about a large variety of issues and am involved either through my work, my study or my volunteer positions in women empowerment, peace building on economic bases, social innovation, development of under privileged communities, children's rights, civic action among immigrant communities and so much more.
If I had to choose 3 major fields of interests it would have to be: economic growth, social entrepreneurship and women's empowerment.
I've been a passionate feminist with great interest in women empowerment from a very young age and over the years I've been involved and a post – colonialist feminist study group, volunteered for Saleet (an NGO helping women trapped in prostitution) and founded the Women's parliament to further this agenda.
My passion for social innovation comes to light both in my daily job and in my volunteer work at TedX Jerusalem. In both these organizations I get to help social innovators from all over the world – giving them consultation and tools through PresenTense and giving them a platform for exposure through TedX.
Finally, I strongly believe that financial and economic tools can change social – economic status on the level of the individual, the community and the country and have seen such change in action during my work with the ultra-orthodox community.
Application central - post #1
Where would you place yourself now in your professional or personal journey?
And there are so many stories to tell, too many, such an excess of intertwined lives events miracles places rumors, so dense a commingling of the improbable and the mundane! I have been a swallower of lives; and to know me, just the one of me, you’ll have to swallow the lot as well. (Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children)
I chose the path of politics, public diplomacy and conflict resolution as much as it chose me, many years before I was even born. The path was being paved for me for over a hundred years and now I feel I must follow it – letting it guide me but also continuing to pave it forward as I go. The first step was made so far back in my family’s history it cannot be traced exactly, yet it seems that the first traceable step in my fate’s journey started in 1917 with the Pogroms in the Ukraine.
The next steps were the Holocaust, the fall of the Soviet Union and Ukraine's independence and my family immigrating to Israel. My steps as a teen included growing up during the second intifada in Jerusalem, becoming a proud Seed of Peace and a student at the Mahindra United World College. As an adult I started adulthood with two years of army service as the Director of the Russian Branch of the IDF Spokesperson Unit. My media skills led me to take the first steps in the world of media where I worked for five years.
My path has now led me to the PresenTense and the sphere of social innovation. I know that the next steps will be three fold – professional, academic and personal. In my professional track I strive to create my own venture and am now working on 2 technologic start –ups. In my academic path I aim to create a new methodology to create and analyze threats. In my personal life I wish to make a change in the social and political environment in Israel. I wish to do this through entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development. I have seen the tools of entrepreneurship; professional networking and mutual economic dependence create meaningful and long lasting connections between people of different religions, nationalities, colors and genders where many other methods have failed.
I, Alina Evgenivna Shkolnikova, later variously called Alina Shkolnikov, Ilana, Bazooka and even Commander, have become heavily embroiled in fate – at the best of times a thrilling sort of involvement at the worst a humbling association. I have been a swallower of lives; and hope to continue on that path.
* Application was written while still working for PresenTense.
After a long MIA on - I'm finally back.
While I was gone I got the chance to apply (and get accepted) to a few different programs and projects. All with very long application processes that required a lot of writing.
In the next few blog posts I would like to share some of my answers on my blog.