Genesis Academy Summer Institute

For 15- 20 international students in Chicago

The Genesis Academy Summer Institute began in 2015 bringing together pre-university Chicago students, ages 15-19, to join with others from conflict and post-conflict zones. They live and learn together in four curricular areas: heroes and human rights, music and peacebuilding, environmental sustainability and peace journalism. Ultimately these four programmatic areas will grow into four-year curricula that cumulatively build along with online product in human rights, environmental sustainability and peace journalism to be distributed worldwide.

The students meet with thought leaders, activists, and artists, and participate in an array of experiential learning opportunities and field studies to examine forces that come to play in cycles both perpetuating and dismantling conflict. With the arts thread throughout the program, students work in experimental theater, improvisational comedy and creation, professional recording and performance of music whose lyrics and score they write together. Additionally, they work in disciplines of photography, documentary film, literary and culinary arts – all to explore their individual voice, collective humanity and the daunting issues we all face here in Chicago and as a global community.

In the Media

Worldview Interview

WBEZ/NPR’s Worldview featured the 2017 Genesis Academy Summer Institute

Peace Journalism

The Pulitizer Center on Crisis Reporting featured the 2018 Genesis Academy Summer Institute students’ work in Peace Journalism

The Summer Institute’s Impact

With the help of the program, I have also acquired the necessary tools that one can use to further humanitarian goals such as mine. I have learned how to use art, journalism and theatre to work for peace and environmental sustainability. I will use the medium of art to facilitate peacebuilding, just like GASI extensively taught me.

Through the program’s four core interests, GASI taught me to think of the world differently and to figure out solutions to various global and/or local problems in a rather creative and innovative manner using very unconventional means, all the while causing disruption in the fabric of the universe.

[The program] taught me how to be comfortable in being uncomfortable, how to tackle embarrassment, how to get the team on the same level and finally how to be a leader and not a boss.”

Arhum Ishtiaq from Karachi, Pakistan
Chief Tech Officer for award-winning start up for hearing-impaired

I learned so much from hearing their thoughts about themselves and their country. This was really new to me; I have lots of friends that are the same age as me, but we always talk about celebrities’ lives and nothing else. The people in this program taught me so much about everything from relationships, friendships to life.

Sereimony Sek from Cambodia
Educator to human rights activist; 2018 Jr Staff

Every participant gave me a chance to talk about myself and about my community and we had discussions about misunderstanding of other people about Afghans and Afghanistan.

This was a new experience for me because each student is a big change maker and a leader to bring peace. I learned about their countries, the way they live and communicate, the experience that they had, the struggles and how they solved them and stayed strong till the end.

Azar from Afghanistan

Motivated by the courage taken by multiple Genesis Academy Summer Institute human rights instructors, he elected to move beyond his own fear to create Unsilencing Pakistan, an initiative to address child sexual abuse at a country-wide level.

As a direct result of the summer institute’s critical examination of gender balance and evaluating who sits at the decision-making table, he was determined to apply this new knowledge to ensure adequate representation among parents, students, teachers, government sector involved and NGO board.

Muhammad Faran from Peshwar, Pakistan
Scholarship student at Bizet University in health profession
Sounds of Healing™ performer/songwriter

Genesis Students in Chicago