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General Updates
  1. Wendy Sternberg creates Genesis in a Self-Expression and Leadership course at Landmark Education

    Genesis at the Crossroads is incorporated Aug 18, 1999

    Lois Weisberg donates Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center for Genesis at the Crossroads’ very first event

    Image CC BY-SA 3.0 by Rob Saker

  2. March 2000 is Genesis’ first event

    First Annual Genesis Project at Chicago Cultural Center, A Cabaret of Middle Eastern Culture.

    Middle Eastern and North African festival in music and dance with Genesis’ signature Cross-cultural collaborative original finale with artists creating and performing together.

    Simon Shaheen is among performers.

    501(c)(3) status in May 2000

  3. October 2001: Second Annual Genesis Project, A Cabaret of Middle Eastern Culture (follows 9/11 by 6 weeks)

    Genesis held Chicago’s first public performance following 9/11 (Chicago’s World Music Festival canceled that year) 

    Ali Jihad Racy and Souhail Kaspar (drummer for the Lion King on Broadway) among performers

    Standing room only; standing ovations

    Featured in the Chicago Tribune in article “East Meets East”

    Illinois Arts Council Grant

    October 2001: State of IL Proclamation for Genesis at the Crossroads’ Month in Illinois

  4. Magic Carpet: Year-long CPS musical theater program promotes personal/cultural understanding and improved academic outcomes through small group instruction. 10 statistics/metrics tracked.

    Year-long program at Sullivan High School on personal and cultural identity through script writing and music.

    Collaboration with Music Theater Workshop

    Remo (drum) company sponsors Genesis’ educational work at Sullivan High School

    Alone in the Belly of the Whale Production

    Sullivan High School’s Aayisha Humphrey is lead

  5. Third Annual Cabaret of Middle Eastern Culture

    Food For Thought: Palestinian Poet, Taha Muhammad Ali, works translated by Israeli Peter Cole

    The Art of Peace: A series of arts-education literacy programs for public schools (CPS) and arts-education leadership for universities.

    • Von Stueben High: Created Choice & Consequence to explore character choices in Shakespeare’s King Lear, involved Goodman Theater, (2007)
    • Senn High: Communicating personal/cultural history through Yemenite dance (2006)
    • Sullivan High: Hands-on drumming workshops teach communication skills, history, math led by Grammy-award winner Lebanese percussionist, Souhail Kaspar (2003); repeated for NWU Kellogg Executive MBA program (2004-6)

    Peace curriculum started for high school

    Alone in the Belly of the Whale final production at Sullivan High School

    Sternberg is selected as Finalist for Susan F. Berkowitz Award in Recognition of Outstanding Service to Children and Families

  6. Festival goes outdoors; first outdoor Genesis Festival in Block 37

    Renamed From the Middle East to the Midwest 

    Featured over 130 artists for our Middle Eastern/ North African cross-cultural collaborative instrumental and vocal music as well as dance performances for a two-day outdoor Chicago festival

    In conjunction with the Chicago Mayor’s Office of Special Events

    Emcee Harold Ramis

    The Late Maggie Daley was the Honorary Chairperson

    Nuveen Investments sponsors the Main Stage

    Palmer House Hilton donates all the rooms for the visiting artists for the festival

    Cross-cultural collaborative finale between Jewish Moroccan Cantor and Muslim Moroccan Munshid with Chicago Classical Oriental Ensemble.

    Finale toured to DC, NYC and LA. Munshid Abdelfattah Bennis (Morocco) and Cantor Lior El Malich (Israel)

    Avi Elam Amzallag writes original score, Soundwaves Travel; others as well (Kareem Roustom)

    Harold Ramis joins the Genesis Advisory Board; brings Stacy Keach as his guest to the dinner for all artists and donors prior to the first outdoor festival

    Stacy requests to sit on Advisory Board and joins

    Tale of Two Cities chapter on civic dialogue

    Wendy Sternberg named Woman to Watch by Today’s Chicago Women Magazine

  7. Festival rebranded as HAMSA-Fest in Lincoln Park

    80+ artists

    Genesis’ signature finale Gesher – Gisr Building Bridges features Jordanian-Palestinian Naser Musa and Iraqi-Israeli Yair Dalal with 12 other nationalities in orchestra

    Integral part of the United Nation’s 60th Anniversary Celebration

    Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

    Brooklyn Museum of Art

    Humanitarian component added to GATC: Iraqi Plastics Art Gallery exhibition

    Co-created silent auction benefitting Baghdadi visual artists

    Sarmad Ghazi, one of the artists, was killed in a car bomb; dedicated the entire festival to his memory

    Original pieces include Samai Nahawand byKareem Roustom

    Wendy Sternberg becomes Peer Review Panel Member of Illinois Arts Council’s Ethnic-Folk Arts Division, 2005-8

  8. Kennedy Center Performance

    Genesis gets Governor’s International Arts Exchange Program Grant from IL Arts Council

    Peace it Together: A 14-performance series with children/adult performances and classes to celebrate cultural diversity while promoting world peace.

    Featured Yemenite drumming and dance, Iranian storytelling, Israeli folk dance, performance by African-American legend Ella Jenkins. Multi-disciplinary performances Jewish-Moslem-Hindu performance.

    Peace Quilt Project

    Exhibit at Chicago Children’s Museum

    Merchandise Mart’s One-of-A-Kind Show features Genesis with this program

    Benefit Concert with Gary Sinise and Lt Dan Band

    Exhibition and museum training at Museum of Tolerance in LA; workshops for LA Public School youth

    Featured in the Chicago Tribune: “Stitching pieces for peace”

    Tapestry of Story & Sound (Chicago Children’s Humanities Festival Commission) storytelling paired with ethnic music explored stringed instruments from Ireland, Senegal and Iran to promote cultural understanding

    Wendy Sternberg Named 1 of 10 Jewish Chicagoans of the Year by Chicago Jewish News

  9. Saffron Caravan is born

    HAMSA Fest in Lincoln Park

    Featured in Gail Slater’s book, A Tale of Two Cities, focused on architecture creates a social world. The built environment structures and facilitates the functions of a city and interactions among human beings. Highlighted how our festival in Block 37 created opportunity for civic dialogue.

    Tour to Casablanca Supported by US Department of State

    Collaboration with Andalusian Orchestra of Casablanca, Saida Charaf, Hamid El Karsi & others

    WFMT broadcasts concert live

    Arm Them with Instruments begins as Genesis’ third-generation arts-based humanitarian initiative

    Genesis first Board Fellow from Kellogg (WS is Mentor) through 2011

    Publicity Club of Chicago’s 2007 Silver Trumpet Award in Issues Management for humanitarian peace program

    Chicago Tribune Kids News article bought by Hampton-Brown Publishers for 10-year re-print (>100K copies)

  10. Wendy Sternberg awarded Rotary International’s Rabbi Willie Frankel Award for social justice

    Development work in Egypt and Jordan and Israel

  11. Wendy Sternberg selected to represent the US with delegation of 21 other multi-disciplinary peacemakers from 18 countries for intensive Rotary International peace and conflict studies fellowship at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

    Internationally-renowned faculty of professors/activists guided participants through interactive case-studies/field research exploring thought leaders, conflict analysis models, peace zones, and restorative justice

    GATC/US State Department Webchats

    Internet radio show explored power of music to transcend cultural barriers; reached all ages in 26 countries US State Dept.

    Parliament of the World’s Religions

    Saffron Caravan planned for closing performances and music education at Alexandria Library’s 8th International Music Festival in Alexandria, Egypt

  12. First Love the Questions Salon with Daniel Pollock at Grainger Ballroom, Symphony Hall, Chicago

    Saffron Caravan works with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary

    Benefit at Peninsula Hotel for Genesis Academy for Global Leadership

    Saffron Caravan and Peter Yarrow as entertainment; Alison Cuddy as Emcee

    Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Participant

    CGI commitment configures Genesis Academy as scalable global model for peace education

    Music Connects Us All mural project

    This now-permanent installation at the MD Metals Warehouse served as a stunning backdrop for our Saffron Caravan concert in 2010. The Merit School of Music conservatory students performed a Soldier’s Tale as the warm up to Saffron Caravan.

  13. Saffron Caravan Israel Tour to the Middle East

    Supported by US Department of State (for Jordan, Israel/Palestine)

    Tour of Israel, guest Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul & Mary) included 5 concerts and 1500+ student-hours of music education (Scaled back to 5 locations in Israel due to terrorist attempts on Roman Amphitheater in Amman)

    Programs in Jerusalem for East and West Jerusalem

    First-ever public concert in Beer Sheva’s Bedouin community

    Collaboration with Bat Kol Children’s Choir

    Film – Adi Frost, Director; Miss Productions Company -Hani Kilchevsky

    Wendy Sternberg named 2011 Charles Bronfman Prize Nominee

    ATWI International Shipping pro-bono indefinitely with Courier Network Inc. NYC

  14. DePaul Class – Social media

    JLW Instruments: distribution warehouse for Arm Them With Instruments (8/2012)

    George Mason University’s Conflict Resolution Department students in DC become involved in Arm Them with Instruments

    • brings used instruments and music education to at risk youth in conflict areas
    • includes student trip to Israeli Negev’s Bedouin community

    Behind-the-scenes work on Genesis Academy for Global Leadership

    Genesis Campus Peace Hub developed as concept with Genesis Academy for Global Leadership at epicenter

    Mohammad Arif Noorzai Memorial Scholarship Fund honors a future Academy professor who was tragically killed in Afghanistan (Completed Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies Fellowship with Sternberg – Chulalongkorn University, 2009)

  15. Love the Questions Salon on Human Rights with Steve Edwards interviewing Prexy Nesbitt

    Mindfulness and neuroscience work for Genesis Academy

    Behind-the-scenes work on Genesis Academy for Global Leadership

    Campus Peace Hub in evolution-with other human rights, social justice, arts and education non-profits on campus with Genesis Academy.

    Wendy Sternberg is 2013 Lipman Prize in Social Entrepreneurship Nominee

  16. First salon at National Hellenic Museum

    Karen Koning AbuZayd, JE Rash, Lynette Jackson, and Nigel Osborne as panelists; Chicago Public Radio’s Alexandra Salomon as Moderator

    Development of Genesis Academy Summer Institute

    Wendy Sternberg is a guest teacher in part of Masters’ course in School of Communications NWU

    Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow

    Harold Ramis passes away and Genesis creates comedy and conflict resolution film program in his memory. Gary Sinise is the first donor in support of this.

    The Harold Ramis Memorial Fund will engage and inspire young people in their formative years to tap into their creative self-expression and find humor for intractable issues that plague our time.

    Behind-the-scenes work on Genesis Academy for Global Leadership and Peace Hub

  17. Love the Questions Salon: What is a New Conversation for Human Rights?

    Panelists include David Tolbert

    First Genesis Academy Summer Institute

    British Film of Genesis Academy Summer Institute (youth from conflict/post-conflict zones)

    Harold Ramis Memorial Fund Created

    Curriculum and film series on comedy and conflict resolution

    Saffron Caravan in Srebrenica, Bosnia

    Composer, University of Edinburg Emeritus Professor of Music and Global Human Rights Activist, Nigel Osborne created an original workshop piece, Sevdah: A Universal History of Love and Loss for Saffron Caravan

    Saffron Caravan Universal Love tour begins

    Sites include GW Music School in DC; Kendall College Chicago

    Saffron Caravan opened the Art of Peace Conference at the Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice (University of San Diego)

    Sternberg created and facilitated the roundtable Music as a Vehicle for Global Peacebuilding using Saffron Caravan as a case study of a creative approach to conflict transformation.

    Salzburg Global Seminar Facilitator

  18. Saffron Caravan Performance at WBEZ, Wentz – Naperville

    Saffron Caravan Guest Percussionist’s band Snarky Puppy wins Grammy

    Saffron Caravan Universal Love CD recorded

    Featured on WTTW TV Chicago Tonight Show to over 1 million viewers

    Second Genesis Academy Summer Institute

    New collaborations/teaching faculty

    • Center for Neighborhood Technology
    • Jamie Kalven and Invisible Institute
    • David Glass

    Wendy Sternberg keynotes in NWU Engineering course on systems thinking

    Film made about Badi Assad; Wendy Sternberg interviewed

    Edwin Rosen Art Trust Bequest to Genesis

  19. Saffron Caravan Merit and Environmental Station

    Roundtable and Saffron Caravan hybrid

    First Genesis Chapter started on college campus of DePaul University in Chicago

    Wendy Sternberg teaches with adjunct faculty in NWU School of Engineering

    Genesis Academy is project for course on regenerative design

    Third Genesis Academy Summer Institute

    New collaborations/teaching faculty

    • Gotham Greens
    • Arcadis
    • Lin Batsheva Kahn (Dance choreographer)
    • Newberry Library and Curator of Native American collection

    Wendy Sternberg Nominated for 2017 International Roger Kaufman Award in Social Entrepreneurship

    Exploring physical sites for Genesis Academy and Peace Hub

    Edwin Rosen Art Trust Bequest event at Pagoda Red

    Genesis Peace Hub considered for former Michael Reese Hospital site redevelopment

  20. World premiere of Journeys, a music and dance collaboration wherein Saffron Caravan showcased their interdisciplinary work and performances with refugee youth dancers at Chicago’s historic Mayne Stage.

    Lin Batsheva Kahn – Dance choreographer

    Fourth Genesis Academy Summer Institute

    The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting features the 2018 Genesis Academy Summer Institute student’s work in peace journalism blogs and shares them around the world

    2018 Genesis Academy Summer Institute students perform both of their original cross-cultural collaborative song and dance at the Newberry Library’s outdoor public festival, Bughouse

    New teaching faculty

    • Her Majesty Consul General John Saville
    • Alberto Osorio Liebana, Invenergy
    • Allison Glovak Webb, Uncommon Ground urban rooftop farm
    • Zach Waickman, Loyola Institute of Environmental Sustainability

    The global law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner commits to contributing its legal services pro-bono for all work from land acquisition onwards etc. for the Genesis Academy for Global Leadership and Peace Hub

    Explored US Steel site for Genesis Peace Hub

  21. Erwin Helfer, Boogie Woogie Jazz legend, donates a concert for our Genesis benefit program at residence of HM Consul General, Ambassador John Saville

    Summer Institute students share their experiences

    • Reema Dhawan, SE Asian-American from Chicagoland
    • Patrick Reponse, Refugee from DR Congo
    • Miriam Cing, Refugee from Myanmar

    Love the Questions Salon: How Can Women’s Leadership Critically Shape the 21st Century? (May 2019)

    Women’s Leadership Salon becomes an annual program

    Saffron Caravan – June 2019

    At the DuSable Museum of African American History

    Honorary Chairperson – Congresswoman Robin Kelly

    Part of WBEZ Worldview’s 25th Anniversary

    At Chicago’s Historic Mayne Stage

    An Adjunct Program of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Forum on Global Cities

    Includes interdisciplinary dance collaboration with Refugee Dancer

    Featured on WCPT Radio 820 with Joan Esposito

    Fifth Genesis Academy Summer Institute

    The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting features the 2019 Genesis Academy Summer Institute student’s work in peace journalism blogs and shares them around the world

    At the Newberry Library Chief Curator of Americana, Will Hansen

    Genesis Academy Summer Institute students examine the 100th anniversary of the race riots in Chicago

    New teaching faculty

    • Shawn Lent – Dancer
    • Jess Godwin – Songwriting Workshop
    • Pat Nabong – Visual Journalist from the Philippines
    • Carli Taylor – Senior Case Manager, N. Lawndale
    • Christian Legal Center; Restorative Justice Youth Criminal Court
    • Grace Boateng – Staff from Ghana

    2 Genesis Academy Summer Institute graduates, Reema Dhawan and Safiyah Simpkins with Sternberg are closing speakers for The Gandhi King Foundation’s Gandhi 150: Legacy of Peace program (Field Museum, Chicago; Oct. 2019)

    Featured Gandhi’s Granddaughter, Nelson Mandela’s Daughter, Caesar Chavez’s Grandson and Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Daughter

    SHURE microphone comes on board as Genesis supporter

    • Donated all sound equipment for Saffron Caravan and all future guest artists
    • Donated all sound for the Women’s Leadership Salon

    School of the Art Institute of Chicago formally becomes Genesis Academy and Peace Hub Community Partner

    South Shore makes for a compelling location for our Genesis Peace Hub with its cross-cultural collaborative history and social justice underpinnings; known for being an artistic mecca

    Sternberg is an El-Hibri Foundation Peace Education Prize Nominee

    Honored at the Carnegie Institute of Science, Oct. 2019

  22. Healing for Humanity

    Women’s Leadership Salon and 6th Summer Institute delayed because of the pandemic

    Sternberg speaks at The Gandhi King Foundation’s virtual program on peacebuilding (in three parts)

    • University of Hyderabad – 8/31/20
    • Two more Indian universities to follow

    Sounds of Healing™ World Premiere in December 2020