Overview of Genesis Programs

Over the past 20 years, with over 150 peacebuilding programs to its record, Genesis at the Crossroads has attracted the engagement, support and partnership of renowned universities and institutions in Chicago, nationwide and around the world, from Northwestern (NWU) and DePaul, Loyola and University of Pennsylvania, American University, Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, to the Chicago Community Trust, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Magellan Development Company, Wight & Co., Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner law firm, Exelon, the United Nations, US Department of State, the US Institute of Peace and the British Council of Chicago. We continue to build relationships with the Newberry Library, Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Gotham Greens, Invenergy, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and 12+ at-risk Chicago Public Schools, Kartemquin films, The Merit School of Music, WBEZ, WFMT and others. Our participation has spanned the gamut from the Clinton Global Initiative to Salzburg Global Seminars.

Genesis is now institutionalizing our cross-cultural collaborative model and building the legacy piece of our organization through program/product expansion, and the creation of our ultimate Genesis Peace Hub. The Social Entrepreneurship Center with a one-acre farm and sports amenities constitutes the first iteration of the Peace Hub (Phase I). Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the Genesis Academy for Global Leadership is no longer possible. Educational programs will follow its design framework with the arts thread throughout inter-disciplinary curricula to foster critical thinking and humanism. The Genesis Peace Hub incorporates a research incubator on creativity and leadership with an array of university partnerships including DePaul and Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, University of Pennsylvania and Stanford Medical School. (University of Chicago is in progress.)

Though the Genesis Academy for Global Leadership was configured as a scalable global model for peace education as our Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment. (2012-18) the pandemic has made a boarding school untenable. The Genesis Peace Hub offers ample educational and leadership training.

The Genesis Academy Summer Institute

The Genesis Academy Summer Institute which began in 2015 brings together pre-university Chicago students, ages 15-19, to join with others from areas of conflict. They live and learn together in four curricular areas: heroes and human rights, music and peacebuilding, environmental sustainability and peace journalism. These four programmatic areas will grow into peacebuilding and leadership trainings.

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 into play in cycles both perpetuating and dismantling conflict. With the arts thread throughout the program, students work to explore their individual voice, collective humanity and the daunting issues we all face here in Chicago and as a global community.

Love the Questions Salons

This multi-segment salon series explores thought-provoking inquiries augmented through art; morphs into the Genesis Academy’s artist scholar-in-residence program.

How Can Women’s Leadership Critically Shape the 21st Century?

Annually: 2019, April 2020 (postponed until 2022)

What is a New Conversation for Human Rights?

In Chicago in 2013, 2014, and in 2015, at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) as well as at American Univ. for students in their Ethics, Peace & Global Affairs Program, School of International Service and Law School. Featured thought leaders from the International Center for Transitional Justice, U. of Illinois, U. of Edinburgh and WBEZ (Chicago’s NPR station.)

Saffron Caravan

Our professional world music ensemble exemplifies our work of arts diplomacy by uniting artists from Iran, Afghanistan, Cuba, Morocco, India, Israel, Brazil, Venezuela and the US for cross-cultural collaborative performances, music education and roundtables on music and peacebuilding.

Continuing their international Universal Love tour in the US, Middle East and Bosnia, they performed and held music education classes in Srebrenica, Bosnia in the 20th anniversary year of the genocide in the former Yugoslavia and across the US, (including Chicago and DC) ending as the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Art of Peace global conference opening performance and roundtable in 2015. In 2017-19 their extended artist-in-residencies in Chicago impacted 800+ of Chicagoland’s at-risk youth and families as well as refugee youth. The world premiere of Journeys showcased their interdisciplinary work with refugee youth dancers. They performed in conjunction with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Forum on Global Cities and WBEZ Worldview’s 25th anniversary with a program at the DuSable Museum of African American History.

Tour resumes in 2022 at the Adler Planetarium and in Springfield, along with other Chicago/US and foreign destinations (see Sounds of Healing below).

Sounds of Healing

Re-tooled from a 2006 Art of Healing program

By design, this cross-cultural collaboration prioritizes components focused on arts, trauma and healing.

The world premiere was presented virtually in December 2020 and re-broadcast in May 2021 with in-person programs throughout Chicago in June 2022, the US and the world in the aftermath of the pandemic 2022-2024.

Post-performance roundtables conducted live with the artists deepen the experience and conversations for healing for intimate groups.

Arm Them with Instruments

Paired in sites where Saffron Caravan performs

Humanitarian program brings gently used instruments and professional music education to at-risk youth living through conflict and/or challenged circumstances channeling potentially destructive passion into constructive activities.

Both Chicago-based and local in-country music talent help capacity build on-site. We are directing a portion of instruments for the benefit of SW side Chicago youth plagued by urban violence and structural poverty, along with Chicagoland’s marginalized refugee communities.