Day Two of #GPF16

Day two of the 2016 Global Philanthropy Forum Conference was opened by Sasha Chanoff, Founder and Executive Director of RefugePoint. Speakers on the morning panel shared their personal experiences in providing refugees and migrants with resources and aid.

Deogratias Niyizonkiza, Founder and CEO of Village Health Works, spoke about his flee from violence in Burundi, his challenges as a refugee in the United States and the founding of his organization to help his home country. Jeanne Bourgault, CEO of Internews, explained how information is another kind of aid and the lack of proper communication to migrants can lead to disastrous results. Speaking about her recent visit to Greece, Amy Rao, Founder and CEO of Integrated Archive Systems and President of the Eleventh Hour Foundation, encouraged Conference participants to consider the large-scale impacts that even smaller investments can have.

The discussion closed with remarks by Alexander Betts, Leopold W. Muller Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs and Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, who urged a shift in the paradigm that dominates discussions about policy—we need to view refugees not as a burden on society, but as a resource.

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HRH Queen Sylvia Nagginda of the Buganda Kingdom in Uganda, joined the Global Philanthropy Forum for a special address where she called on participants to consider the importance of culture in development. She highlighted the role of leaders in positively influencing and impacting society. The Queen emphasized that culture makes us more tolerant of diversity, encourages a sense of unity and belonging and allows us to better understand our history. An advocate for philanthropy in Africa, the Queen also spoke about starting the Nnabagereka Development Foundation and its work in maternal health care, education and poverty eradication.

Global Philanthropy Forum CEO Jane Wales spoke with panel experts to explore the appeal of extremism to younger generations and to discuss solutions to curb the rising numbers joining the networks. Shamil Idriss, President and CEO of Search for Common Ground, explained his organization’s work to connect and educate youth, and to create safe spaces to have difficult discussions about cultural differences. Offering insights into a recent study, Will McCants, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, explored the many reasons, some unexpected, that lead people to join these dangerous networks. Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama Supreme Council, urged a comprehensive view of Islam and explained how extremist groups blend politics and religion.


The 2016 Global Philanthropy Forum Conference, April 4 to 6, 2016 in Redwood City, brings together cross-sector leaders to explore the theme of “People on the Move.” Learn more about the Conference and see all videos by visiting

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Photo credit: Stout Film