The Chronicle of Philanthropy published a nice profile of Pam Omidyar yesterday. Pam, co-founder of the Omidyar Network, created Humanity United in 2005 as a foundation to end slavery and mass atrocities, based just down the road in Redwood City. Noticing the disconnect between activists, policy experts, and scholars on these issues, Pam chose to work with all of them, and to encourage them to work together.
Here at the World Affairs Council and Global Philanthropy Forum (GPF), we’ve been thrilled to work with several of Pam’s investee organizations mentioned in the article, including Mark Hanis of the Genocide Intervention Network – one of her first projects, and Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves, who credits Pam and Humanity United for their approach. “They didn’t leap in and just say, ‘There’s a slave child. Let’s help them.’ They said, ‘This is a big problem, and let’s spend time thinking it through,'” says Mr. Bales. “You can’t solve a problem unless you understand it.” Pam has been a stand-out member of the GPF’s Advisory Council, and has helped us better understand issues of slavery and genocide.
Pam also worked with Jane Wales, our CEO & President and co-founder of the GPF, this fall to put together a joint commitment for the Clinton Global Initiative on Liberia. Humanity United, together with the Global Philanthropy Forum, the NoVo Foundation, Daphne Foundation, McCallMacBain Foundation, and Trust Africa committed 15 million dollars to collaborate with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to bring a group of foundations together to comprehensively coordinate their efforts to support Liberia’s reconstruction and development.
And, given that Pam is an avid surfer from Hawaii, she might be interested in a new film, Sliding Liberia, just out by Woodshed Films. It tells the story of Liberia’s first surfer, set against the backdrop of the civil war and the country’s struggle for reconstruction in its wake. Created by local Stanford alums, look for the film to be screened at an upcoming IF event at the Council.