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Hope Not Hate

The 2013 Hope Not Hate Innovators meet with Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the US Department of State.


Ethnocentrism, xenophobia, racism, ignorance…One of the greatest challenges we face today is the misuse of fear to drive political agendas. Fear breeds hatred and as we’ve seen all too well, hatred often breeds painful consequences and immeasurable suffering.

What can be done?

AIDemocracy’s Hope Not Hate Initiative confronts the foundations of that hatred by ensuring that young people in the United States have nothing to fear from the “others” (i.e. nations, cultures, religions, etc.). We expose students to the concept of pluralism and teach them to realize that just because someone lives their life differently from them does not mean they are any less human and any less entitled to the same rights we enjoy. And we challenge them to envision and help foster more effective and harmonious US relations with other nations and cultures, in particular with the Islamic world.

Hannah Nemer, one of AIDemocracy’s Issue Analysts on US-Muslim world relations (an aspiring filmmaker) provides a fantastic illustration of what we try to do with the Hope Not Hate Initiative below:

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To date, our Hope Not Hate Initiative has engaged more than 20,000 students and citizens in two hundred communities from Macon, Georgia and Vermillion, South Dakota to Amman, Jordan, and Jakarta, Indonesia. Our events have facilitated broad, inclusive dialogue between young leaders and Members of Congress, Ambassadors, journalists, military officials, scholars and even a head of state. Some of our events have also had a cultural component, including a conversation with MTV’s Gideon Yago and a concert performance by Salman Ahmad, the leader of South Asia’s biggest rock band, Junoon. The Boston Globe editorial board has called our Initiative and its focus on US and Muslim world relations “a victory of knowledge and inquiry over fear and blind pledges of revenge.” The initiative has also received Search for Common Ground’s Award for International Understanding in 2005 and our efforts to bridge the US-Islamic world divide have received special recognition from Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the 2006 Clinton Global Initiative.

What you can do

  • Organize interfaith and intercultural dialogues/exchanges with your peers
  • Show a movie discussing the issue. Check out our film library for a list of free films you can borrow from AIDemocracy. Films come with discussion guides and free shipping. It couldn’t be any easier!
  • Organize an event on your campus. Bring in a speaker. Organize a debate. Stand up and demand change. Check out our event database for some great ideas to get you started.
  • Request a mini-grant to make your film or event a success. We provide small grants to help pay for materials, food and speakers. [insert_email email=”opportunities@aidemocracy.org” subject=”information request…” display=”Contact us”] to discuss.
  • Speak out to the network. Write a blog for our site. Post something on our Facebook group. Share photos or video with us on YouTube. Share your opinions with other concerned students like you. Here’s how to submit materials.
  • Ask for advice and support. Not sure how to get started? Need to talk through ideas for your event? AIDemocracy staff and student leaders are here to help
  • And more…