People

Jamil Simon

Founder and President, Spectrum Media

Jamil Simon

Jamil Simon is a visionary peace activist, an award winning documentary filmmaker, and an expert in communication strategy. He founded his media production and consulting firm, Spectrum Media, more than 40 years ago and has since made films and worked on media projects in countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America to promote social and environmental reform.

For the past 25 years, in addition to his work as a filmmaker, Jamil has worked as a consultant in communication strategy for multilateral organizations like USAID and the World Bank. He designed and implemented public awareness programs in developing countries to promote reform of all kinds. He worked to promote sustainable agriculture in Malawi, conflict resolution skills in Jordan, democracy in Mali, and water conservation in Tunisia. He has designed effective programs that work well at the grass roots level.

Currently, he is engaged in creating media tools to promote peaceful solutions to conflict. Toward that end, he is working on two major projects. The first is an event in NYC called War Stories Peace Stories, which will bring together journalists and peacebuilders to focus on how peace and conflict are reported in the news media and its impact on public perceptions of how to reduce conflict. The second project is a series of films on peacebuilding called Beyond Diplomacy about peacebuilding in four countries.

Jamil and a team of creative professionals have partnered with a global NGO, Peace Direct, to launch War Stories Peace Stories: Peace, Conflict & The Media, a multimedia project designed to challenge reporters, editors and peacebuilders to examine new strategies and approaches for covering peace and conflict.

He is producing Beyond Diplomacy in collaboration with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. It will be a series of films on peacebuilding in four countries– Colombia, Ireland, Sri Lanka and Burundi. It will profile the peacebuilding process in these four countries, on four continents, with different cultures and different conflicts, and all in different phases in their journey towards peace like Colombia, or away from it, like Burundi, or still in process like Ireland and Sri Lanka.

As part of the project, he and his team would create a global multimedia educational web platform to train practitioners in peacebuilding skills. The customized curriculum that the Fletcher team would develop, would harness the video captured for the films, to make the curriculum come alive. To the extent possible, we would translate the case studies into stories, showing real people facing significant challenges in their efforts to recover from conflict.

This series idea grew out of a feature documentary, Fragile Island of Peace, which will tell the story of a decade long peace process that emerged in Burundi following the treaty that ended its long bloody civil war. The story continues to unfold, and the film is a work in progress.

Jamil has continually championed the use of multimedia tools to promote peace building, reconciliation and conflict resolution education.

More than a journalistic documentarian and development consultant, Jamil is also a visual artist—an accomplished still photographer—whose work has been exhibited in galleries and published in books and magazines.