Search for Common Ground







They began at the height of the Cold War with only a handful of employees, a minuscule budget, and a huge mission: to transform the way the world deals with conflict.

Their founder, John Marks, realized that changing the world by tearing down the old system left us in shambles. So, he started building a new one. Instead of approaching conflict from a win-lose perspective, John founded Search for Common Ground to introduce a new concept: we all ‘win’ when the focus is on what we want to achieve—not what divides us.

The Cold War ended, but we kept going. In 1994, Susan Collin Marks joined John as his wife and Search’s Vice President. Under their leadership they grew and diversified, spreading across four continents and more than 30 countries.

John and Susan raised up a new generation of leaders across the world, leaders who saw firsthand how practical and possible peace is. With Shamil Idriss at the helm, they embarked on a new era of conflict transformation in 2014. Using everything from traditional diplomacy and mediation to video games and virtual exchange, they work one step at a time to change the nature of conflict – from a destructive force to a constructive one.



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