Director of Leadership Development
Kobi Skolnick is the Director of Leadership Development at the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University. Kobi was born into a Hasidic family in Israel and moved to a settlement in the West Bank during his high school years. He was a member of the fundamentalist Kahana youth movement that promoted an extreme religious ideology and regularly encouraged its members to assault Palestinians. However, during his service in the Israeli army he became aware of the complexity of the conflict and began to open his mind to other perspectives. In his work, he draws on his experience of having lived in an ultra-religious Jewish community and his former membership in settler movements. His extensive medical training and experience in combat also influences his understandings of human psychology and physiology.
He has trained hundreds of people worldwide in transformative leadership development, consulting, facilitation, advocacy for social change, peace-building, conflict prevention, fostering cultural empathy, and creating conflict resolution and organizational capacity programs, while establishing and building peace networks on local, national and international levels. Kobi has studied cultural studies, psychology, and religion extensively and he is currently completing a Master’s degree in Negotiations and Conflict Resolution at the Columbia University. He is also a trained facilitator and mediator. His writing has been published in a number of media outlets around the world and he has lectured for various international organizations and universities, such as Stanford, Yale, Harvard, American University, and Oberlin, and has appeared on numerous media outlets across the globe.