Andrew Benson Greene
- Program Year
- Country of Current Residence
- City/Town of Current Residence
- Current Position
- Founder, Director
- B-Gifted Foundation
Human Rights Advocate
- Advocacy, Community, Creativity, Disability, Global Education, Human rights, Innovation, International development, Law, Non-profit / Philanthropy, Peacebuilding, Social justice
- English, Creole
- Interest(s) / Expertise
- children's rights, human rights, NGOs, poverty
Andrew Benson Greene has over two decades of experience in the non-profit sector, assisting youth and children affected by wars as well as the issue of child soldiers. He has worked extensively in national and international research on human rights of children used in armed conflict.
He is the founder and Director of the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN), and Founder and CEO of B-Gifted Foundation, both of Sierra Leone. B-Gifted Foundation is a non-profit organization that addresses human rights (including women and children’s rights), environmental rights, peace enhancement and sustainable development in Sierra Leone, whilst seeking to alleviate poverty through creative approaches.
The core activity of iEARN Sierra Leone is the participation of young people and their teachers sharing their talents over the Internet. They create and participate in online projects covering a range of issues, including peace, human rights, conflict resolution and sustainable development. Former child fighters and war-affected youth learn to use the Internet and other new technologies to find reconciliation and peaceful solutions to conflict, reminding them that “security comes not from the end of a gun, but from shared values and responsibilities to each other.”
Andrew is a well-known speaker, participating in a number of prestigious international events such as The World Summit on Information Society, and has traveled extensively, from Beijing to Washington, to share his vision of using information technology amongst children and war-scarred youth. His efforts have profoundly affected the thinking of young people around the world, from Sierra Leone to Cambodia to Afghanistan. The United Nations adopted his project as a model in countries affected by war.
Andrew has gathered multiple awards, citations, and bursaries for his peace-building efforts and Internet-based innovations. For several years, he has overseen and coordinated the successful implementation in Sierra Leone of War Child Canada’s No War Zone, funded by Foreign Affairs Canada. He consults widely on issues of children and youth in conflict and recently produced two video documentaries for the World Bank’s World Development Report 2007 focusing on youth unemployment in Sierra Leone and the ‘Next Generation’. He has consulted to the Global Intelligence Alliance in Washington D.C. on Anti-corruption and good governance in Sierra Leone.
Andrew obtained his BA with concentrations in English, Civil Law, and International Relations from Fourah Bay College of the University of Sierra Leone in 1998.
As a Fellow, Andrew Greene traveled across Canada to speak on behalf of children affected by war and to make connections with Canadian communities that were vital for his projects in Sierra Leone. He was summoned by the Canadian Government and the Canadian International Development Agency as a Guest Speaker during the International Corporation Days in Ottawa in 2004, speaking alongside Alexandre Emmanuel “Sacha” Trudeau, the brother of current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a Canadian filmmaker, journalist and author. Sacha is the second son of Canada’s former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau. Andrew joined Alexandria and Jennifer Corrioro, Co-Founder and Executive Director of TakingITGlobal, in a panel where they spoke about Millennium Development Goals – Moving from Consensus to Momentum and the challenges youth face in achieving the MDGs. Andrew also spoke on the panel ‘What are youth doing to achieve the MDGs?’. He noted that: ‘Poverty is more than a lack of food, it can also be a lack of opportunity to participate’.
He was also a guest speaker at the Africa Now Untold Stories Conference held at the Carleton School of Journalism in Ottawa, alongside Allan Rock, the former Permanent Representative to the UN. Andrew also spoke at the Peel District School Board Conference Leaders in Action for Education conference in Toronto in 2004, organized and sponsored by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE).
He was invited by the Canadian Federal Government present at the Human Security Conference ‘War to Peace Transition’ supported by CIDA, UNICEF and The Pearson Peace Keeping Center in Ottawa in 2005.
Andrew was also summoned twice to teach peace and to speak at the Canada Remembrance Day at the WH Day Elementary School in Bradford, Ontario in 2005. He inspired the students with messages of peace and trans-border peace promotion whilst sharing cultures and students work from Sierra Leone. Andrew also was also Guest Speaker at Concordia University in Montreal, where he taught peace classes to students in anthropology classes.
As a research Scholar, Andrew also attended civil law classes at the McGill University Faculty of Law, supervised by Professor Van Pragh. He also engaged in speaking possibilities with student campus groups speaking at the McGill Model UN, and the Save the Children student group at McGill. He contributed to student-led fundraising campaigns at McGill for supporting the causes of War Children in Canada.
He worked with Paul Shore, another Sauvé Fellow, to produce a video documentary that raised eyebrows about national and global issues of recruitment of Child Soldiers and the need to stop them. In this video, Andrew shared his personal work and experiences helping to rehabilitate children affected by war. He also interviewed students at McGill in the fields of peace-building and international relations to provide their view points about the issues of war and children drafted into conflict. During the video production process, Paul Shore became a mentor, giving Andrew the much-needed media and video training skills and tools that were indispensable for his innovative projects on his return to Sierra Leone. Andrew also worked with Ali Khan, a Sauve Fellow from Pakistan to raise resources, networks and computers with World Computer Exchange to help support youth in Sierra Leone and Pakistan.
In 2005, Andrew was attracted to a lecture series and made a trip to the Québécois to listen to LaFontaine-Baldwin Lectures, where Canadian think tanks often gather to reflect on democracy, citizenship and the public good. Established by John Ralston Saul and hosted for the past decade by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), the lectures honor the leaders of Canada’s first democratic movement, Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin. That year in 2005, Andrew Listened to Louise Arbour, the then (United Nations High Commission for Human Rights), present ‘Freedom from want’ – from charity to entitlement.
At the conclusion of his years as a Fellow, Founding Director Jim Wright wrote of Andrew: “Mr. Greene is an extremely hard working, balanced, responsible and talented young man who has contributed enormously to the success of this year’s program. Mr. Greene has taken full advantage of the opportunities which he had been offered by the program. Drawing on his experiences as an educator, speaker, coordinator and mentor whilst working with former child soldiers in Sierra Leone, he has been in great demand as speaker at a wide variety of seminars and conferences throughout Canada”.