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The Questioneers Invitation to the United Nations in NY

April Larson Assi, the visionary founder of The Questioneers, was honored with an invitation to join Empower Media at the United Nations in New York on March 25th. 

Interviewer: April, your journey with The Questioneers has been nothing short of revolutionary, teaching kids how to weave their tales through storytelling and filmmaking. Stepping onto the global stage at the UN must be a whirlwind of emotions. How does this milestone sit with you?

April Larson Assi: Oh, it was quite surreal. You know, at the heart of The Questioneers is this simple belief: stories connect us, mend the rifts between us, and open our eyes to each other’s lives. To find ourselves at the UN, it’s like the world is nodding along, saying, “Yes, what you’re doing matters.” It’s a huge pat on the back for all of us involved, a signal that we’re on the right track, and our efforts can truly make waves in the grand scheme of global empathy and peace.

Interviewer: With Shirin Taber’s executive forum at the United Nations bringing together 80 leaders from around the world of different faiths and cultures to share their stories and peace building solutions , it seems like there’s a beautiful synergy between what you’re doing and the larger goals. Can you delve into how The Questioneers fits into this picture?

April Larson Assi: Absolutely, there’s this incredible overlap. Shirin’s doing this amazing work of bringing people, specifically women together from all walks of life to find common ground, to share, to listen. And isn’t that the essence of what we’re trying to do with the kids? We’re not just teaching them to tell stories; we’re teaching them to listen, to understand, to see the world through someone else’s eyes. It’s this shared mission of knitting together a fragmented world through the simple, yet profound act of sharing our stories. It felt like we were part of a larger family at the UN, all of us humming a similar tune of hope and connection.

Interviewer: The backdrop of ongoing conflicts around the world adds a certain gravity to this work. How do you see The Questioneers contributing to the dialogue around peace and reconciliation?

April Larson Assi: It’s pretty heavy, isn’t it? With every news cycle, it feels like the world’s fraying at the edges. But here’s where I think we have a spark of magic. These kids, with their stories, their pure perspectives, they have this incredible power to cut through the noise, to remind us of our shared humanity. We’re laying down these tiny bridges, story by story, picture by picture, you should see some of these pictures and the poems that are coming from these kids! We are hoping to connect these Questioneers,  to foster a sense of empathy and understanding that’s sorely missing in today’s discourse. If we can get enough of these stories, and their ?films out there, maybe, just maybe, we can start seeing a shift towards a more peaceful, compassionate world.

Interviewer: As you look ahead, post-UN forum, what are your dreams for The Questioneers? What’s the next chapter?

April Larson Assi: Dreaming big is part of the job description, right? The forum was like a jolt of energy, a reminder that what we’re doing has ripples. Moving forward, it’s about amplifying those ripples into waves. We want to reach more kids, especially those who’ve seen too much for their age—refugee children. Their stories are powerful, eye-opening, and desperately needed in the world’s narrative. But to do that, to scale our reach and deepen our impact, we’re at a point where we need a boost, financially speaking. The vision is clear, the path is laid out; we just need the fuel to journey further.

Interviewer: Reflecting on your time at the UN, what insights or moments struck you the most?

April Larson Assi: It was a reminder of the beauty of collective intent. Here were these incredible women, from every corner of the earth, each fighting their own battles back home, yet united in this common goal for peace. Despite the setbacks—the pandemic, the wars—it was this resolute belief in better days ahead that struck a chord. It made me realize the power of unity, of shared goals. It’s easy to get lost in the enormity of the challenges we face globally, but when you’re in a room full of people, all humming with determination and hope, it’s hard not to feel a surge of optimism. For me, it was a reaffirmation of why we do what we do with The Questioneers. There’s a whole world out there hungry for change, for peace, and we’re just one of the many voices contributing to that chorus.

See the CBS news report her


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