Beta Test – Gaza Blockade

Our first hackathon, in September of 2014, focused on developing a solution to the blockade of Gaza, a small piece of one of the most complex and intractable conflicts facing our world. It was held at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University just outside of Washington, DC.


Results: After two days of intense brainstorming, researching, and writing, our Policy Disruptors came up with a potential solution. The executive summary is here and the full outcome document is here. With a detailed policy solution, multiple media hits, strong engagement, and positive feedback, we had our first proof of concept.

How: We crowdsourced all monetary and in-kind resources to make this event happen. Special thanks to individual contributors on our Indiegogo campaign, George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution for the event space, JetBlue for a free flight, and experts across the country and around the globe who served as our sounding boards and made the necessary introductions. Collaboration was key in the success of this event.


Who: A group of diverse millennials from different backgrounds—the “Policy Disruptors” (PDs)—after being briefed by experts, developed a solution to the blockade.

The PDs included:

  • Katy Crosby: Senior Analyst- International Trade, Government Accountability Office
  • Pasha Malik: Senior Financial Consultant and Tech Entrepreneur
  • Maria Saab: Fellow, New America Foundation
  • Christine German: Deputy Director, Munathara Initiative
  • Matthew Weinmann: Co-Founder and Finance Director, Youth Voices USA; Student at Georgetown University

The policy experts were:

  • Matt Duss: President, Foundation for Middle East Peace; Contributor, ThinkProgress and American Prospect
  • Oded A. Lesham: Presidential Scholar, George Mason University School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution; certified mediator in Israel
  • Leila Hilal: Senior Fellow, International Security Program, New America Foundation; Former Senior Advisor to UNRWA and Palestinian Negotiators (2002-2008)
  • Anat Saragusti: Director, B’tselem USA; Israeli journalist and peace activist; Former editor, Ulpan Shishi

If you have an interest in helping to share this policy outcome or get more involved, please get in touch!

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