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Here’s news I’m just coming across — former IFP Executive Director Michelle Byrd has joined the non-profit Games for Change as Co-President. Congratulations to Michelle, and I look forward to following the organization’s next endeavors.

From the press release:

For Immediate Release – New York, NY (July 12, 2010) – The Board of Directors of Games for Change announced today the appointment of Asi Burak and Michelle Byrd as Co-Presidents of Games for Change, the leading global advocate for making and supporting digital social impact games.

Mr. Burak and Ms. Byrd will work together on the strategic vision of the organization and will jointly oversee all programmatic initiatives. Mr. Burak will take the lead on curation, development, and execution of programs and services to raise the production, quality and influence of social impact games, and serves as a spokesperson for the organization. Ms. Byrd will take the lead on institutional relationship and partnership efforts, along with fundraising, business affairs, financial management, and communications strategy.

Both have extensive backgrounds in media for social change. Mr. Burak recently joined Games for Change as Executive Producer and was previously Co-Founder of Impact Games, creators of the internationally acclaimed “PeaceMaker” and ”Play the News” platforms. Ms. Byrd began consulting with Games for Change earlier this year and previously served for 12 years as Executive Director of the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers in the U.S.

“The combined skills, experience and passion of Asi and Michelle will help to scale Games for Change’s global reach and impact,“ says Alan Gershenfeld, Chairman of the Board. “The board is confident in their ability to successfully build upon the great momentum created by the previous leadership team led by Co-Founder and President Suzanne Seggerman and Executive Director Alex Quinn.”
The appointment of Mr. Burak and Ms. Byrd signals a desire to expand the organization’s current portfolio of activities beyond its well-established Games for Change Festival, the only event dedicated to the growing movement of Digital Games for Social Change. The Festival convenes leaders from government, philanthropy, civil society, academia, and the game industry. The 7th Annual Festival was held in May in New York City and was headlined by The Honorable Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra.

The appointment of Mr. Burak and Ms. Byrd will also enable Games for Change to expand its suite of services. Recently, in response to numerous requests from the public and private sector, Games for Change launched a new service to provide strategic guidance to impact-focused organizations in clarifying the objectives of their social impact game projects and to assist in the process of selecting qualified game developers and designers to bid on projects. The organization is currently working with USAID, the government agency providing US economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 40 years, and Pulitzer-prize winning The New York Times columnist Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn in bringing their best-selling book Half the Sky and its growing movement to emancipate women to a mass audience using the popularity of video games.

Learn more about Asi Burak and Michelle Byrd at: http://www.gamesforchange.org/staff
Learn more about Games for Change at: www.gamesforchange.org/ourwork

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