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Anexus | Steve Valdivia | Interview

Anexus is our connecting point… to connect people and dreamers with ways to help turn them to reality. Many young people need to dream again – and we all need Peace. Steve Valdivia is an expert in Peace and Violence analytics in USA. Currently co-chair of Peace and Non-violence sub-committee at I-CHASS (NCSA at UIUC), Independent contractor and founder of Anexus. i-genius finds out more about Anexus and member Steve Valdivia’s Peace and Violence Continuum model to deconstruct violence (and peace) patterns and processes; to project outcomes; to systematically modify critical junctures for improved and measurable outcomes.

i-genius: Why did you start Anexus?
Steve Valdivia: Due to my unique life and career experience, I have some insight on how and why people become violent and thus, how to find ways to Peace.
i-genius: How have your past experiences helped in the development of Anexus?
Steve: Early in my career in Education (school counselor), I was particularly good at working with ethnic youth that were acting out in class. I was a tough kid in my own youth and even led a group of kids around the playground – it was a gang but we didn’t know it or care. At any rate, I became known as “the gang expert”. I changed jobs to work directly in the violent communities and succeeded in forming local citizen teams to end the violence and we succeeded beyond wildest dreams – homicides went to zero. I was appointed the first Gang Czar in the nation (USA) and developed the theories and practices I put in Anexus for others to learn from.
i-genius: In what way is Anexus a social enterprise?
Steve: It is only as good as those who take its lessons and apply ten to their models. If the models were turned to software, any community would be able to determine how and why their outcomes are variable positive and /or negative and systematically model a better future. That is what I hope to see happen as a result of being here.

i-genius: What difficulties did you experience setting up Anexus?
Steve: I ain’t a geek! I learned how to do what you see and about algorithms and how to write and publish my books (“Forces – Gangs to Riots” the hard way just to get words out to others in the next generations.
i-genius: What are the most crucial things you have done to grow Anexus?
Steve: The above and I’m ready to start a blog for interaction.
i-genius: Who’s/what’s been your continued source of inspiration?
Steve: My Mom. She helped me to understand racism, hopelessness, pride, anger, selflessness and other keys to getting by and helping others to get through life. Also the young people when I see the “thousand mile stare” in their eyes. I want to explain those same things to them to give them hope to face their futures.
i-genius: Please tell us more about your Peace and Violence Continuum model. 
Steve: You have to read the website and the book. It is kinda complicated in the myriad dynamics but relatively simple in its solutions.
i-genius: What is the key to stopping violence and creating peace?
Steve: Ditto to number 7.
i-genius: What’s the worst business advice you’ve ever received?
Steve: “You can’t do it”
i-genius: What advice would you give to those starting up a social business/project?
Steve: This generation will be forced to crash the “white ceiling” of bias and white privilege. We are in a societal cycle of violence whose next stages are unrest and upheaval – but on a worldwide scale. Make Peace a business-friendly product and you will have the world beating a path to your door. And I can help you to assemble such a product.

This interview was conducted as part of the i-genius Getting Started interview series. If you would like to learn how to get started in your social business, then why not take our ‘Getting Started – Social Business Start Up’ online course with i-genius Academy. To find out more, click here!

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