Deborah Paul and Christy Anastas are the Co-Founders of the i61Collective. Together with Director of Operations Jon Simmons, they have created a platform that runs different social enterprise, charitable, wellbeing and creative projects. The mission of the collective is reconciliation and bridge building with a particular focus on the Middle East.
Creative Director and Co-founder
Deborah Paul is a talented public speaker, filmmaker and storyteller, who started her career as a fashion photographer. She founded the ethical brand i61 Clothing (a subsidiary of i61Collective).
Having moved into film making in 2015, she values the power of storytelling through the medium of film. Combining her entrepreneurship skills with creativity, she co-directed the award-winning short documentary “Love Has No Borders.” The visionary behind “Music on the Wind,” she recognises the potential of reconciling communities through strong creative tools such as music, fashion and film.
Deborah has been practising “Silent Space” for over 12 years and has witnessed first-hand, the transformational healing of silence and meditation. She’s a strong advocate for the emotional, mental and scientific benefits of the practice.
Executive Director and Co-founder
Christy Anastas is a Palestinian born in Bethlehem and has lived through two Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. She became passionate about ending the cycle of violence and spoke out to highlight the responsibilities on both sides. As a result, her life was put in danger and she was forced to leave her home. She settled in the United Kingdom, where she lives as a political refugee.
After spending over three years of public speaking tours about the conflicts, she recognised that words alone were only one avenue to promote resolution. Christy has since pursued putting her words into action to make a difference.
As co-founder of i61Collective, Christy is passionate about building bridges between communities and believes in approaching key issues from a creative perspective. She’s the co-director of the award-winning short documentary “Love Has No Borders” and the producer of “Music on the Wind.” After living in a war zone for over 5 years, Christy was diagnosed with PTSD and has since experienced the healing power of “Silent Space” and believes that this tool holds a key to internal and external peace.
Director of Operations and Digital Manager
Jon Simmons has a wealth of operations and digital management experience, having worked with start-ups, corporates and universities to utilise digital marketing and build meaningful digital relationships with their existing community and prospective clients.
He is the founder of israelinvestment.org, a community that connects UK investors with enterprising ventures and professional services in Israel and the West Bank. He is passionate about the power of using business to bring cohesion between Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
Jon has been on board with i61Collective from the beginning. He believes in the healing and restorative power of music and was pivotal in the planning a delivery of the debut tour of “Music on the Wind.”