Literally, peace work does come in all shapes and sizes. Recently I came onboard with an organization called Arts Action Group. Some really great folks who are arts educators have been traveling to Kosovo and Western Saharah to involve children and youth in arts education and conflict resolution work.
When people find out about this work they question how it resolves conflict. Well you tell me, if children have been affected by dangerous living conditions and the rhetoric of how to hate each other, what are the outlets that can be used to dissolve that anger? Like so many children affected by terror, conflict, abuse, and neglect, they need an outlet for expression.
What is unique about this opportunity for me, is that it is a synthesis of my background in art, my Masters degree in conflict resolution, and my experience working with at-risk youth. I can call on many skills to help me do this work. I will just say this ...Peace work can involve any kind of human contact as long as it seeks the greater good. Ironically, another interest of mine is storytelling and narrative facilitation. Such byproducts also organically happen when students begin to create artwork. It's a noisy activity, sometimes with lots of chaos and mayhem. However, students begin to talk to one another and through this expressive activity the stories begin to unfold and unlock.
In addition, the artwork is shared as well as the stories with students across the globe.
I just wanted to take a minute to share this work because I think it is so phenomenal. Arts Action Group will be seeking funding over the course of the next year in particular. I am serving as their Funding and Development Officer and I couldn't be more thrilled. We are also looking for collaborators if anyone out there seeks an organization to help them facilitate this unique work. Most of the members of the organization currently live in the New York City area but ... "Have art supplies, will travel!"
Jillian Post on behalf of Rob McCallum and Cindy Maguire