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September 29, 2013

Storytelling Artists Stimulate Our Imaginations

Thank you to all who are responding to the question we, along with the International Storytelling Center, are asking at their upcoming festival, October 4-6, 2013, in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Early responses are already coming in for our question:

How might the art and power of storytelling contribute to global peace and collaboration in a troubled world?


Leon-Overbay“The performing Storytelling artist, by stimulating the imagination of the listener through their story in a collaborative manner, establishes a common ground which is the basis of community.”

Submitted by Leon Overbay, “The Boones Creek Bard” and founding member of The Jonesborough Storytellers Guild, and charter member of the Barter Storytellers.

September 26, 2013

Children Saving Children

Free The Children is proof positive that kids can make a difference in the world.  The organization is an international charity and educational partner that believes in a world where all children are free to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change. It works domestically through its We Day and We Act programs to educate, engage and empower youth to become active local and global citizens. Through its sustainable development model—Adopt a Village—Free the Children  strives to remove barriers to education and help communities break the cycle of poverty.

Craig KielburgerThe organization was founded by Craig Kielburger in 1995 when he gathered 11 school friends to begin fighting child labor. He was 12 years old.  He was motivated by a story that appeared in the Toronto Star about a boy his age named Iqbal. Iqbal Masih was born in South Asia and sold into slavery at the age of four. He had spent six years chained to a carpet-weaving loom. Iqbal captured the world’s attention by speaking out for children’s rights.  But he was killed at the age of 12 by those who had enslaved him and which to silence him.

Craig gathered together a small group of classmates from his school in Ontario and Free The Children was born.  Its mission is simple.  Free the children from poverty. Free the children from exploitation. Free the children from the notion that they are powerless to effect change.

Today, Free the Children has over 5,300 volunteers working on projects that are about evenly split between domestic and international.  The organization has been a model of efficiency, lining up partners from KPMG to Air Canada to provide in-kind services that allow it to operate on a lean administrative overhead of less than ten percent.  Since 2009, it has raised over $5 million in donations, over a third of which come from kids.  The projects it funds range from education, to providing clean water, and helping women and children become self sufficient by selling products through its Artisans program.

But perhaps the most important work that Free the Children does, is to empower kids to get involved and make a difference in their communities and around the world.  Through its Me to We programs, Free the Children is teaching children to become social activists and realize they can change their world for the better.

Free the Children – featured on CBS 60 Minutes

September 25, 2013

Learning to Listen Through Storytelling

Thank you to all who are responding to the question we, along with the International Storytelling Center, are asking at their upcoming festival, October 4-6, 2013, in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Early responses are already coming in for our question:

How might the art and power of storytelling contribute to global peace and collaboration in a troubled world?


From Liz Weir, Northern Ireland   09/25/13
“In my work in Northern Ireland over the past years of violence and in this post-conflict situation, I have worked with storytelling to help people learn to listen to each other. Through listening comes understanding.”

September 25, 2013

Soulful Warriors

Thank you to all who are responding to the question we, along with the International Storytelling Center, are asking at their upcoming festival, October 4-6, 2013, in Jonesborough, Tennessee.  Early responses are already coming in for our question:

How might the art and power of storytelling contribute to global peace and collaboration in a troubled world?


From Sai Santosh  09/25/13

We are a group of youngsters here in Alabama and Georgia (USA) creating a comic strip called ‘Soulful Warriors’ which focuses on human values.  “It’s difficult to judge/criticize people but very easy to love them.” We believe the answer to every conflict lies in LOVE. I thought that this idea of creating comic strips that focus on human values can inspire artists/illustrators around the world to create similar content, instead of the same old violent comic books.  We thought that sharing this comic strip at the International Storytelling Festival would bring awareness to creative ways of storytelling.  (Click each image to view full size.)

Soulful Warriors

Soulful Warriors2

September 11, 2013

9/11 – Unforeseen Consequeces

9-11 attacks on WTCTwelve years after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the world is a different place than we could have ever imagined.

The world is still working through the consequences of the terrorist attacks that changed America.

Osama bin Laden deadWe’re going to find out who did this and we’re going after the bastards.
-Sen. Orrin Hatch

Osama Bin Laden and many of his top lieutenants have been killed or captured.  But the Al Queida and other terrorist organizations continues to be a threat.

soldiers in AfghanistanWe’ll have to deal with the networks. One of the ways to do that is to drain the swamp they live in. And that means dealing not only with the terrorists, but those who harbor terrorists. This will take a long, sustained effort. It will require the support of the American people as well as our friends and allies around the world.
-Donald Rumsfeld, Press Briefing, September 18, 2001

“Draining the swamp” has been arduous and costly.  Thousands of American soldiers, and many more thousands of civilians, have been killed or wounded fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As countries across North Africa and the Middle East attempt to free themselves from decades of tyranny, the U.S. is weighing the role it should play in these conflicts.  The U.S. conducted airstrikes in Libya, has performed a diplomatic balancing act in Egypt, and is considering military intervention in Syria.

nsa-buildingWhen I look out the window, I exhale a prayer of thanks for the color green, for my children’s safety, for the simple acts of faith like planting a garden that helped see us through another spring, another summer. And I inhale some kind of promise to protect my kids’ hopes and good intentions we began with in this country. Freedom of speech, the protection of diversity — these are the most important ingredients of American civil life and my own survival. If I ever took them for granted, I don’t know.
-Barbara Kingsolver, novelist

Americans have had to grapple with the balance fear and the need to feel safe with the desire to preserve the freedoms on which the country was founded.  This has been reflected in the legislative struggles over the Patriot Act and the national dismay over revelations of systematic spying on citizens by the NSA.

new world trade center[9/11] was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.
–Sen. John Kerry

You can be sure that the American spirit will prevail over this tragedy.
-Colin Powell

The new tower rising over the National September 11 Memorial in New York City perhaps best symbolizes the way Americans have responded to the 9/11 tragedy and its aftermath.  Our spirit has prevailed and we have realized the best within us in our time of crisis.

We may have reached the end of innocence, but arrived at the beginning of wisdom.