DEFINITION AND MISSION

The Festival of Nations is a charitable trust that recognizes cultural engagement as a highly effective, yet largely underutilized means to address, educate and counter the growing global trends of sectarianism, ideological & violent extremism, and Islamophobia. Arts, culture and related media can make significant inroads in fostering engagement and peaceful co-existence between peoples, cultures, and regions in conflict, when strategically employed. Authentic collaborations, fusions and productions featuring diverse cultural leaders, promote mutual understanding and tolerance; which ultimately, positively impact all segments of society. In particular, disenfranchised millennials.

The Festival of Nations’ mission is to back and partner with non-governmental organizations, foundations, forums and arts & culture leaders who support and practice this kind of social development in the service of reconciliation and conflict resolution. Our goal is to foster dialogue, dignity and pluralism in the place of prejudice and sectarian divisions.

WHY ARTS, CULTURE & MEDIA TO ADDRESS SECTARIAN DIVISIONS

Arts & culture relay engaging stories that inspire recognition of shared interests and values, naturally weaving between generations, languages and religious beliefs. They create  messaging content from identifiable, authentic sources, with legacy impact and international geographic reach in today’s new-media landscape. For these reasons, the value of creative expression in all live and digital formats needs to be incorporated once again into broader strategies of diplomacy, development and social change.

Contemporary and historical culture are integral to a community’s sense of identity. Given that a strong sense of identity is a pillar of healthy and vibrant communities, and that cultural identity provides a bulwark against extremism and ignorance, it is no wonder that radicals target icons of history and culture, most recently from the Buddhas of Bamiyan, to the art galleries in Tunis, to the music and world heritage sites of the Sahel. While all Abrahamic religions share founding tenets of tolerance, peace and plurality, these core ideals are increasingly overwhelmed by simple misinformation, conspiracy theories or opportunists exploiting rifts for fundamentally political goals - all exacerbated by today’s 24 hour news-cycle and its disproportionate attention to violence.

When Arts & Cultures’ elite messengers join forces in cross-cultural collaboration to address crises, their messaging and solidarity truly impact global audiences. They are our most effective ambassadors of change - our educational bridge to a more peaceful co-existence.

GUIDED BY THE FOLLOWING STUDIES & TOP-LINE UNDERSTANDINGS

  1. https://docs.google.com/a/nyu.edu/file/d/0Bxtm0CVyU8oxbS1oT0dqbGtCN1U/edit?pli=1

  2. http://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/britishcouncil.uk2/files/influence-and-attraction-report.pdf

  3. http://www.ddcf.org/Global/doris_duke_files/download_files/A%20New%20Way%20Forward.pdf

  4. http://asiasociety.org/files/pdf/as_making_difference_report.pdf

  5. http://www.rsclark.org/uploads/cm-salzburgsem.pdf

  • Arts & culture are a highly effective means of education, of undermining stereotypes and of highlighting the common humanity that binds us all together.
  • Artists & cultural leaders are frequently our inspiring agents of change, and proverbial “canaries in the coal mine”. They are authentically at the media forefront, holding organizations and governments accountable, and mobilizing society for positive social and political change.
  • Where emerging political figures often lack the courage to condemn and objectify fundamentalist strains, the arts & cultural community does not.
  • Creative expression transcends censorship while captivating the public, in particular, millennials rendered vulnerable by conflict, lack of community and poverty.
  • Arts & culture ideas conveyed through traditional & new-media can penetrate deeply into societies and spread virally in today’s connected, transnational world.
  • The convergence of social media, mobile video technology and broadband speed must be incorporated in arts & culture initiatives to bridge humanity like never before.