For Youtube links to past Symposium dates, please scroll to end of page.
WAE FALL VIRTUAL SYMPOSIUM
1, 8, 15 November 2021 at 7:00PM
Registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FMb7mRrLQyagFj49cnHIig
Culture is People: Telling Our Stories into the Future
Culture depends on people telling stories; official stories that are reified into dominant histories or personal stories that demonstrate unique experiences and perspectives. Storytelling reveals values shared by storytellers and their listeners; values such as the importance of community, family, location, ideology, politics, race, gender, faith, health, traditions, rituals, and art. Storytelling connects and unites people and can forward and protect cultural heritage. Storytelling is central to the human experience. This symposium will examine how people telling stories functions to establish a culture and to challenge a culture.
SYMPOSIUM 1 (November 1)
The Importance of Storytelling
We will examine and deconstruct the title of the symposium and examine the role of storytelling in various contexts and in different mediums – from the aural to the visual/performing arts. We will examine the storytelling process and provide a space for guest artists to share stories addressing different topics such as peace building through arts, cuisine connecting people, cultural stereotypes, political experiences, and the importance of counter-narratives, and address the question: who owns the story?
WELCOME: BETTY McGINNIS -- President and Founder of World Artists Experiences(WAE). As founder and leader of WAE, Betty leads the non-profit organization which bridges people and cultures across the world to build trust, respect and thus steps toward peace. She believes that the arts are the “human spirit”, an international language and open opportunities for dialogue to enable mutual understanding. Betty partners with embassies, ministries of culture and education, international institutions and organizations to enable the goals of the organization A former teacher, creator of international conferences, curriculum writer, Czech Partnership network leader, university faculty, refugee resettlement organizer, development organizer, social justice advocate, Betty developed experiences for all ages to walk in other’s shoes and see through other’s eyes.
INTRODUCTION: KEVIN CRAFT -- Acting Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI), while maintaining his role as the Administrative Director for the Maryland Governor’s Commission on African Affairs and the Governor’s Commission Middle Eastern American Affairs. He has been with GOCI since May 2016. A resident of Maryland for more than 20 years, Craft came to the state on the last assignment of his nine-year career in the United States Air Force – five years spent deployed overseas, including five months in Qatar during the Gulf War for which he was decorated.Mr. Craft worked for 16 years in the real estate industry as a mortgage professional and a licensed real estate appraiser. He also worked for seven years as an automotive sales professional before assuming his current position.The son of a Korean and Vietnam War veteran, Craft has lived in many parts of the U.S. and the world. He attended high school in southern New Jersey and attended High Point University in North Carolina.An avid golfer, Craft currently resides in Takoma Park.
MODERATOR: GREG FALLER Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts & Communication. Greg Faller, professor of Electronic Media & Film at Towson University since 1986, was Chair of the EMF Department 2009-2012. He now serves as Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts & Communication since 2012. He received his Masters in Film Production from Syracuse University and his Doctorate in Film Studies from Northwestern University. He was an essayist, advisor, assistant and associate editor of The International Dictionary of Films & Filmmakers (1984-2001) and The Journal of Film & Video (1985-87). He has been published in Literature/Film Quarterly, Popular Music and Society, American National Biography, Film Quarterly, Media Criticism, The Fifties: Transforming the Screen, and Movies, Moves, and Music. He co-chaired the inaugural Maryland Sister States International Film Series (2006), which is now an annual state-wide event and writes the program notes for the series. Dr. Faller also worked professionally as a film editor. He is currently editing a documentary on René Gimpel, an important 20th century art dealer and French resistance fighter.
KIRAN SINGH SIRAH is President of the International Storytelling Center (ISC), an educational and cultural institution dedicated to enriching lives around the world through storytelling. ISC organizes the world’s premiere storytelling event, the National Storytelling Festival, and supports applied storytelling initiatives across a variety of industries. Prior to his ISC appointment, Sirah developed a number of award-winning peace-building programs in cultural centers across the UK. As an artist, folklorist, teacher, and social justice advocate, he uses the power of human creativity to establish dialogue. An advisory member to UNESCO and a Rotary Peace Fellow, he has developed programs, publications, talks and conference papers on interdisciplinary approaches to relationship building around the globe. In 2017, Sirah was awarded the “Champion of Peace” recognition at the Rotary International ceremony at the United Nations in Geneva. Sirah firmly believes storytelling not only enriches lives, but also holds the key to building a better world.
MARI-ANN KELAM & TUNNE-VALDO KELAM -- Estonian politicians (The Singing Revolution). The Singing Revolution film shares how, between 1987 and 1991, hundreds of thousands of Estonians gathered publicly to sing forbidden patriotic songs and share protest speeches, risking their lives to proclaim their desire for independence.
Mari-Ann Kelam was raised in the United States by Estonian parents who had survived World War II only to find their homeland occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of the war. She grew up with an acute appreciation for the Estonian language, culture, and people and served as Vice President of the Estonian American National Council during the last years of the Soviet Empire. In this role she lobbied Congress and U.S. Presidents on behalf of the Baltic nations and Estonian prisoners of conscience held in the USSR. Her first trip to Estonia was in 1990 as a US delegate to the Congress of Estonia, the alternative parliamentary body elected by the citizens of Estonia living under Soviet oppression. Shortly thereafter, Kelam moved to Estonia and worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served for several years in the Estonian Parliament. She is still active in Estonian and European politics today. She is married to Tunne-Valdo Kelam, a hero of the Estonian independence movement and current Member of European Parliament, and she has two adult children and five grandchildren. Kelam was active with the film, The Singing Revolution.
SHODEKEH TALIFERO is a multi-disciplinary artist practicing beatboxing, breath art, and vocal percussion. In his close relationship with the world of dance -- including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance Ensemble, and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company -- he acquired a wealth of experiences of applying his vocal and rhythmic skills in the movement context of ballet, capoeira, fire movement, belly dancing, and a wide range of modern dance techniques. Since then, Shodekeh has moved from Beatboxing’s roots to explore innovative and convergent collaborations with a wide range of traditional & classical artists. He serves as the vocal percussionist for the globally renowned Alash, one of the world’s leading Tuvan Throat Singing ensembles; has become a recent collaborator with the Silkroad Ensemble based at Harvard University and founded by legendary cellist Yo Yo Ma; and is premiering an original composition with Sō Percussion at Carnegie Hall. Shodekeh is also immersed in the realm of Hip Hop-inspired research & science communication, which included creating the math + music notation course Beatbox Algebra (designed to counter internalized math anxiety among students) and serving as a panelist and musician for The Neuroscience of Art, a week-long conference presented by the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg, Austria. He currently serves as Towson University’s very first Innovator-in-Residence anchored by the College of Fine Arts & Communication, allowing him to lecture, collaborate, experiment, and perform across the university.
SYMPOSIUM 2 (November 8)
Connections to the Land
We will explore how location directly impacts stories and storytelling. Regions and communities generate different stories expressing a multitude of experiences. Guest artists will share their stories addressing the centrality of location and how “land” influences stories of identity, kinship, economics, resistance, cooperation, and peace.
WELCOME: BETTY McGINNIS is the President and Founder of World Artists Experiences(WAE). As founder and leader of WAE, Betty leads the non-profit organization which bridges people and cultures across the world to build trust, respect and thus steps toward peace. She believes that the arts are the “human spirit”, an international language and open opportunities for dialogue to enable mutual understanding. Betty partners with embassies, ministries of culture and education, international institutions and organizations to enable the goals of the organization A former teacher, creator of international conferences, curriculum writer, Czech Partnership network leader, university faculty, refugee resettlement organizer, development organizer, social justice advocate, Betty developed experiences for all ages to walk in other’s shoes and see through other’s eyes.
MODERATOR: LUIS BORUNDA is the first Hispanic in Maryland history to serve as Deputy Secretary of State. Under the leadership of Secretary of State, John C. Wobensmith, Deputy Secretary of State Borunda’s responsibilities include the operations of the Office of the Maryland Secretary of State. He also assists in the development of Maryland’s subnational relationships, which includes our Latin American relationships. Deputy Secretary of State Borunda is also responsible for shaping the Office of the Secretary of States’ initiatives on Customer Service and Social Media. Mr. Borunda is an entrepreneur. He founded and operated a graphics company for 25 years. He is a co-founder of many business organizations and an educational non-profit which provided over $250,000 in scholarships to under-served Latino youth. The non-profit was an early leader in teaching entrepreneurial skills and dialogue between Latino and Black youth. He is a leader in the Hispanic community and advocates entrepreneurship and education.
DARRELL DENNIS is a multi-faceted Native American (First Nations) actor, writer, and comedian. As an actor, Dennis has gone from classic theater productions in Shaw's Arms and the Man, Strindberg's Miss Julie, and Pinter's Deceived, to film and television roles in Leaving Normal, Degrassi and Shania: A life in Eight Albums. When Dennis won the lead role of Frank Fencepost on the CBC television series The Rez his comedy career exploded. He received a scholarship to train at the world famous "Second City" and became the first Native American (First Nations) comedian to be hired as a performer in any of the Second City companies. He then co-founded the all-Native comedy troupe "Tonto's Nephews" and the L.A. based all Native American comedy troupe "The Mayflower Welcoming Committee." In addition to acting and comedy, Dennis is a successful writer. His first play, Trickster of Third Avenue East, was produced by Native Earth Performing Arts, which twice named him their "Writer-in-Residence".
Dennis’ one man show, Tales of an Urban Indian, was nominated for two Dora Awards (Best Original Play and Best Performance by an actor) and his feature film adaptation of Tales was one of 13 international screenplays to be accepted in the prestigious Sundance Screenwriters Lab.
He co-wrote and hosted the ground-breaking CBC radio program Revision Quest which ran for four seasons and won numerous awards including the prestigious New York Festival Award. Currently, Dennis is a series regular on the Teen Nick/YTV show Open Heart. His book, Peace Pipe Dreams:The Truth About Lies About Indians, is available in bookstores and online.
LYNETTE FORD is a fourth-generation storyteller and a teaching artist with the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, a Thurber House mentor to young writers, a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, and a great-grandma. For more than 30 years, Lyn has provided stories for libraries and schools, keynote and closing presentations, workshops at universities, education and literacy conferences, and featured programs at some of the most prestigious storytelling conferences and festivals in the United States, Australia, and Ireland.
She has told stories for an environmental gathering in Berlin, Germany and for the "Ain't I a Woman" retreat for survivors of domestic violence in Maryland. In November 2020, she told stories online for "Freedom Stories" sponsored by the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, TN. Lyn is the author of many books including two story collections from her family’s heritage of tales: Affrilachian Tales: Folktales from the African American Appalachian Tradition, and Beyond the Briar Patch: Affrilachian Folktales, Food and Folklore. Both books won the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award. She was the first storyteller to be nominated for an Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts; although she didn’t win, her nomination brought traditional storytelling to state officials’ attention, and Lyn has now performed for the “We’ve Known Rivers” storytelling programs at the Ohio Statehouse. Her awards include two National Storytelling Network’s Oracle Awards. Lyn is also a member of the writers’ panel of the National Writing Project, and the National Association of Black Storytellers Circle of Elders.
CARLOS RUNCIE TANAKA is a Sculptor-Ceramic Artist. A one-time philosophy major at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru, Carlos Runcie Tanaka chose instead to dedicate himself to the art of pottery making, undertaking studies in Brazil, Italy and Japan. His art reflects his early interests in biological science, archaeology and geology. In the mid-eighties his interest in installation art expanded his vision as a ceramic artist. Later on, his habit of collecting diverse objects, ranging from pre-Hispanic clay vessels and sculptural figures to living cacti, and arranging and displaying them in his own living space, has influenced the spatial solution of later projects. Recent installations have opened up to a wide range of cultural allusions, through the use of origami, glass and new media such as video. A renewed quest for answers to issues of identity and history has galvanized his artistic process. Since 1978 he has run a pottery studio in Lima, where, aside from his artwork, Tanaka creates functional pieces made from stoneware clays and local materials that are fired in gas kilns reaching temperatures of 1,300oC (2,375oF). Since 1990 he has been visiting professor at prestigious Universities in Japan and the United States of America. Member of the International Academy of Ceramics (IAC - AIC). He lives and works in Lima. He has held numerous solo exhibitions in Latin America, the United States, Japan and Italy, and has participated in group and other collective exhibitions in Peru and abroad, representing his country in contemporary art exhibitions in Caracas, Venezuela; Lima, Peru; Venice;São Paulo; Valencia y Sagunto, España; Chile; Cuba (2015). In the US, his work is in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX, the Art Museum of the Americas, the World Bank Art Collection, the Inter-American Development Bank Art Collection in Washington, D.C.; The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA, and The Northern Arizona University Art Museum, Flagstaff, AZ. He also has work in the Fundación Eugenio Mendoza, Caracas, Venezuela; the Museo Paraguayo de Arte Contemporáneo, Asunción, Paraguay; the Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno, Cuenca, Ecuador and the Royal Museums of History and Art, Brussels, Belgium. In Peru, his work is in the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAC), Arequip, the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAC Lima) and the Museo de Arte de la Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima.
CHEICK HAMALA DIABATE is a griot (storyteller) and djele (musician and poet) from Kita, Mali. Born into a family with an 800 year old griot/djele tradition, he is internationally celebrated as one of the most famous n’goni (a stringed lute and ancestor of the banjo) players. He is also a sought-after lecturer, storyteller, and choreographer and has performed at the Kennedy Center, the United States Senate, and the Smithsonian Institution. A steward of the centuries-old griot tradition, Cheick Hamala Diabate shares the oral history, music, and song of his culture as it was passed on to him from birth by parent to child. His music always reflects the historical integrity of an important art form with a rich tradition stretching back to the formation of the Great Malian Empire. He has performed with well-known artists such as Yayi Kouyate, Ami Koita, Kandia Kouyate, Madi Tounkara, Salif Keita, Bela Fleck, and Corey Harris. In 2007, his collaboration with banjo player Bob Carlin, From Mali to America, led to a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional World Music Album. Yet while many American musicians have traveled to West Africa or picked up the n’goni—thanks in part to Cheick Hamala Diabate’s introductions and instruction—few African musicians have explored the possibilities of the banjo. “The music we griots play is not just about making nice sounds for dancing, it’s about giving a lesson to people about their lives. You tell them about what their grandfathers did, and what they should do now,” explains Cheick Hamala Diabate. “People trust the griot more than anyone else.”
(November 15) – Cultural Heritage
We will explore how cultural heritage connects into the future. What are the through lines connecting previous lived experiences to potential new experiences? How can we offer stories built on the past and the present to imagine an idealized future? How do artists create visions for the future of a culture and allow us to imagine new stories? Guest artists will share stories addressing topics ranging from the pandemic, health and well-being, and new artistic practices, to political turmoil, social justice, climate change, gender and racial equity.
WELCOME: BETTY MCGINNIS, President and Founder of World Artists Experiences(WAE). As founder and leader of WAE, Betty leads the non-profit organization which bridges people and cultures across the world to build trust, respect and thus steps toward peace. She believes that the arts are the “human spirit”, an international language and open opportunities for dialogue to enable mutual understanding. Betty partners with embassies, ministries of culture and education, international institutions and organizations to enable the goals of the organization A former teacher, creator of international conferences, curriculum writer, Czech Partnership network leader, university faculty, refugee resettlement organizer, development organizer, social justice advocate, Betty developed experiences for all ages to walk in other’s shoes and see through other’s eyes.
MODERATOR: BEATRICE FULLER is a leadership coach for senior leaders at independent schools in the United States with Coaching@Altitude, and a practicing artist exploring a range of mediums including paint, glass and ceramics. In her more than 35-year career in independent schools, Fuller has served as a high school principal, director of college counseling, English teacher, art teacher, and athletic coach at a wide range of schools including Georgetown Day School, Severn School and Holton-Arms School in the Maryland/Washington DC area and boarding schools in Massachusetts and California. In every school, she has focused on community building, leadership development, and inclusion work. A graduate of Williams College, Fuller double majored in English and studio art, and was a three-sport captain in field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse. Fuller also earned an MS in Education from Johns Hopkins University with a certificate in Independent School Leadership. Growing up in the DC area, Fuller loved having friends from around the world and from a variety of backgrounds, and loves to travel in person or via literature and art.
HELEN ZUGHAIB was born in Beirut, Lebanon and lived mostly in the Middle East and Europe before studying art and earning her BFA from the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. Zugabaib currently lives and works in Washington, DC. She paints primarily in gouache and ink on board and canvas. More recently, she has worked with wood, shoes, and cloth in mixed media installations. Her work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe and Lebanon, and her paintings are included in many private and public collections, including the White House, World Bank, Library of Congress, US Consulate General, Vancouver, Canada, American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, the Arab American National Museum in Detroit, Michigan, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Her paintings are also included in the DC Art Bank Collection, and she has received the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowship award from 2015-20. Her work has been included in Art in Embassy State Department exhibitions abroad, including Brunei, Nicaragua, Mauritius, Iraq, Belgium, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Zugabaib has served as Cultural Envoy to Palestine, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia. The John F. Kennedy Center/REACH, in Washington, DC, has selected Zugabaib for the 2021 Inaugural Social Practice Residency. Her paintings have been gifted to heads of state by President Obama and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Zugabaib states: “As an Arab American, I hope through my work, to encourage dialogue and bring understanding and acceptance between the people of the Arab world and the West, especially since 9/11, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the more recent revolutions and crises in the Arab world, resulting from the “Arab Spring” that began in late 2010, leading to the current war in Syria and the massive displacement of people seeking refuge in Europe, the Middle East and America. My work is ultimately about creating empathy. Creating a shared space for introspection and dialogue. I ask the viewer to see through someone else’s eyes, to walk in another’s shoes. To accept the ‘other.’ To reject divisiveness. To promote acceptance and understanding and to reject violence and subjugation of anyone anywhere. To give voice to the voiceless, to heal, to reflect in our shared humanity.”
CAROLINA MAYORGA is a Colombian-born and naturalized American interdisciplinary artist who has exhibited her work nationally and internationally for the last 20 years. Her work is part of national and international collections and has been reviewed in publications in South America, Europe and the US. Mayorga’s artwork addresses issues of social and political content. Comments on migration, war, identity, translate into video, performance, site-specific installations, and Two-dimensional media in the form of photography and drawing. The artist lives and works in Washington, DC.
MUKWAE WABEI SIYOLWE is an international cultural curator and learning strategist. She explores self-determination and how the arts can engage communities through storytelling, mapping, and network cultures to redefine representation and citizenship. Professional actor credits with Actors’ Equity and British Equity are many and include Mass (Barbican Centre, London), the Oscar™ nominated film Cry Freedom (Universal), Nuns on the Run (Handmade Films), The Crossing (BBC TWO), King, The Musical (Piccadilly Theatre, London), Constant Star (City Theatre). She won “Best of Pittsburgh” for The Island (City Theatre). She is the recipient of multiple international grants and awards including the Heshima Lifetime Achievement Award for Cry Freedom from the Tazama Film Festival, for her contribution to women in African cinema. As the artistic producing director of Global Posse Productions, a non-profit, her work includes a State Department funded jazz program at Lincoln Center and the “Rhythm Road Tour” of North Africa and the Middle East. She is a contributor to Afrikadaa, a Paris based journal of Afro art and design, and writes for the Independent Television (ITVS) blog. Mukwae has been an assistant professor, lecturer, visiting artist, and scholar at the Norwegian Theatre Academy (Ostfold University), the University of Namibia, as well as developing culturally responsive K-12 arts curricula for the Pittsburgh Public Schools and Towson University. Her advocacy work includes being the Chairperson General of the Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA) and a diplomat at the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), Brussels.
SARAH HOOVER is Associate Dean for Innovation, Interdisciplinary Partnerships and Community Initiatives at the Peabody Institute. As Associate Dean, Hoover has re-invigorated the institute’s historic engagement with organizations throughout Baltimore to bring music to new audiences and help students hone citizen artistry and career skills. She has shepherded the development of Peabody’s Breakthrough Curriculum and oversees the work of Peabody LAUNCHPad and the Office of Community Partnerships, advancing an integrated vision for career skill development, entrepreneurship and citizen artistry. Named one of Musical America’s 30 Music Professionals of 2019 for her work linking music and medicine at Johns Hopkins, Hoover leads a variety of interconnected efforts across the university and hospital system to conduct research, develop therapies, bring music into clinical settings, and provide multi-disciplinary clinical care for musicians. She has shepherded the development of concert series and bedside music programs at Johns Hopkins Hospital as well as programs in creative aging and sensory-friendly performances through Peabody Prescribe’s arts for wellness division, and has served as co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Music and Medicine. Her book, Music as Care: Artistry in the Hospital Environment, was published in the spring of 2021. Prior to her appointment at Peabody, Hoover had a career as a performer, teacher of singing, and music journalist. Her writing has been published by the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Grove Dictionary of American Music, and Chamber Music magazine. From 2012 to 2015, she founded and directed the Oyster Bay Music Festival in Oyster Bay, NY, a grassroots experiment in community music that deconstructed the concert stage and broke down the boundaries between audience and performers. Hoover is a graduate of Yale University and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance from Peabody. She received additional training in voice science and holds certificates in Arts in Medicine and Performing Arts Medicine.
CLOSING & THANK YOU: BETTY McGINNIS
WORLD ARTISTS EXPERIENCES’ FALL SYMPOSIUM 2021 PLANNING TEAM
Ana Maria Economou
Mukwae Wabei Siyolwe
Governor of Maryland Office of Community Initiatives
Maryland Secretary of State Office
Cheick Kamala Diabate
Ane Maria Economou
Triinu Rajasalu and Embassy of Estonia
June Krell Salgado
Carlos Runcie Tanaka
For more information about WAE, please go to https://www.worldartists.org/
For additional resources please go to the WAE International Education Week website: https://sites.google.com/view/world-artists-experiences/home
Youtube Link for Nov. 1 Storytelling and Its Importance in Culture