Last week, I was in Dublin where OWD collaborated with Bluefire Dublin and Splattervan to work with a group of recently arrived refugees from the Bradog group. This group was made up of 12 youth ages 15-17 years from various countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, Nigeria, Sudan, Albania, Romnia, North Korea and elsewhere. We held a six hour workshop where we used creative facilitation methods and visual thinking strategies to open up a dialogue with the youth to talk about what peace means to them and their message to their new community in Dublin.
It was an amazing day! The youth started off shy and like most teenagers, hesitant to be enthusiastic and open. After spending some time with them, they opened up and shared really interesting ideas about peace, even though some were with extremely limited English. This was an opportunity for them to share their own ideas in a conducive and positive environment to showcase their creative work at the Bluefire Street Festival held last Saturday, September 17, 2016.
The group created a graffiti piece on 8x8 foot wood board (picture above). They decided to write out peace in their different languages and drew "hands" demonstrating openness but also a symbol to stop violence and racism.
Following are some quotes about peace from the group:
- "peace is life"
- "if you have no peace, you can't make any schools...you can't make anything...you cannot succeed"
- "if you don't have peace, you are not a alive"
- "peace is harmony"
At the Bluefire Street Festival, local kids came out and shared their message of peace, using stencils created by the Bradog group earlier in the week, and leaned about the work of OWD. Surprisingly, some local youth also created a graffiti piece which they wanted to share with the community aligned with the work we are doing.
It was great to see how the work we've started in Ottawa translates well across borders and the concept of our work is resonating with people across cultures and countries.
Hope you have a great International Peace Day 2016 and do one small act of peace/kindness this week.
President, One World Dialogue