The International Peace Festival (IPF) is a not-for-profit organization committed to the role and value of art and culture in peace and reconciliation processes. IPF’s Global Ambassador and Cultural Exchange Program (GPACEP) serves as an inroad to understanding interlinks between art, culture, conflict and peace.
The GPACEP examines the different approaches to art and culture in peacebuilding, reconciliation and conflict-prevention processes and offers spaces for dialogue and healing for population groups through artistic and cultural engagements that contribute positively to peace and reconciliation processes.
The GPACEP’s primary purpose is to support the integration of art and culture in pre- and post-conflict situations in order to increase the likelihood of lasting peace and avoidance of any future conflicts. The GPACEP ensures that local support to art and culture is long-term, partnership-based, and strategically managed as an approach to strengthening the chances for a peaceful and inclusive development in less privileged countries.
By examining innovative approaches – including art, music, participatory theatre techniques, video, storytelling, and festivals – and their use in promoting dialogue, facilitating trust-building, raising awareness, and inspiring hope, the GPACEP highlights best practices. For instance, the replicability of programs to create a critical mass in post-conflict and authoritarian contexts, the revival of traditional art forms to address current issues of intolerance and a multidisciplinary approach using the art as one strategy to address social issues are some of the examples of highlighted best practices.
Art and cultural activities can nurture and provide platforms for the celebration of cultural diversity and intercultural exchange. IPF’s Global Peace Ambassador and Cultural Exchange Program does not seek to provide definitive answers but, use the artistic and cultural opportunities available to it to support the maintaining and rebuilding of just societies that value a culture of human rights, peace and tolerance.
Although art and culture have traditionally been viewed as a soft area of peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts and have been underutilized in these fields, the IPF is committed to maximizing the role of art in peacebuilding and reconciliation through its Global Peace Ambassador and Cultural Exchange Program (GPACEP).
In recognizing the struggle over artistic and cultural spaces and their power to also forge peace, the GPACEP uses art as one of its many strategies, to engage issues of peace, tolerance and human rights. The role of IPF’s Global Peace Ambassadors and Cultural Exchange Sponsors consists in engaging their communities and local authorities in peace, human rights and tolerance dialogues, using art as one of the mediums of engagement.
GPACEP through its multi-dimensional approach enables community members to acquire skills of creative expression and supports them to use these skills to explore multiple genres for artistic, reflective and broader social rebuilding processes. Through this process, GPACEP supports initiatives to open up the cultural spaces that have been shut down by extremist ideals, reviving cultural expression to encourage community members to explore the fluidity of identity, develop critical thinking and provide alternate narratives to the culture of violence to which they are exposed.
As a not-for-profit organization based in Toronto, Artscape collaborates with artists, community leaders, public policy advocates, philanthropists, and urban developers.
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