Yemen: Pathways to Peace – Promoting Peace Through Art

Yemen: Pathways to Peace – Promoting Peace Through Art

Tue, 21 Sep 2021 19:00 - 20:30 British Summer Time (UTC+1)

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An evening of music, film & debate with Yemeni artists & human rights defenders exploring how art & culture contributes to peacebuilding

About this event

The first Geoffrey and Elisabeth Carnall Award Lecture 7.00pm – 8.30pm Tuesday 21 September featuring:

Radhya Al-mutawakel, Yemeni human rights defender and chairperson of Mwatana Organisation For Human Rightsthe recipient of the first Geoffrey and Elisabeth Carnall Peace Award – will join us live from Yemen to talk about the human rights situation in her country.

Shatha Altowai, Yemeni visual artist and Saber Bamatraf, Yemeni self-taught pianist and composer (both IIEE – Artist Protection Fund Fellows) will introduce their documentary film ‘Voice of the Rainbow‘.

Kate Nevens will talk about the report she co-authored ‘Broken People can’t heal a nation‘ which is about the importance of the arts in peacebuilding in Yemen.

Chaired by: Jolyon Mitchell, professor of Communications, Arts and Religion at the University of Edinburgh and editor of Peacebuilding & the Arts (2020).

Yemen’s civil war, in its seventh year, has killed over 250,000 people including18,400 civilians – making this country the world’s largest humanitarian crisis the world has seen in decades, according to U.N. agencies. Yemen is experiencing the world’s worst food security crisis with 20 million people—two-thirds of the population—requiring food assistance in 2020.

Individuals and communities subject to protracted violent conflict seek ways to move out of a cycle of violence, toward healing and reconciliation. The power of art to inspire change within people and communities has made it a valuable peacebuilding tool.

During the evening we will explore how art and culture can contribute to peace and reconciliation in Yemen with artists and human rights defenders who are using their art to inspire healing and change.

After a panel discussion about the role of the arts in peacebuilding and reconciliation, Saber will perform live on the piano some original music he has composed.

Thanks to SE Scotland Quakers and Edinburgh Campaign Against Arms Trade group for supporting this event!

About the report:Broken People Can’t Heal a Nation: The Role of Arts in Peacebuilding‘ in Yemen By Yazeed al-Jeddawy, Maged al-Kholidy and Kate Nevens

This Report looks at how the arts and peacebuilding have historically intersected in Yemen, and how traditional arts are alive today and are being used to promote peace and war. It demonstrates the variety of ways in which the arts promote and educate on the values of peace, equality and cultural diversity while also being a tool for documenting life during war, telling untold stories and preserving collective memory.

It also highlights the use of art for advocating against violence and human rights violations, for supporting the psycho-social wellbeing of traumatized people, and for rebuilding relationships in communities torn apart by the war. The Report concludes with recommendations for a number of different ways in which the arts can make a direct and indirect contribution to peacebuilding in Yemen.

21 September, UN International Day of Peace is also the birthday of Peace & Justice Scotland, formerly Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre.

More about the speakers:

Radhya Al-mutawakel is a human rights defender and the Yemeni co-founder and chairperson of Mwatana Organisation For Human Rights, an independent organisation working to defend and protect human rights in Yemen and the winner in 2020 Anna of the Politkovskaya Award. In 2019 Al-mutawakel was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. In February 2021, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Kate Nevens is a freelance facilitator and researcher specialising in gender, youth, peace and security, and human rights. She is also a consultant to the Yemen Policy Center.

Shatha Altowai is a Fellow in residence at Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, at the University of Edinburgh. A visual artist since 2014, Shatha was awarded an IIE-Artist Protection Fund Fellowship 2020-21. In July of this year she won the John Byrne Award selected from nearly 300 creative entries.

Saber Bamatraf is an IIE – APF Fellow in residence at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. In a country that had no music schools, Saber is a self-taught pianist and composer.

This is our first Geoffrey Carnall and Elisabeth Seale Carnall Award which we hope to be an annual event at this time in memory of Geoffrey and Elisabeth. Both members of the Edinburgh Central Quaker meeting for many years Geoffrey was active with the P&J from its inception in 1980 and Secretary for many years. Elisabeth was a P&J Coordinator for several years and a Board member. Their legacy has sustained the Centre and enabled us to make the transition to become Peace & Justice Scotland.

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