Tales of Courage, Hope and Transformation: Extraordinary Journeys of Women Empowered Through Art

10 Jun

Originally Posted on April 22nd, 2010

Sat., April 24, 1-2 pm

Montgomery College Cafritz Arts Center, Room 101

930 King Street, Silver Spring MD 20910

Tales of Courage, Hope and Transformation: Extraordinary Journeys of Women Empowered Through Art, Panel of Discussion. Facilitator: Marga Fripp, EWI President

Guest Panelists: Hazami Barmada, Public & Cultural Diplomacy – US/Arab Affairs, Vera Oye’ Yaa-Anna, Artist, Storyteller and Activist, Sushmita Mazumdar, Writer, Designer and Book Artist

Hazami Barmada is a Public and Cultural Diplomacy professional, focusing on international collaborative development and interreligious and cross-cultural exchange, namely with the Arab/Muslim global communities.  Barmada works with numerous public and private organizations providing technical assistance on organizational management, strategy and programming.  She is a Program Advisor for the Aspen Institute Global Initiative on Culture and Society, co-founder and President of the Arab Empowerment Initiative, and Founder and Executive Director of the Iraqi Orphan Initiative.  Barmada is actively engaged in grassroots organizing and community development and is frequently invited to speak on issues of international diplomatic affairs, women and youth empowerment, civic engagement, faith relations and diversity.

Barmada is the Founder and President of the American Muslim Interactive Network (AMIN), a grassroots organization that hosts an array of social, educational, and volunteer initiatives that promote intra/interfaith understanding and dialogue. Additionally she serves as an advisor and board member of several non-profit organizations. In 2008, she was named a Muslim Leader of Tomorrow by the American Society for Muslim Advancement.  Her grassroots initiatives and events  have received recognition in major media outlets.

Vera Oye’ Yaa-Anna is a Liberian-born artist who transports her audience to Africa through interactive storytelling, dance and drumming. This is her seventh residency as a member of Smith Farm’s team of artists-in-residence. Using the transformative power of storytelling, she teaches inmates how to craft and tell their “illuminating and inspiring” life stories to ease their reentry into everyday life. Through dance, yoga and storytelling she engages cancer patients and their caregivers in uplifting the soul while dealing with the challenges of illness.

Sushmita Mazumdar is a writer, graphic designer, book artist, and founder of Handmade Storybooks.

She writes stories for children, based on her experience growing up in India, and makes them into books by hand. She teaches art education programs for children as well as adult groups, to encourage storytelling and to pass on cultural heritage from one generation to the next. She received her BFA in Applied Arts from Bombay University, India, and has been in the United States since 1999. Sushmita also volunteers as a docent with the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art in Washington. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her family.

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