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University Seminar on Innovation in Education: Truth in Translation: Using Theater & Film for Reconciliation in Global Settings, with Todd Lester

The Global Arts Corps creates theatre and film to advance reconciliation in societies emerging from violent conflict. We work with theatre artists who either once looked down the barrel of a gun at each other or, as children of conflict, still deal with memories not yet healed. Drawing from a global corps of artists - from South Africa, the Balkans, Northern Ireland and the US, we use theatre performances as catalysts for dialogue, from which we go on to build strong community bonds that stimulate and encourage conflict resolution through simple, yet dependable, acts of solidarity such as training professional actors, mentoring youth and witnessing local conditions in a multi-year engagement. The presentation will describe the work of Global Arts Corps and show film of the program in action. It will also discuss the contributions artists can make in advancing social justice in society.

Todd Lester is the Executive Director of Global Arts Corps, an organization that creates theatre to advance reconciliation in societies emerging from violent conflict. Previously, he founded freeDimensional, an organization that supports activists and artists-in-distress by providing safe haven in artist residencies. Todd has worked in advocacy and strategic communications positions with Reporters Sans Frontiers and the Astraea Lesbian Justice Foundation, both in New York. He has also worked with the International Rescue Committee in Sudan during the height of the Darfur crisis and the signing of the country's North-South Peace Accords. He has dedicated periods of his career to work on microfinance in Cameroon, refugee rights in Egypt, post-genocide reconciliation in Rwanda, cross-border municipal leadership in the Southern Caucasus, and prevention of youth violence in Brazil, working with grassroots organizations and a range of agencies, including CARE, Carter Center, Peace Corps, Population Services International, Dutch Refugee Council, and the United Nations. Todd holds a Masters of Public Administration from Rutgers University and is a graduate of both the Summer School in Forced Migration at Oxford University and the Media Studies in Film Production program at the New School. Todd received the Peace Corps Fund Award for his work starting freeDimensional, was named Architect of the Future by the Waldzell Institute, and serves as a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute focused on the role of arts in public policy-setting and freedom of expression.

Where: 305 Russell

Jointly sponsored by the University Seminar on Ethics, Moral Education, and Society, this seminar is part of the 2012-2013 season of the University Seminar on Innovation in Education which is co-chaired by Ronald Gross who also conducts the Socratic Conversations at the Gottesman Libraries; and Robert McClintock, John L. and Sue Ann Weinberg Professor Emeritus in the Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education at Teachers College. Founded in 1970, the Seminar
explores the process of learning in individuals, organizations, and society, throughout the lifespan and via major institutions.

Individuals with disabilities are invited to request reasonable accommodations including, but not limited to sign language interpretation, Braille or large print materials, and a campus map of accessible features. Address these requests to the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities at  (212) 678-3689 ,, or Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at  (212) 678-3853  V/TTY.  

  • Jennifer Govan
  • 212-678-3022
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