What roles do media and the arts play in peacebuilding? Can theatre inspire nonviolent action to resolve conflict, transforming individuals from victims of violence to protagonists actively seeking to end it? The Embassy of Sweden, The Power of 7 team, and the U.S. Institute of Peace presented an interactive discussion on the use of the arts and media to create social change on April 29, 2015. This event was held at House of Sweden.

Catalyzing Social Change

This event stemmed from a remarkable play called SEVEN that started an international movement for social change, and is now the subject of a compelling documentary film called The Power of 7, currently in production. Dramatized by seven award-winning women playwrights, SEVEN tells the story of seven courageous women activists from seven countries who overcame massive obstacles to empower women in their respective communities. SEVEN has been performed in more than 25 countries and 23 languages, often by political leaders and influential journalists.

The event explored the impact that transformative works of art and the media can have in bringing about societal change. The presentation featured producers and playwrights involved in the Power of 7, in addition to other prominent voices who bring a gendered lens to peacebuilding.   

The discussion was part of a three day summit, “Think Globally - Act Locally,” that featured the performance of SEVEN at George Washington University’s Betts Theatre on April 27, followed on April 28 by a full-day summit co-sponsored by The Power of 7 team, the Global Women's Institute, and Futures Without Violence. That evening, a local variation of the play, DC SEVEN, was performed focusing on local stories of the struggle for gender empowerment.

Speakers

  • Hedda Krausz Sjögren
    Producer, SEVEN on Tour
  • Carol Mack
    Playwright, SEVEN
  • Alyse Nelson
    President and CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership
  • George Lopez
    Vice President, Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding, USIP
  • Honey Al Sayed
    Creative Media and Arts Consultant/Host and Producer
  • Maria J. Stephan
    Senior Policy Fellow, USIP
  • Bonnie Nelson Schwartz
    Co-Producer, The Power of 7 Film

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