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Megumi's Peace

I am on a quest to create a more peaceful world. What does it take? Do we need a Martin Luther King Jr. or a Gandhi? Is non-violence the way? Does meditation help? Why do people support war? What are the psychological reasons for people's acceptance of v

Updated: 2014-03-18T09:42:18.137+09:00


Bangladesh Report back


Our World 2.0 recently published the videos I co-produced while in Bangladesh. Here they are the accompanying article:Original article inland and by the shore, today’s changing climate is impacting the daily lives of the people of Bangladesh. Out of necessity, Bangladeshis are beginning to adapt by implementing traditional knowledge and practices, through self innovation and with the help of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the United Nations. Worldwide, to varying degrees, we are all in the process of learning how to adapt to environmental changes. The front-line experience of Bangladesh will provide useful insight into the many challenges that will affect more and more places in the future. This week, in honour of Bangladesh National Day (March 26), we bring to you a series of three video briefs that showcase the resilient Bangladeshi spirit in coping with these potentially devastating changes. These stories also provide a glimpse of how the United Nations University is working with NGOs to create a platform of knowledge sharing for climate change adaptation. At-risk Bangladesh On our warming planet, Bangladesh is considered to be one of the 12 highest climate-risk countries in the world. It regularly faces all of the five main identified threats that arise from climate change: droughts, floods, storms, rising sea levels, and greater uncertainty in agriculture. In particular, Bangladesh tops the list in flood disasters because it is situated in the low-lying Ganges–Brahmaputra River Delta that is formed by the confluence of three rivers and their respective tributaries, which include run-offs from the melting Himalayan glaciers. Bangladesh — and many of the other countries on the high-risk list — are increasingly facing such hazards, despite the fact that their contribution to the world’s carbon emissions is minuscule, even in comparison to many developing nations. On top of these climate impacts, Bangladesh is one of the most population dense countries in the world and ranks 147 out of 179 on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index (PDF). The list assesses a country’s achievement in terms of human development in areas like health, education and gender equality, and not just GDP growth. The effects of climate change are exacerbating Bangladesh’s existing problems — health, poverty, land erosion and natural disasters. At sea, the waters are getting rougher and the frequency of tropical cyclones is increasing. On land, the rain patterns are erratic, day and night temperatures fluctuate dramatically, and the country is plagued by both drought and flood. While 80% of Bangladeshis live in rural areas and 54% work in agriculture, more and more farmers can no longer make ends meet and have begun to migrate to the bigger cities and other countries in search of a better life. However, the Bangladeshis are not resigned to climate change doom, but instead have become active leaders in adaptation. In 2008, the national government published a Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (PDF). The country has already begun to prepare for the inevitable and irreplaceable effects of climate change. In some communities, education and awareness-raising has begun in schools. For those who live along the coast, homes are built to withstand 100 km typhoon winds and sit upon raised foundations to stave off rising waters during flooding. In addition, farmers are planting saline resistant crops that can withstand the salt water floods that plague their lands.Ultimately, adaptation is not the longer-term solution for climate change. It has its limitations. A focus on reducing our green house gas emissions must be prioritized. In the mean time,[...]

Indigenous Voices of Climate Change Film Festival @ COP15


Goddag! I am writing to you from Copenhagen, Denmark--home to the COP15 UN Climate Change Conference- which begins tomorrow. I'm here to support my colleague Citt Williams who for the past year has been tirelessly making films in some of the most remote parts of the world for the Indigenous Voices on Climate Change film festival which we have organized at the National Museum of Denmark.The film festival which kicks off on Wednesday is a collection of not only UNU Media Studio produced documentaries, but stories form around the world on how local and indigenous people's are feeling the effects of changing climate. A short version of my most recently produced documentary on climate change adaptation strategies taking place in Bangladesh will be screened at this film festival. Here are the basic details of the film festival or you can go straight to the Our World site for more info. Indigenous voices on Climate Change Film FestivalNational Museum of Denmark,Copenhagen9th – 13th Dec16.00 – 18.00Free AdmissionFifteen of the films screened at the festival can be viewed in the customized youtube play-list below. Use the button second from the left to scroll through the films.If you happen to catch this post and are in Copehagen, please do stop by and check out the films. Otherwise, follow my twitter feed for more regular posts on COP15 and the film festival. [...]

A step backwards for marriage


One particular subject that I have not blogged upon thus far is something that is actually quite dear to me. It is the right for same-sex marriage.

The reason why it's important to me is because it is an issue that affects some of my dearest friends.

My best friend once told me that as a little girl she envisioned herself walking down the aisle to marry the love of her life. Today, that person waiting for her at the alter happens to be of the same sex. When I hear that people are willing to deny her that happiness, as Maine did this past Wednesday, it breaks my heart to no end.

While it is a great disappointment and it shows the many challenges the movement still faces, it was even more shocking to learn on October 15 that a Louisianan Justice of the Peace denied a marriage license to an interracial couple.

As I've blogged about before, the right for interracial marriage was won in 1967 with Loving vs. Virgina case. So it's alarming that in a day in age where we are fighting for the next level of civil rights that such an incident occurred.

Luckily, this justice of the peace resigned -sending a clear signal that he overstepped the law in favor for his personal opinion/ignorance.

For me, much of the ignorance and the arguments against same-sex marriage today are the same arguments that were used against interracial marriage back in the day.

I produced the 2009 Loving Day Flagship Celebration video partly in celebration of my own multi-racial/cultural heritage but also in part to show how such an injustice can be overcome and to give hope to the challenges we are facing now. Please watch the video and pass it on to your friends.

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Off to Bangladesh!


On Monday, I'm headed to Bangladesh for two weeks to do a story about how the local people are affected by climate change. On our warming planet, Bangladesh is considered to be one of the 12 highest climate-risk countries. It has all of the five main threats that arise from climate change: droughts, floods, storms, rising sea levels, and greater uncertainty in agriculture. (World Bank) In particular, Bangladesh will lead in flood disasters due to its geography: ie. situated between Himalayan glaciers which are melting and the sea of Bengal.It's sad to hear that Bangladesh, and many of the other countries on the high-risk list, is increasingly facing such threats when its contribution to the world wide carbon emissions is miniscule. On top of these climate impacts, Bangladesh is one of the most population dense countries in the world and ranks 147 out of 179 on UNDP's Human Development Index. A list which asses a countries achievement in terms of human development, ie. prosperity. The Bangladeshis, however, have not resigned to climate change doom but have become an active leader in trying to make adaptations both at home and abroad. In 2008, the Government of Bangladesh published the "Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan"I have to admit that while it's very exciting to be going on this mission, I'm also a bit nervous about what I'm about to experience. Seeing and documenting the diminishing drift-ice in Hokkaido (see bottom video) is starting to feel small in comparison to meeting the men and women of Bangladesh who's homes have washed away and livelihoods destroyed to crop salination. While there, we will be working with UNU Researcher Tan Chun Knee and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature,to document some of the efforts to create awareness and to help Bangladeshis adapt to the increasing environmental changes. Anyways, looking forward to my return to Tokyo and sharing my experiences with you. 'Till then.~[...]

"The Cove" @ Tokyo International Film Festival


October certainly seems like the month of film festivals. With the always excellent UNHCR refugee film festival out of the way, Tokyoites now have the Tokyo International Film Festival to look forward to. Last year TIFF went eco-friendly: laying out a green carpet, using green energy for screenings, and holding a symposium on environmental issues. Adding on to that, this year, TIFF has started the Green Carpet Club, of which you can become a member:

I'll be away for most the entire duration of the film festival :( but I have one particularly film that I want to encourage you wholeheartedly to see- "The Cove."

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While I feel this trailer speaks for itself, I have to say of all the amazing films I have seen recently (Burma VJ, Heart of Jenin, Age of Stupid) this by far trumps them all. 

"The Cove" is an inspirational story about an individual giving everything in order to bring awareness to not only the plight of this dolphin slaughter but the many issues related, such as mercury poisoning and the selling dolphin meat disguised as whale. Ric O'Barry, once the dolphin trainer of the beloved American TV show Flipper, now sees it as his mission to curb the ever expanding dolphin industry.  

While protecting dolphins is not necessarily my number one priority, the shear passion that Ric O'Barry emits is earth-shatteringly inspiring. I was shaking when I had the opportunity to meet him after the screening of the film at the Foreign Correspondent's Press Club in Tokyo.

The screening of the film at TIFF is on Wendesday the 21st at 10:50am. Pre-sale tickets are already sold out but if you line up early ( I would get there by 8, but Im just a film freak) I'm sure you can get a chance to catch this controversial yet well produced and incredibly moving story.

2009 UNHCR Refugee Film Festival


(image) I apologize for the lateness of this post but the 2009 UNHCR Refugee Film Festival  is underway. Please visit the home page for the line up.

I feel this year's selection is particularly outstanding and the festival organizers purposely choose to only screen 2o films this year, allowing them to bring the many of the  filmmakers over for Q & A sessions.

Of the films selected, I have already had the great pleasure of watching two of them. The highly anticipated Burma VJ which tells the stories of the courageous Burmese video journalists who risked everything to share the stories of the 2007 Saffron Revolution. Through clever and well placed reenactments, the raw footage is woven together to give one a very real picture of the incidents that occurred that Fall. 

The second film Heart of Jenin, tells the incredible journey of a Palestinian father makes a remarkable decision when his 11 year old son Ahmed is shot by Israeli soldiers. Ismahel (the father) decides to offer his son's organs to 6 israelis, giving a second chance to children while challenging the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a personal level for some of the families.   

The film festival is on until this Friday.

Hafu Japanese project


Since returning to Japan nearly three years ago, I've been re-exploring my Japanese and "hafu" identity. This has manifested in my collaboration with the Loving Day project and now with a projected called the Hafu/Half Japanese project by Marcia Yumi Lise and Natalie Willier. The Hafu Japanese project examines both the physical features and identities of individuals who are of mixed Japanese decent. Thus far Marcia and Natalie (also hafus) have been photographing and interviewing hafus living in both the UK and in Japan.Next Saturday evening, (September 19th) Marcia will be leading a talk event in which she will present her project and explore the many facets of what it means to be a hafu living in Japan. Venue: Las Chicas in Aoyama ( Nearest station: Omotesando Exit B2 (5 mins walk) Date: 19th of September 2009, Saturday Time: Talk event 6pm ~, Networking Party 8pm~ 6pm- Talk and In Conversation Marcia Yumi Lise (Co-founder of the Hafu Project) An increasing number of people are migrating between countries, which is intrinsically related to the process of globalisation. It is safe to say that most of the so called "Hafus" are the offspring of such a process. The event deals with the ways in which Hafus see the world in modern-day world, and explore their position in society using data and some theoretical framework. Inviting two guest speakers including Kota and Henry we will discuss topics related to nation, nationality, race, culture and gender. Kota (Special guest speaker and music performance) Kota is a musician, writer and a sports commentator. Being a transgender, "kuota" (quarter Japanese) and brought up outside of Japan, Kota has been making enquiries into her identity and gives public talks extensively. Check out her blog and professional profile. Henry McDonald (Guest speaker) Henry was born between a Japanese mother and a British father. Having graduated an international school in Japan, he decided to study at Birmingham University in the UK. Currently a graduate student at Hitotsubashi University. 8pm- Networking party A special music performance by Kota and DJ performance by DJ No'n. Public talk & Party 3000 yen (3500 yen at door) Party only 2000 yen (2500 yen at door)[...]

Youtube launches Video Volunteers


Wow, I just discovered Youtube's latest initiative Video Volunteers. 

Youtube has launched this new channel which connects non-profit orgs with its hundreds and thousands of videomakers to produce videos for worthy causes. It has built the widget below (sorry just an image, I'm having trouble imbedding it in my blog) that lists videomaking volunteer opportunities from,, and volunteer match.


First thoughts: Incredible. I look forward to following this and seeing the videos that are produced from this new partnership.

However, browsing quickly through the comments it seems that many Youtubers are unsure exactly in what ways they can help and it looks like it will take a rather sophisticated video maker to do the job...

Hmm something to definitely watch and see how it grows...

Latest videos from Our World 2.0


Here are my latest videos from Our World 2.0.
Drop me a comment and let me know what you think. 

Plastic to Oil Fantastic!
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Plastic to Oil Fantastic from UNUChannel on Vimeo.

The Japanese company Blest has developed one of the smallest and safest oil-to-plastic conversion machines out on the market today. It's founder and CEO, Akinori Ito is passionate about using this machine to change the way people around the world think about their plastic trash. From solving our landfill and garbage disposal issues to reducing our oil dependancy on the Middle East, his machine may one day be in every household across Japan.
While holding up a bag of trash, he states, "It's a waste to throw away, isn't it? This is a treasure."

Read the article:

The Case of the Diminishing Drift Ice

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The Case of the Diminishing Drift Ice from UNUChannel on Vimeo.

The Sea of Okhotsk has long been the southernmost spot in the Northern Hemisphere where polar sea ice is found. After spreading southward out of the Arctic each winter and along the eastern edge of Sakhalin Island, the ice typically arrives in Hokkaido in mid to late January. The best time to see it is the latter half of February but it stays until late March or early April. However, over the past twenty years the drift ice has been slowly diminishing. Some say this is the result of global warming. The people of Abashiri have come together to take action.

To read more about this

Come celebrate interracial marraige at the Loving Day celebrations!



I came across Loving Day less than a year ago while searching through hapa (Hawaiian-term for mixed race) based websites. As someone who feels that my life path has been directly influenced by my multiracial and multicultural background, it is especially important for me to honor the day that interracial marriage was legalized.

Personally, I can't remember when I first learned that there was a time in US history (just forty some years ago) when interracial marriage was illegal in many states. But nonetheless it baffled me that this had been a recent reality. I believe that much of the same ignorance and prejudice that existed against interracial and intercultural marriage persists today with new issues. As someone who champions for civil and human right, its only natural to honor the battles that we have already won.

So come on out, let's celebrate!

Event Details
Hosted By: Loving Day and World Up
RSVP: requested via email
Loving Day proudly presents the 6th annual
in New York City

FREE BBQ: all day long
FREE BEER: for the first hour
GET IN FREE: rain or shine
MULTICULTURAL: family friendly

DJ DHUNDEE, Sugarcuts Music (

Sunday, June 7th from 3-7pm at Solar 1
East River at 23rd St. in Manhattan

Come celebrate the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage in the US.

SUBWAY: 6 train to 23rd, then M23 bus or walk e. past Ave C & FDR. Look for Gulf gas station. Or, L train to 1st Ave: walk N. to 23rd
BY CARr: from south, FDR to 20-23 St. exit. Right on Ave C, right on 23rd almost to Gulf gas station, then service road to Solar 1


Seeking interracial couple for documentary on Loving Day


Hi- I'm currently planning to shoot a short documentary while I'm in New York in June. I'm looking for a interracial couple to follow as they celebrate Loving day- the day the Loving vs. Virgina Supreme Court case legalized interracial marriage. Anyways, here's my call:

Documentary filmmaker seeks an interracial couple to film at the Loving Day celebrations on June 7th, 2009 in NYC.
The Loving Day Campaign ( commemorates the legalization of interracial marriage by organizing an afternoon of festivities the Solar 1 pier
in New York City.

Ideally, we are looking for an interracial couple who is:
-passionate about overcoming racial prejudice
-who is either married or considering it in the future
-interested in volunteering at the Loving Day celebrations (optional)
-be willing to have a camera follow them on the day and be interviewed about how you met etc. (on possibly another day)

If interested please contact the filmmaker
Megumi Nishikura

About the filmmaker:
Megumi is a documentary filmmaker of mix heritage.
Her desire to create films about our common humanity stems from her own multicultural and interracial background.
Past documentary work includes films for the United Nations, Associated Press and various NGOs and foundations.

Please feel free to repost and share with anyone who might be interested.

Global Media Forum - June 3-5, 2009



While I have yet to make it to a conference that addresses the media's role in peace (they seem to get canceled a lot), the Global Media Forum is one I'm hoping to attend. It's main objective is to examine how new media technology (hello my thesis!!) can aid in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

In their first conference (2008) they addressed the following questions:
What is the relation between the media and violent conflict? Do the media have a responsibility to prevent the outbreak of violence? Moreover, can they contribute to peace-building activities? And if so: how?

Here's a video from last year's conference:

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This years follow up conference will be held from June 3-5th in Bonn, Germany.
Taking a look through their website and their lineup of talks, it's clear that they are aware of how these new medias- Youtube, blogging, and social networking- are changing the face of not only traditional media but its outreach to newer audiences.

Out of the questions/issues that this conference aims to address these are the following that particularly interest me:
• Do the changes in technology and user profiles influence the way in which the media report on conflicts – or do they directly influence the way in which a war is fought?
• What about the impact on peace-building processes and conflict-prevention strategies?
• What are the main challenges for the international media during this technological revolution?
• How have the expectations of viewers, listeners and users changed, and what is the best way to reach them in the digital age?
• The multimedia revolution and its impact on conventional media YouTube & Co.: Generating new audiences or excluding even more people?
• Blogging for peace or hate as a way to bypass censorship?

I hope that this conference will prove to be an opportunity to learn in greater detail from those already working in this field of how both content and the way it is served can reach the largest amount of individuals and have the greatest impact possible.

Hometown Baghdad on the Sundance Channel this Thursday night


Hometown Baghdad, the web-based documentary series that I wrote my thesis on, will be making its debut on the Sundance Channel on Thursday March 19 at 11:30pm. It's airing coincides with an important date--the 6th anniversary of the war in Iraq. Let's take this opportunity to re-reflect on the costs of war. For international viewers, look for it listed on the National Geographic International channel. I hope to catch it there!

(image) From Chat the Planet's email blast:
"Hometown Baghdad follows three Iraqi college students based in Baghdad as they try to maintain a semblance of normal existence amidst the escalating violence and chaos around them. The online version of Hometown Baghdad drew over 3 million viewers worldwide when it launched in March 2007. The series won three 2008 Webby Awards, and in the categories News and Politics Series, Public Service and Activism, and Reality. In an article about the online series for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, pop culture critic Cary Darling wrote that the series' scenes of ordinary lives "offer a glimpse into a society few knew existed: young Iraqis who are clinging to a global, middle-class identity while the world around them crumbles into chaos."

My First OW2.0 Video: Will you eco-marry me?


My first Our World 2.0 story is up on the ourworld hompage. To read the article that goes a long with the article click here. Please visit the website and leave your comments there! Thank you!

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Will you eco-marry me? from UNUChannel on Vimeo.

"Tokyo couple Shigeru Komori and Tomoko Hoshino embraced the chance to create a beautiful wedding day without leaving behind a huge environmental footprint. Both of them are passionate about the environment and so practicing their eco-philosophy on their wedding day was a true reflection of who they are and what is important to them."

Up sleeve number two


I apologize for this much overdue entry, as I have certainly been busy for the past month and half. After returning from Australia and successfully producing the Associated Press story about the Hibakusha Peace Boat voyage, I was offered a short-term contract position working for the United Nations University Media Studio. So for the past few weeks, I have been producing short six-minute documentaries for a webmagazine called Our World2.0.


The web magazine and documentaries focus on solutions to our global issues, with an emphasis on oil scarcity, alternative energy, and food security. So far the stories that I have been working on have been about how the diminishing drift-ice in the Okhotsk sea is affecting tourism in Hokkaido, how one couple planned an eco-wedding, and a machine that converts our plastic waste back into oil. As these stories go up online, I'll be posting the links here as well. Check it out when you get a chance.

Up sleeve number one (as promised in my previous entry)


As this message posts, I will be onboard a plane to Sydney, Australia. I'm headed there to do a freelance video report for Associated Press. The topic of the five minute video for AP's Horizons programming is on the current Peace Boat voyage in which 102 atomic bomb survivors share their anti-nuclear testimonies as they travel around the world. What an incredible journey they must be having as they connect with locals in 20 plus countries. It's a story that is much needed to be documented and shared with as many people as possible--as for some of the hibakusha this may be their last chance to share their story.

I'm excited and nervous at the same time. Nervous about my continual push to challenge myself as a storyteller, to meet AP standards, and to handle all the technical aspects of this shoot. Excited to be going to Australia (a first for me!), to meet with the Hibakusha and tell their story as best as I can. I hope that this will be first of many experiences like this in my lifetime. Wish me luck and see you back in Tokyo on the 8th!

(photo credit: Peace Boat)

Goodbye Providence, Hello Japan for now


My time in Providence is coming to an end. I haven't been as active blogging or involved in local peace activities as I would have liked but my life here has seemed to have taken its own course. As my first foray into doing more commercial work, I have to say that I have enjoyed it immensely. I don't know when I turned away from looking (or if I ever considered) working in the narrative storytelling side of this industry but the four months on this job has given me a greater appreciation for the talent, artistry and care that goes into producing what some might consider "fluff."When I haven't been jaunting off to New York on the weekends, I've been traveling to New Hampshire. Swing-state New Hampshire that chose John McCain over GW Bush in the 2000 primaries. The New Hampshire that preferred Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in 2008 primaries. My friends and I have knocked on hundreds of doors, talking to locals about a much needed change in the white house, in America and in the world. And while it was my nerves that kept me up on the night of the 3rd, it was excitement of all the possibilities that kept me up on the 4th. I cannot express with enough eloquence what I believe Obama means to history and to what we all know is possible in our hearts for a better world. I also know that while he can be a great catalyst, he cannot single-handedly change the world. Each and everyone of us, regardless of our citizenship, has a chance to participate in fulfilling our true potential. I look forward to what the next eight years bring.So I have a few things up my sleeves as I jump on a plane back to Japan. For several of them, it's still too early to post here (and I'm very excited for when I do) but I can share that my short film Peace Begins with Me and You will be at the Artivist film festival in Tokyo, Japan on Dec 12th. Here's the event link of FB. More details to come but here's a good start:Artivist Film Festival Tokyo ・ アーティビスト映画祭 in 東京Japanese premieres of 13 amazing short and feature films from around the world.Friday, Dec. 12th at 7 P.M.Saturday, Dec. 13th at 7 P.M.Sunday, Dec. 14th All Day - 11 A.M. to 9 P.M.12月12日(金)、19:00〜21:0012月13日(土)、19:00〜21:0012月14日(日)、11:00〜21:00Detailed programming schedule to come.プログラムはまもなく決定します。Admission is FREE! Arrive early for good seats."ARTIVIST" is the only international Film Festival dedicated to raising awareness for the interdependence between Humanity, Animals, and the Environment. Since 2004, Artivist has screened more than 300 international films and has reached more than 25 Million People with its Public Relations Campaigns. Merging Art & Advocacy for Global Consciousness is our Mission. Artivist is a Charitable Organization endorsed by the UNITED NATIONS and the International NOBEL PRIZE.「アーティビスト国際映画祭」は、人権・子供の 権利・動物の権利・環境保護への社会意識を高めることを目的とした初の映画祭で、今年で5周年をむかえます。2004年より通算2500万人以上に300 本以上の映画を紹介してきました。本映画祭の使命は、地球規模の問題への社会意識を高める一方で、国際的に活躍するアーティスト兼活動家(アクティビス ト)=「アーティビスト」達の声を高めることです。アーティビストは、国連とノーベル平和賞からも支持を得る非営利団体です。This year's films making Japanese premieres include:One WaterThey Turned Our Desert Into WaterZeitgeist AddendumStole[...]

Poem by Hafiz


My mother recently forwarded me this poem by Hafiz. I feel this poem encapsulates what I feel is true for my own life.

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our

I have come into this world to see this: all creatures hold hands as
we pass through this miraculous existence we share on the way
to even a greater being of soul,
a being of just ecstatic light, forever entwined and at play
with Him.

I have come into this world to hear this:
every song the earth has sung since it was conceived in
the Divine's womb and began spinning from
His wish,

every song by wing and fin and hoof,
every song by hill and field and tree and woman and child,
every song of stream and rock,

every song of tool and lyre and flute,
every song of gold and emerald
and fire,

every song the heart should cry with magnificent dignity
to know itself as
for all other knowledge will leave us again in want and aching -
only imbibing the glorious Sun
will complete us.

I have come into this world to experience this:
men so true to love
they would rather die before speaking
an unkind
men so true their lives are His covenant -
the promise of

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands
even at the height of
their arc of
because we have finally realized
there is just one flesh
we can wound.


NYC: Barefoot Workshop Event on Sun 28th.


Back when I was exploring different organizations to write my thesis on, I came across Barefoot Workshops which trains  video production skills to youth and women in developing countries. This upcoming Sunday, the 28th, BW will be holding a seminar at B & H. 
I'm going do my best to make and hopefully will be writing a follow report.  love, M


Sunday, September 28, 2008
B & H Photo
34th & 9th Ave
Media Empowerment & The Developing World Presented by Barefoot Workshops
Speaker: Chandler Griffin
Event Type: Video
Time: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Barefoot Workshops is a New York City and Los Angeles based not-for-profit, founded by Chandler Griffin in 2004, that offers short, intensive workshops around the world in narrative and documentary filmmaking. In this two-hour session, Chandler Griffin will provide an overview of Barefoot’s role in using media in the developing world to help Civil Society Organizations, Non-Governmental & Governmental Organizations, and individuals make change where it is needed the most. Chandler will discuss the media tools and formats used on the ground, how to conceptualize a workshop and ways to get involved. The goal of this session is to demystify the “how can I do this?” and give individuals a chance to learn how Barefoot Workshops does it, ask all the questions and get involved. You will learn that through Barefoot’s international workshops, they offer field placements for international students to assist organizations on the ground with media projects that help them to address challenges in their communities. These “hybrid” workshops result in dynamic learning environments, and open the way for international students to gain valuable field experience, and to learn about issues firsthand. If you are interested in discovering how you can change the world through the power of digital media, come find out how Barefoot can train anyone from vastly different backgrounds and skill levels, how to blend the technical and artistic aspects of storytelling, beginning with the basics of image-making all the way through to post-production to create a “symphony” of images and sound. Barefoot Workshops hopes that by sharing “how they do it”, they will mobilize individuals to get involved and help make a difference with media.

Waterfire and the Providence SDS


(image) Last Saturday on the way home from watching Iron Man at the $2 theater, we drove through Providence's acclaimed summer weekend activity: Waterfire.
Waterfire, created by Barnaby Evans, lines Providence's rivers with bonfire sculptures that are lit as a symbol of its renaissance. Held every other weekend, the event brings out tourists and locals alike to enjoy a summer evening downtown.
While we were walking through the city streets looking for somewhere to eat, we met with 20 or so people dancing in the middle of Kennedy Plaza. From a distance, it looked as if a impromptu rave was taking place, but on second glance they were dancing to a homemade speaker sitting in a shopping cart while holding up protest signs. A dancer approached me and handed me a flyer: "Tonight's Waterfire is brought to you by Textron:Your neighborhood Cluster Bomb Manufacturer." It turns out, Textron's headquarters are located a block away from Kennedy Plaza.
The dancers were from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) which has been active in the Providence area since the summer of 2007. Sadly, my phone ran out batteries so I wasn't able to get a picture of them but it surely warmed my heart to see a youth peace movement in action. Having just come from seeing Iron Man, where a pre-transformed Tony Stark naively believes his multi-billion dollar weapons manufacturing company only equips the "good guys," the "Funk the War" dance protest very clearly brought home that weapons manufacturing is not just an issue for the big screen but an every-day reality for even the people of Providence.

photo credit: hlkljgk

I'm boycotting Victory Day


Today is Victory Day in the state of Rhode Island. It is a state holiday and many Rhode Islanders have the day off. Why you may ask? to celebrate their victory over Japan 63 years ago. I just learned about this holiday a week ago and I'm none too please to hear that RI is the only state left in the US that celebrates this day. The last state to remove this holiday was Arkansas back in 1975. For as liberal a state as RI supposedly is, any attempts to remove this holiday has been met with strong reactions from WWII veterans. Even attempts to change the name to World Peace Day (which I would still have a huge problem with), Remembrance Day( much better) or RI Veterans Day have been met with opposition.
While I know that August 15th is a controversial date for many around the world, choosing to celebrate it as a victory over another country is what I have a problem with. Korea commemorates this day as their liberation day- this is understandable to me. People have a right to celebrate their liberation, their freedom from oppression. However, to glorify the defeat of another country, especially to glorify a day that came just a few days after one of the greatest crime against humanity- the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki-- must be questioned.
Of course, the average Rhode Islander most likely is just enjoying the day off from work and doesn't think twice about the meaning behind the day. Well, at least its cold and gloomy today, so people can't enjoy it that much. Hrmph!

Peace happs in Providence


What can I say? I'm a event junkie. A peace event junkie that's for sure. I've in Providence for all of a week and half and I have already found events to attend and communities to participate in.

First off tomorrow, Wednesday August 6th, is a forum on Iran put on by the Rhode Island Mobilization Committee to Stop War and Occupation (no website available). The event will feature Dr. Jo-Anne Hart, Dr. Kaveh Afrasibi and Abas Maliki to discuss not only the history and politics of the region but the possible consequences of any attack on Iran. To find out more about this event click here.

The Global Media Project at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies- this initiative was started to explore the significance of media on international issues. They offer a class called "Global Media in War and Peace: History, Theory and Production". And it's not all academic, they also produce "documentary media for human rights, cultural understanding, sustainable development, and global security."No mention yet on their website as to when the class is in the Fall. Wonder if I can snag a guest lecture spot like I did at Temple University last month...

Okay that's all for now. xoxo

July: Personal Update


Oh what a month July has been. I remember graduating from undergrad some six years ago, ready to start working in the real world and living the grown-up life. It took me a whole two months that summer before I landed a job. In hind-sight, two months seems like such an insignificant amount of time in waiting to start one's career, but I remember those two months to be excruciatingly painful from my 22year-old perspective.Now here I am, graduated from graduate school, and I have arrived in that same space of uncertainty. Luckily, as it's my second time around, I'm a little less panicked, a little more trusting that my experiences and polished skills have only made me more employable and that it is just a matter of time. Yet every now and then, a goblin called impatience climbs on my back and annoys the hell out of me. I swat him off, and he disappears for a few days or even a week at time and I enjoy the present moment. However, recently he has been making more frequent calls.So many things have fallen away and come to be in the past months since I turned in my thesis. The Power of Peace forum to be held at the University of Waterloo has been canceled. My proposal to make a film about the Rotary Peace Fellow's Applied Field Experience this summer was dropped. While obviously, this is something to be sad about, I'm taking things in stride and trusting that there is something more waiting for me.I have been keeping myself busy. One aspect of my career that I really want to grow is to start a production company that produces videos for non-profit and non-governmental orgs. I am in the process of building a website for this, but I fret a lot over what exactly I want to say. I know this won't be a money making business, but I see it as a much needed service. How can I use my video skills to help organizations make a difference, communicate better, create awareness, promote their cause? by producing videos for them. So for the past month I have been making two videos. One for the Institute of Culture Affairs Japan and their upcoming conference in November. The other project is for my friend Emilie and her org Parties 4 Peace. While there's still work to do on the video, here's the first cut of what I have assembled.Now on to my next step. I have been offered a four month gig on a national cable tv drama in the US starting next week. Yes, nothing to do with peace or documentaries but it is something to get my started back into the industry. It's also paying! After the past two years of what seems like a million volunteer jobs, it will be nice to see the dollar amount in my bank account increase instead of its opposite. But most importantly this is what I have learnt over the past two years: that there is yet so much I have to learn. If I really want to make a difference, if I really want my media to have an impact, create awareness, and reach as many people as possible then I have a lot of work to do. I have for the past several years focused on improving my production value- working as a one woman production team. Each production, I feel I have produced better and better videos, learning from my mistakes and pushing my boundaries. However, production is only half of the equation of using media for impact. Without distribution, without connections, if the video is only seen by a few hundred or thousands of people (and most likely many of those who are already in the "choir") I have not done enough, I have not really been of service. Ther[...]

DOP's first republican co-sponsor



The Department of Peace campaign- which got me started on my peace a career- has just had a major success!

Maryland's Congressional District 1 succeed in getting the support of Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, a Republican cosponsor! This is huge for the DOP campaign!

Since beginning in 2003, the DOP has had growing support from congress members in the house as well as supportive voices in the senate, but to date all of them have been democrats.

Having been involved in this campaign since its inception, one argument I've often heard is that unless we have a republican cosponsor this bill HR 808 ain't going no where. So, congrats to all the volunteers and staff of the Peace Alliance for making this happen.

This is the first step to many more republican cosponsors!

To read more click here.

Freeze to prevent a war?


By now many of us have seen the Grand Central Freeze put on by Improv Everywhere in New York City. If you haven't yet check the video below:We have even gotten around to doing a freeze in Tokyo:So now United for Peace and Justice, a New York based peace organization, is taking this same tactic to say no to a potential war with Iran. One of my favorite things about protests and demonstrations is the creative expressions people come up with to get their messages across. If the traditional march no longer has the impact that it once did, alternative thought-provoking and visually-grabbing approaches must be explored.I'm thoroughly curious to see how this Freeze will go over and if other any other remarks other than the t-shirts will state their message against the war. Looking forward to seeing the video.If you are in New York and want to participate here are the details:FREEZE in Grand Central Terminal Calling for No War on Iran FREEZE THE THREAT OF WAR ON IRAN! THURSDAY, JULY 10 MEET AT LEXINGTON AND 42ND ST. AT 5:00 ACTION STARTS AT 5:30 150 people have signed up so far! We would love to bring that up to at least 200! Let us know you are coming (or you can also just show up). Join us to say "No Attack on Iraq!" The American public needs to know that there are many voices calling for real diplomacy and negotiations with Iran. Former Ambassador to the UN, Thomas Pickering, among others, supports talks with Iran without preconditions. We also need to put a human face on the people of Iran - teachers, school children, mothers, doctors, farmers, engineers, artists. These are the people of Iran whose lives would be at risk if the U.S. or Israel attacks Iran. We will have "Peace with Iran" t-shirts for $15 and signs that you can pin to your shirts. At 5:30, we will enter the terminal, mill about and then all freeze at 5:40 for 5 minutes. We march, we lobby, we call our congresspeople, we vigil, we commit acts of civil disobedience. This is another creative, simple, visual action that will get the message out to thousands of commuters. We hope you can join us.[...]