Opening Statement by Carmel Mawle
Welcome to our first annual Writing for Peace Youth Summit! Our theme, “What I Would Say if I Knew They were Listening, Conversations on Peace” is an opportunity to open up, share your work and brainstorm with other artists. The summit is closed to the public because we know it takes a great deal of courage to share openly. It’s a safe place to speak freely, question freely, and see where your thoughts lead you.
This is a starting place. Let’s see where it takes us.
We are listening.
First I want to say that, while these may be my “official” closing statements, this summit is by no means closed. This is true, not only because I’m still reading and contemplating and digesting all of the thought-provoking work and comments that emerged from this event, but also because this summit is a springboard for future action. I look forward to working with many of you as we develop the exciting new element of our program, Peace Journalism. I also hope to see many of your pieces published in our blog as we move to incorporate more young writers along with our advisory board contributors. More importantly, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on ways we can build on the successes of this first summit. How can we support your work and activism? We’re listening.
Special thanks to our four keynote speakers, who shared their hearts and lives with us this weekend. Each of you demonstrates integrity in action, inspiring us to look with new eyes at ways we can make a difference with our work, in our communities, and even in our own families. D.M. Aderibigbe, Nathan Blanc, Lyla June Johnston, and Amal Kassir, thank you.
Dr. Elissa Tivona, thank you for developing and teaching the course on Peace Journalism. This is a call-to-action that will lead to intriguing new possibilities for our participants, for Northern Colorado Writers, and for Writing for Peace. I will be incorporating the principles I learned in your course in my own writing, as well.
Dr. Erica Chenoweth, your research and message is empowering. Knowing that 3.5% of the population can lead a nation in a new direction makes anything seem possible. I know I’m not the only one who will approach my own work with renewed hope and a greater sense of the potential. Thank you.
Last, but not least, I want to thank Mary Carroll-Hackett, and the Summit Interns at Longwood for all the hard work that made this event possible. You’ve created something really beautiful here. Beasa Dukes, Semein Washington, Katlin Kitchen, and Chad MacDonald, I heard wonderful things about each of your efforts in this endeavor. And, for going above and beyond, Beasa Dukes, a heartfelt thank you for all you did to support your tireless professor, Mary Carroll-Hackett, in the final run-up to this summit. She wouldn’t be able to accomplish nearly as much as she does if her head had actually exploded. Much gratitude to each of you.
I look forward to meeting you all again at our next summit, and learning how your art has developed over the course of a year. Wishing you much peace, power, and love.