Belfast: community engagement + arts = holy grail

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3,981 miles, 3 hours of sleep, 4 cups of coffee, and we made it to Belfast, Northern Ireland. We hit the ground running. Day 1 was filled with conversations, walking, sunshine and a pan European rock-n-roll band. Not a bad start. I am instantly struck by the authenticity and warmth of the people in Ireland. After a 2-hour conversation with my extraordinary in-country coordinators (and now friends!) Siobhan McGuigan and Esther Haller-Clarke from type AB to review my robust itinerary for my time in Ireland, I was off for my first meeting. First up, I had the pleasure of talking with Emma Jordan, Artistic Director, Prime  Cut Productions. An accomplished actress and director, Emma recently received 2015 Spirit of Festival Award at the Belfast International Arts Festival and her production of Scorch was the 2015 winner of the Irish Times Best New Play. Quite impressive. Continue reading

Come in!

IMG_4299If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

–  Invitation by Shel Silverstein

This is my invitation to you to “come in” and join me on my Eisenhower Fellowship journey this year. As a 2016 USA Eisenhower Fellow, I have the honor of traveling on a five-week transformational, international experience in which I will meet with experts in my field, and beyond, to help me achieve consequential outcomes in my region as well as across borders. I will admit that the mission feels a bit daunting at times, but I am completely and utterly inspired by the Eisenhower Fellowships’ simple yet bold premise – create a global network of leaders where dialogue and collaboration can be used to make the world more prosperous, just and peaceful. That simple…and that challenging, especially in today’s world. Continue reading