MasterPeace's 8-days of artistic events gives a sneak peak to their big Cairo event planned for 2014

Farah Montasser, Menna Taher, Sara Mourad, Ati Metwaly, Monday 26 Sep 2011

Cairo celebrated 8 days of activities with MasterPeace, a network aiming to promote peace through art and culture activities, and is planning a large-scale event at the pyramids

MasterPeace

“Music above fighting, Dialogue above judging, Bread above bombs, Creation above destruction. People can do it.” – this is the core statement of MasterPeace, a global movement that intends to become a major peace promoter by the year 2014.

Egypt, as an important part of that movement, held events for eight days (16 - 23 September). Interactive art workshops for children and adults, graffiti workshops, street musician performances, craft-making film screenings were among the activities.

On the first day, 16 September, MasterPeace invited residents of the Dokki neighbourhood to an arts parade organised on Nadi El Seid Street.

The event attracted a considerable amount of young attendees, as well as families who brought their children along. The youngest generation was thrilled to draw, paint, sing and dance on the street. A Japanese delegation taught the art of origami, several bands performed and graffiti art covered parts of the street.

Sunday 18 September was dedicated to the screening of the film The Imam and the Pastor at the Goethe Institute in Cairo.

The documentary film is set in the 1990s and tackles the Muslim and Christian conflicts that took place in Nigeria. In the midst of conflicts Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye managed to maintain peace and found reconciliation after a long, deep religious struggle in their country. The film was followed by a discussion between MasterPeace organisers and the audience. El Sawy Culturewheel also screened a movie about Hiroshima on 20 September.

On Monday 19 September the MasterPeace team visited the Antar’s stable centre located in one of Egypt’s shantytowns to dedicate the rewarding day to making arts and crafts with the kids there. Their strategy was clear: to make art an everyday experience by choosing to make decorations from materials that are readily-available. For instance, they glued shreds of newspaper to cardboard plates. The children, mostly aged 3, 4 and a few a bit older excitedly glued and painted the plates when they were dry – some showing artistic tendencies. They were so excited they even sang. Two distinctively talented girls sang melancholy songs as their friends cheered them on.

Considering the internationally-celebrated UN International Day of Peace falls on 21 September, MasterPeace organisers invited people already involved in the movement to the reception held at the Bayt el-Umma (House of the Nations) in Saad Zaghloul's residence – a revolutionary and later prime minister. This house served as the meeting place Wafd Party and leaders of Egypt's 1919 Revolution.

Among the artistic attractions during the evening was a short puppet show. Mohamed El-Sawy created the protagonist puppet, Salam (“peace” in Arabic), to contribute to the MasterPeace movement.

During the reception the organisers took a moment to detail the movement’s aims and plans. The organisers explained that the MasterPeace network includes and encourages contributions from artists, activists, journalists, cities, companies and average citizens who believe that world peace is possible if enough people start to work for it. On a political level, they are pushing to inspire world leaders to truly deliver on two extremely important goals: creating a world with less armed conflicts and no nuclear arms and, secondly, creating a world in which opportunities are shared equally.

With their emphasis on togetherness, by the year 2014 the MasterPeace movement hopes to mobilise at least 20 million MasterPeacers, whether they are directly involved or active members. Together, they want to help engage creative peace processes within 14 conflict areas (mostly arts and culture activities) and open communication. Specifically, they aim to incorporate a total of 50 countries, create over 200 activity hubs and make their website more interactive, which caters to the needs of all of its users and visitors in spreading global peace.

The organisation is gearing up for a huge 2014 global peace day on 21 September, to be held at the Pyramids Plateau. The event will centre on music and concerts, featuring many international artists and will be attended by all MasterPeacers.

Ahram Online joined the network as one of the media sponsors.

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