Tracy Kunkler – April 27th

tracy-kunkler“Governing Complex Systems- Stories from the Front Lines,”

Community Voices and Appalachian Foodshed Project is presenting Tracy Kunkler on Monday April 27. In her talk, “Governing Complex Systems- Stories from the Front Lines,” Tracy will discuss her consulting work with people and organizations that want to create fundamental changes in complex systems, such as local food production and distribution networks. Free parking is available around Fralin at Litton Reeves, Hillcrest,or Engel parking lots after 6 PM. We look forward to seeing you there!

Bio
Tracy Kunkler, MSW, is principal at Social Profit Strategies, a social enterprise and consulting firm that works with forward-thinking leaders who are engaged in their communities and who value collaborative leadership. Whether they lead businesses, organizations, or cross-sector networks, their clients have social missions that contribute to a vision of resiliency, creativity and prosperity for all. Tracy co-founded the Dynamic Governance Institute, which has evolved into Circle Forward, a new system of consent-based governance.

Event Details
Monday April 27, 2015, 7:00pm
Fralin Auditorium

Sponsor
Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance

Lisa Jo Epstein – March 24th

lisa-jo-epstein“Art Making as Activism in Public Life: The Vision and Experience of Gas and Electric Arts”

Synopsis
Faculty, students, and community members joined Lisa Jo Epstein for an exploration of theatre as a forum for social change.

Bio
Lisa Jo Epstein is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Gas & Electric Arts. She is a theatre director, educator and teaching artist whose engaged, theatrical vision has been influenced by her training at Theatre de la Jeune Lune (Minneapolis), the world-renowned Théâtre du Soleil (Paris, France), and with Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Augusto Boal at the Center for the Theatre of the Oppressed (Paris, France). For decades, Lisa Jo has facilitated experiential theatre workshops with a variety of populations in many community locations around issues of identity, empowerment and social justice. For this work, she was recognized as a Northwest Fund Neighborhood Change Agent, was awarded a Leeway Art & Change grant, and has thrice been a Leeway Transformation Award finalist. For the past twenty years, Epstein has seen herself as Theatre of the Oppressed multiplier, teaching others this approach to making personal and community change. In addition to facilitating numerous Theatre of the Oppressed trainings and residencies in communities, she created Power gRRRls, a unique summer theatre, conflict resolution and leadership program for teen girls. Most recently, Epstein began working with an intergenerational group of residents in Chester PA around issues of domestic violence and its impact on the community.

Lisa Jo has been invited to travel to universities and colleges to teach a range of theatre classes, from T.O. to performance composition, as well as to direct theatre productions. In 2013, for example, she was in residence at the Université of Bordeaux in France where she taught master classes in choreographic theatre, led a Theatre of the Oppressed multi-day workshop, and presented her work with Gas & Electric Arts to the community. Each summer, Lisa Jo leads a Forum Theater intensive workshop which brings educators, social workers, community organizers, artists and active citizens from across the country to study with her. She has directed all of the mainstage plays for Gas & Electric Arts which has been dubbed “an indie theatre force,” and is considered one of Philadelphia’s most fearless, innovative small theater companies, committed to forging compelling imagistic, emotionally and intellectually relevant theatrical experiences. Her directorial work is noted for its signature, multi-sensory approach that bridges the gap between ensemble-devised physical theatre & text-based work, resulting in a unique hybrid performance style.

Event Details
Tuesday, March 24th, 4:00pm
Theater 101, on the Virginia Tech Campus

Co-Sponsors:
Women’s Center at Virginia Tech
Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance

Liz Lerman – March 17th

liz-lerman“At the Crossroads: Art, Science, Research”

During an artist residency at Virginia Tech in 2012, Healing Wars creator and director Liz Lerman engaged with faculty, students, and community members, including researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

Liz Lerman and Dr. Michael J. Friedlander (Executive Director, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute) joined together this time to hold a conversation, “At the Crossroads: Art, Science, Research”

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015, 7:30pm
Moss Arts Center, Cube, on the Virginia Tech Campus

Co-Sponsors:
Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance
Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech

Dr. Tay Keong Tan – November 17th

tayOn Monday, November 17, Community Voices presents Dr. Tay Keong Tan on “Promoting Integrity in Bhutan and Lessons for Governance in Nonprofits in the New River Valley.” His talk will take place at 7:00pm in Fralin Auditorium. Admission is free!Tay Keong Tan is a Fellow at the Institute for Policy and Governance at Virginia Tech and a volunteer with local community organizations. He also teaches international studies and political science at Radford University. For more than a decade, Tay Keong worked an independent consultant specializing in governance, anti-corruption, ethics, risk assessment, and public management. In 2012 and 2013, he led teams for World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Partnership for Transparency Fund in various field assignments in Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. While working on an Asian Development Bank Project to fight corruption in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan in 2012/2013, Tay Keong Tan helped the small, reclusive nation put in place systems to strengthen integrity and governance.

For additional information concerning this event or Community Voices, please contact Andy Morikawa with the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance at 540-231-6775.

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Sponsor of the Community Voices Series is the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance.

Francesco Manca – October 15th & 16th

francesco-mancaFrancesco Manca, Deputy Director (ret.) for the Political and Civil Affairs office of UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) will visit Virginia Tech from October 13 to October 20.  In a span of more than a quarter of a century at the UN, Francesco Manca assumed many roles at both United Nations Headquarters and in the field addressing economic development, electoral assistance, human rights, peacemaking and peacekeeping.  He held political and managerial posts in a number of UN peacekeeping missions in Central America, the Balkans, Tajikistan, East Timor, Sierra Leone and in the Middle East. During his long career he has often been invited to deliver lectures and speeches to numerous academic and professional forums in Europe, North and Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.  While at Virginia Tech, Mr. Manca will give a series of lectures, take part in classes, and meet with interested faculty, students, and administrators.  His plenary lectures, open to the Virginia Tech and broader Blacksburg area communities will include speeches on:

  “The role of the United Nations in the Middle East” (October 15 6:45-8:15 PM – Brush Mountain Room –Squires Student Center) and

            “United Nations Peacekeeping and Electoral Missions” (October 16, 6:00-7:30 PM Pamplin 30). 

In addition, while at Virginia Tech Mr. Manca will meet with graduate students and faculty at a brownbag lunch and discuss career options with interested students. His visit has been made possible by the support of numerous sponsors including the Department of Political Science, the Virginia Tech Women In Leadership and Philanthropy Endowed Lecture Fund, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Dean’s Advisory Committee for International Initiatives, the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance, the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, the International Relations Organization at Virginia Tech and the Cranwell International Center.

For further information please contact Laura  Zanotti, Associate Professor, Department of Political Sciences, lzanotti@vt.edu.

John Ferguson – April 24th

john-fergusonOn Thursday, April 24, Community Voices presents John Ferguson, Executive Director of American Voices.  John Ferguson’s talk is titled, American Voices: Cultural Diplomacy and Engagement in Difficult Places, Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan and Beyond.  Ferguson will present the work of the 20-year old not-for-profit organization, American Voices, whose ground breaking cultural diplomacy and engagement work in nations emerging from conflict or isolation has won several national and international awards. Discussion will center around the need for ‘engagement’ (repeated, long-term projects) as well as ‘diplomacy’ (one-off concerts and high profile events). His talk will be at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 24th at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg. Admission is free.

Ferguson will present and discuss models of best practices in cultural engagement as well as video from recent American Voices hip hop, Broadway, jazz, Rap, break dance, youth orchestra and children’s theater programs in Sudan, Pakistan and Iraq. If you are curious about Hip Hop in Iraq and Sudan or Broadway in Pakistan and have never seen aspiring Pakistani Broadway triple threats dance ‘Footloose’, this is your chance.  An excerpt of the documentary, ‘Camp Unity’ about the 2008 YES Academy in Iraq will be shown.

John Ferguson currently resides in Bangkok, Thailand where he carries out his dual roles as pianist and Executive Director of American Voices. His performing activities include over one hundred concerts, broadcasts and master classes per year throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

In October 2011, American Voices was the chosen by the U.S. Department of State to administer the American Music Abroad program. The American Music Abroad program has evolved out of an illustrious line of cultural diplomacy programming conducted by the U.S. government, including the renowned Jazz Ambassadors and The Rhythm Road programs.

Community Voices speakers are engaged in fostering work that strengthens community.  Their leadership includes the capacity to speak cogently and concisely about their experiences, to tell stories, sometimes using multi- media tools to perform in ways that are revealing of their work; and, to present ideas for change, ideas that matter.

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Sponsors of this Community Voices event include the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance, the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and, the Office of Outreach and International Affairs.

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For additional information concerning this event or Community Voices in general, please contact Andy Morikawa or call the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy & Governance at 540.231.6775

 

Healthy NRV Youth Ambassadors and Conversation NRV Conveners – March 27th

On Thursday, March 27th, join community leaders young and old to learn about how storytelling and convening have shaped movements in our community to tackle tough issues.  These movements have connected different and separate parts of the community around problems we must face if we are to become stronger more resilient communities.  Healthy NRV Youth Ambassadors will join Conversation NRV Conveners to share in presenting “Creating Space for Communities of Change.” Their talk will be at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 27th at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg. Admission is free.

In today’s complex world, community members deal with massive amounts of data and information coming from a multitude of media sources.  The torrent of data, the numbers and statistics about healthcare, the economy, social and political issues, as important to everyone’s well-being as they are, simply become so much noise, distant, abstract and avoided.  How to make sense of the information so that communities can respond and take corrective action?

heathy-nrv-members
Healthy NRV students at Virginia Tech where they learned the art and technology of digital storytelling. The Institute for Policy and Governance secured grant support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to organize the intensive workshops for New River Valley high school students. The workshops enabled each student to produce a personal, digital story. Several of the students will speak at Community Voices and share their digital stories.

The Healthy NRV Ambassadors and the Conversation NRV Conveners have found a way, a step in the direction of informed action.  That step is about individual community members telling their stories about an issue of community importance in personal terms.  Instead of simply citing data about drug use, for example, a Youth Ambassador tells her personal story of a friend she loses to meth addiction. Her story told in her own voice moves us.  Connecting data to a story is the key to social movement within our community. By creating an opportunity for personal sharing and storytelling, we can make it possible for people to truly claim their voice around issues that matter to them.  Programs and initiatives that promote storytelling help us understand and share who we are as community.

An example of this is The Healthy NRV program that supported the development of stories about community health issues told by by young people in our community.  The teens were empowered to build and share their own story and to create a digital video to share within their community and to promote their ideas for change. They became community health ambassadors with not only the ability to grasp the complexities of what impacts health in their community, but also the compassion and hopefulness to ask important questions and offer promising insights for action.

conversation-nrv-members
Conversation NRV team plans the March 22 event that brings together a broad cross section of the community, conservatives and liberals. The gathering will develop ways of opening mutually respectful conversation between community members who hold very different points of view. Team members will share their experiences with the Community Voices audience.

Another example is Conversation NRV that is hosting a conversation and story sharing event on March 22nd for community members representing very different social and political perspectives.  Conversation NRV seeks to promote and facilitate listening and understanding among people of differing views and values around the complexities of issues like poverty.  Where do personal and governmental responsibility begin and end?  The agenda is mutual understanding, not an attempt to change minds.

Both groups find that stories are the shortest distance between two people. Stories are ubiquitous forms of communication and when the teller and listener are truly engaged, they are an important, effective unit of social change.  This rings true in the New River Valley and in the world – for people of all walks of life, political perspective and age.

Community Voices speakers are engaged in fostering work that strengthens community.  Their leadership includes the capacity to speak cogently and concisely about their experiences, to tell stories, sometimes using multi- media tools to perform in ways that are revealing of their work; and, to present ideas for change, ideas that matter.  The Healthy NRV Ambassadors will share some of their digital stories with the audience.

For additional information concerning this event or Community Voices, please contact Andy Morikawa with the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance at 540-231-6775.

Sponsor of the Community Voices Series is the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance.

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For additional information concerning this event or Community Voices in general, please contact Andy Morikawa with the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy & Governance at 540.231.6775