Peace Bringer Spotlight
Peace Bringers — May/June 2012
2012 Just Peace Summit Facilitators
Robert, Simon, Michelle, & Lisa
The May/June 2012 Peace Bringer Spotlight features four of the large team of volunteers who support the annual Just Peace Summit in New York City — The Facilitators: Robert Galinsky, Simon Cohen, Michelle Posadas, and Lisa Lucas (pictured left to right in the Spotlight photo above).
Since 2008, dozens and dozens of people have donated their time and talent to support this weeklong anchor event for the Three Dot Dash Initiative (sponsored by the We Are Family Foundation). Each year, 30 teens selected as Global Teen Leaders are brought in from around the world for an inspirational (and intense) opportunity to gather information and tools that will enhance the peace projects they have been working on. Each day, from early morning until late at night, the teens learn about Mattie, about peace, about balancing basic needs, and about all sorts of tools — photography, storytelling, press conferences, protests, social media, branding, written word, grant writing, networking, and more.
At the end of the week, the teens return to their countries — rejuvenated in spirit, energized with new knowledge and skills, excited about the future… and most of all, embraced by the new connection and loving bond with an ever-growing global family. All of this is possible because of the incredible volunteers who nurture and teach and support these teens throughout the week. Robert, Simon, Michelle, and Lisa serve as “The Facilitators” for the event, leading workshops and activities, sharing meals and games of chess, and genuinely ‘being there’ for these young people.
Since the very first moment of the very first Just Peace Summit, Robert Galinksy has dedicated his time and effort to facilitating “Energizers” throughout each day. These fun 10-15 minute sessions (usually done in a large circle) keep the teens physically active and focused, and connects them with each other and also to the content of the day’s assembly and workshop sessions.
Robert, the founder and “Principal” of the New York Reality TV School, has been ‘bringing peace’ to children years before the Summit began. He was first introduced to Mattie’s message in 2005 as he helped create the “Mattie’s Movie and Poetry Day” with Lollipop Theater and the We Are Family Foundation. “In this program we screened films to children who were unable to leave hospitals to go to the theater,” Robert said. “After each screening we created poems derived from themes in the movie and then jammed with percussion instruments while performing the poems. Though I never met Mattie, I feel connected to him through his poetry and the work we did in the hospitals. He taught me that true peace begins within oneself and right in the home- basic needs being met. Being a Peace Bringer is the first time I have ever been formally recognized for this kind of work and it makes me feel stupendous! It also is fuel for my fire to do more.”
Simon Cohen founded “Global Tolerance” when he was in his early 20s. Now, nearly a decade later, he travels all the way from the United Kingdom to serve as a Facilitator for the Just Peace Summit. In addition to leading small and large group workshops throughout the week, Simon also shares his expertise and experience as a former teen leader and as the creator of an international non-profit that he calls “a communications agency with conscience.”
During the 2011 Summit, he introduced the teens to “tole-rants” which he describes as “a hugely exciting, liberating and satisfying 60-second blast of hope and empowerment in the form of a video posted on our online platform. You film yourself speaking from the heart about social problems you feel most passionate about but you must offer a potential solution.” This exercise fits with Simon’s connection to peace, which he said is very personal. “Every day is an effort to be at peace with myself, listen to the silent whisper of conscience, and help ensure that, through my actions, I can leave a legacy of love and hope,” Simon offered. “There are few people in this world who have made peace as simple, powerful, and accessible as Mattie J T Stepanek. The work of his Foundation addresses what is perhaps the most urgent calling of our times: how do we make a just peace a living reality in our world? Being recognized by Mattie’s Foundation is a huge honor.”
Michelle Posadas has volunteered as a workshop and assembly Facilitator for the Just Peace Summit since its inception. For the past two years, she has also worked with WAFF staff members before and after the Summit to revise the Just Peace Curriculum based on feedback from the teens, guest speakers, team leaders, and others involved with the program. A multi-media performance artist, Michelle believes that telling stories through creating images is a vital part of social change movements, and encourages teens to examine how personal stories connect to larger issues.
In her bio on the WAFF website, she is said to “Weave her skills as visual artist and performer with illustration, projection, graphic design, photography, videography, costume, set design, puppetry, song, dance, and so forth. Serving as a role model for social change since she was a “conflict manager” in the third grade, Michelle is now a storyteller, organizer and teacher that brings communities together in collective art making. All those talents are evident during her enthusiastic and detail-oriented sessions with the Global Teen Leaders, as she supports them in becoming powerful activists for peace.
The 2012 Just Peace Summit was the first experience Lisa Lucas had with WAFF’s Three Dot Dash Initiative, but she has already pledged to return as a Facilitator next year. Under her role as the Director of Education at the Tribeca Film Institute for seven years, the Youth Programs grew to include year-round youth programming comprised of educational screenings, youth development and in-school arts education. Since their inception, these programs have served thousands of NYC public school students.
Lisa has also collaborated with the Department of Education, and the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, serving as co-chair of the committee developing anÂ innovative guide that outlines clear expectations for the study of film, television, and animation from early elementary school through high school graduation. Now, Lisa shares her time and talent as a Facilitator for the Just Peace Summit, leading workshops and an assembly session on the power of social media as a tool for change, and for peace. “A powerful PSA empowers the viewer, which leads to action, and change,” she said.
Robert, Simon, Michelle, & Lisa
for being Peace Bringers.