Monday, August 16, 2010

Spotlight Series: Silat Wassel

SFUSA: Silat Wassal is using art as a tool for conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Could you tell me a little bit about that? Are you focusing on a particular area? What is that area like?

Silat Wassel: We mainly have our activities in the north; right now we are taking part of a project called the Middle East Expedition (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon) and soon we will work over all the Lebanese territories on the same website project. It aims to activate the dialogue between different sects of society through artistic, cultural, social and environmental activities. It also aims to create an atmosphere of non-violence through events and workshops with different age groups in marginalized communities.

SFUSA: I understand that you have just recently gotten NGO status, so you must be pretty new. Do you have a website? If not, do you have plans to establish one? It would be great to see some of the art even if we are across the ocean!

Silat Wassel: We are working on creating LNCA (Lebanese Network for Civic Achievements), a network that should be formed by youth NGOs working in the north and then maybe expand it to the other Casas of Lebanon.

Concerning the website, we are preparing to launch a big interactive website by the end of the summer. This website will be used by youth to create advocacy groups in their local governments, municipalities, etc.

SFUSA: Where did you get the idea for using art as a tool for conflict resolution?

Silat Wassel: I, myself, am an artist and two other members are also artists. We figured out ways to use art as a tool to fight violence, and we also do social training, capacity building, and public awareness workshops.

SFUSA: What do you envision for the future of your organization? Do you think the international community could do more to help peacebuilding projects in Lebanon?

Silat Wassel:The Together We Live project is a series of workshops to establish a culture of dialogue between youth of different backgrounds.

As for what could the international community do concerning the peace building projects, we think there should be some sort of sustainability in projects; for example, we trained for the past couple of years around 700 participants from all over the north on conflict management and citizenship, thus we had an idea that we should keep on seeing them and working with them and so we created an idea of (Center for Public Awareness (CPA).

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