Elizabeth is the founder of the Arts For Peace Foundation, whose mission is ‘building cultural bridges through our children’.
In 2001 Elizabeth was asked to create a series of theatre workshops to promote inclusion by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council. It was this work and her training in the UK and France particularly at the Roy Hart Centre for Voice, which sowed the seeds of the idea of intercultural programs for the arts for peace foundation. Elizabeth believed Ireland’s political neutrality would be helpful in hosting international peace programs.
The idea was to build Cutural Bridges through the arts in order to bring children from diverse cultures together in a safe and supervised environment to exchange their stories, highlighting how similar the stories are, despite cultural differences. Today, the Arts For Peace also aims to create a Durrow Round Table for dialogue and understanding between cultures.
Since its inception in 2004, the Arts for Peace Foundation has provided residential programs for children from more than ten countries globally, while focussing on Ireland, Palestine, Lebanon and Israel.
In 2012 after more than five years of research, Arts for Peace hosted the US State Department funded Seeds of Peace group, as part of a joint plan to host international peace conferences for university level students. The inaugural international peace conference for young people from nine countries took place with Senator George Mitchell as Honorary Chairman. Since 2012, Arts for Peace have facilitated ambassadorial understanding programs for children in Turkey and Lebanon; an SEUPB funded program for children from DEIS areas in Cavan in 2013, and in 2015 Arts for Peace began its film production program. In association with Zanzibar films Arts for Peace has co-produced Arabella, a short redemptive film to highlight the issue of teenage suicide which was selected for the market at the Cannes film festival in 2016. To build on the success of Arabella, the charity is now focusing on projects creating works of art which illustrate stories of collaboration in human contribution to peace.
I believe Ireland has something singular and special to offer the world in peace relations and peace education in terms of her history, political experiences and her recovery. Ireland’s neutrality makes her uniquely stable and suitable for the hosting of international peace programs.