Others Are Us Presents “IMAGINE,” an Exhibition of Art Exchanged by Young People to Help Prevent Future Conflict

New York, NY, November 07, 2008 --(PR.com)-- Others Are Us (OAU) presents “IMAGINE”, an exhibition of art by young people (ages 5-18) who have participated in OAU programs over the past six years. This event is co-sponsored by Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service and is part of International Education Week. The exhibition takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 at Fordham University, 113 West 60th Street, New York, NY 10023 in the South Lounge, Plaza Level. OAU will showcase some of the international dialogues young people have conducted through art since the organization began programs in 2002.

China has recently been added to OAU’s programmatic reach. This brings the number of countries where children and youth are engaged in OAU programs to eight-- the United States, China, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Egypt and Palestinian Territories. OAU programs foster intercultural understanding, promote youth as community leaders and build relationships that enable future cooperation on global concerns.

Among the topics that will be presented at the exhibition are school, gender roles, family, fashion, conflict and violence, fears and future plans and dreams. According to Annette Swierzbinski, OAU founder and Executive Director, “Young people approach each other with an openness that gets lost over time. They want to discover what they have in common and understand where their differences come from. Even when points of conflict or disagreement come up, we see them struggling to put themselves in the other’s shoes and work towards a resolution from that perspective.”

The mission of Others Are Us and the programs it has developed emerged as a response to the culture of fear and negative profiling of others that arose following the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent issue of globalization. OAU was conceived as a long-term strategy for establishing a foundation for preventing future conflicts by fostering in children the ability to recognize intercultural similarities and to understand the origin and nature of cultural differences. This enables them to work cooperatively to address shared issues.

OAU’s programs use art as language. Through exchanges of theme-based drawings, young people are able to “speak” directly to one another from their personal experience, sharing what life is like for them in their country and culture. The medium of art enables children to record and communicate their thoughts, feelings and information in a form that can be understood by any other child anywhere in the world without the need for adult intervention.

For additional information about “IMAGINE” or Others Are Us, please contact
Annette Swierzbinski or visit OAU’s website, www.OthersAreUs.org. For more information about International Education Week visit www.IEW.state.gov. For information about Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service, please visit www.fordham.edu/gss.

Others Are Us
Annette Swierzbinski