05.04.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

Twenty young artists recognized for promoting dialogue between Arab and Western countries

Twenty artists aged under 35 will be awarded the title of “Young Artist for Intercultural Dialogue between Arab and Western Worlds” by UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, at a ceremony to be held at the Organization’s headquarters on 13 April (6.30 pm, 7th floor).

This honour is in recognition of the exceptional contribution made by these young artists – through the media of music, dance, writing, theatre, cinema and photography – to dialogue and exchange between Arab and Western cultures. The aim is to enable their work to be more widely appreciated and to encourage other young people to adopt a similar approach. The initiative is part of a series of projects set up by UNESCO and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and financed by Spain.

  The young artists to receive the award are:

1. Ruti Sela and Mayaan Amir (Israel), artists and curators, designed the ‘Exterritory’ project as a way to bring together artists and intellectuals living in conflict zones.

2. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Belgium/Morocco), dancer and choreographer, has produced performances that illustrate the meeting of cultures and explorations of identity.  

3. Federico Ferrone (Italy), filmmaker, has produced several films on immigration, suburbs and the contribution of immigrant communities to a country’s culture.  

4. Faïza Guène (France/Algeria), novelist, whose highly acclaimed writings portray reality for those of North African descent living in French suburbs, and counter clichés and prejudice.  

5. JR (France), photographer, is behind the ‘Face2Face’ project, which consists of posting photographs of Israelis and Palestinians on both sides of the Wall.  

6. Ibrahim Maalouf (Lebanon), trumpeter, mixes Western and Eastern musical styles and works with artists from all over the world.    

7. ‘Massar Egbari’ (Egypt), musicians, launched the ‘Music as a means of intercultural dialogue’ project, inviting Western artists to share the stage in concerts.   

8. Betty Shamieh (USA/ Palestinian Territories), playwright, has written plays that highlight intercultural relations, especially between Arabs and Americans. 

9. Zuhal Sultan (Iraq), pianist, who, at the age of 17, founded the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, which works with several Western artists.  

10. The ‘Talent 2008’ project brings together nine young musicians playing traditional European and Arab music (Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Norway).

11. Merlijn Twaalfhoven (Netherlands), composer and musician, has started some exceptional projects in Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Syria and the Netherlands, using music to create links and thus serving as a symbol of peace.


Journalists wishing to cover this event require accreditation from the media relations section. Contact: Isabelle Le Fournis. Tel : + 33 (0) 14568 1748. i.le-fournis(at)unesco.org


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