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This is the introduction I gave during the European Foundation Centre meeting in Belfast at the invitation of the French American Charitable Trust.

I’m here to say hello; tell you a little about Global Arts Corps (GAC); stick around to answer your questions; and, ultimately, to introduce my boss and GAC’s founder, Michael Lessac.  I’ve said ‘hello’, but before I tell you about GAC, I’d like to tell you what I do and say ‘thanks’ to you for your important work.  I’m an administrator (arts or public).  I prefer the french term porteur du projet, however.  I know the issue (or area) that I’ll work on for the rest of my life… and that role is to uplift the voice; legitimize the processes; and basically champion the work (and approach) of artists whose courage, creativity, community-mindedness, and intuitive strategy are an exponentially powerful ingredient in societal change … it’s been that way all through time/history … and, is a quite different force/power than are the (also) needed ranks of professional activists … it’s something that happens whether or not there is a grant and payroll or even an organization to assert itself and receive credit in retrospect.  This is the work I do!

Back 10 years ago when I had a simple idea for a ‘system changer’, I couldn’t get the attention of the larger, brand name foundations … couldn’t even get through their doors.  [Here comes the ‘thank you’]  A small family foundation called the Breuninger Stiftung in Stuttgart caught wind of the idea I had; pursued me; and helped me develop a scrappy idea into something that other foundations could feel comfortable supporting. They fund that project until now … the project helps artists who get into danger for using their creativity to fight injustice.  Fast forward and I’m here today working with the Global Arts Corps … GAC is someone else’s idea (the idea of Michael Lessac) who’s going to talk to you about his idea up next … as an administrator, I get to continue on an arc of supporting individual and collective (ensembles of) artists.  GAC works in S. Africa, Cambodia, the Balkans, Northern Ireland, and (soon to be in) Turkey/Armenia.  Michael Lessac deeply, deeply believes – I’d say he’s even drunk on the idea – that all good theatre requires reconciliation.  That means that when he works with communities emerging from conflict, his first goal is to build something with them collectively … something strong, bold and beautifully wrought.  It’s an honor to introduce Michael …

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