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Thursday, 17 June 2010 18:32

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Dr. Edna Angelica Calo Livne


During those moments when some of us have despaired of ever seeing peace between Palestinians and Israelis, Dr. Angelica Edna Calo Livne has shone through brightly with a different message, a different voice. Her work is a prayer made real in flesh and blood – and for that reality she was recognized as one of the 1000 women peacemakers nominated for the 2005 Nobel Prize!  Born to a Jewish family in Rome, she has lived on an Israeli Kibbutz in the Galilee since the age of 20.  An accomplished student of arts in education and Italian theater, Angelica watched horrified as relationships between Israelis and Palestinians deteriorated further and violence erupted on all sides during 2000's Second Intifada (Palestinian Uprising). But Angelica refused to accept this reality. She refused to stay silent.

"An educator of peace through art," a believer in the power of theater to change the world, Angelica created the Acrobaleno - Rainbow Theater - with her husband Yehuda. The Acrobaleno theater engages a company of 28 youth - Jewish, Palestinian, Christian, and Druse children living in Israel - in innovative and empowering dialogues that use theater as their centerpiece. These young people work together to tell the story of what it means to be a young person living in a place of war, to hope and dream for something different.

With the students in Acrobaleno, Angelica conceived the widely performed dance piece Beresheet, which means "In the Beginning."  Beresheet explores the horror of war for a young person and subtly offers a way to understand those who are different, and to create a new world through this understanding.  Angelica's Beresheet L'Shalom Foundation ("A Beginning to Peace") continues to work with the students of Acrobaleno and others, some who have been direct victims of the violence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The foundation works to support the work of dialogue between children from very different backgrounds and stories. It gives the children a joy to organize around, something to lift them up and move them forward in the face of the horrors of the conflict that they've seen. Through dance, music, theater, soccer, and radio production, these students move forward together, creating a space where people treat one another with compassion and trust despite their differences.Angelica writes, "understanding and studying the different cultures, the traditions of peoples, the festivals, holidays, customs, prayers, names, proverbs, and lullabies of others, of those who are different from us because of religion or nationality, is one of the most exciting adventures in the world. It is something that has to be taught to your children from a very young age."  And Angelica has done just that.  She has taught this essential lesson to her children and to the children of others. She has created a space where Israeli and Palestinian, Jewish and Christian, and Muslim and Druse can move, dance and speak out together. She continues to show young people that the world can look different, that our differences are beautiful, and that the differences are not so many after all.

Ever an innovative educator, Angelica wrote a book that teachers now use in classrooms to teach tolerance and understanding:  "A Yes, a Beginning, a Hope."  She hopes to one day found a Peace University which welcomes people from all over the world, and she eagerly looks forward to the chance to tell you her story herself, and to hear your stories, too. (--biography by Penina Eilberg-Schwartz)


www. beresheetlashalom.org



Last Updated on Friday, 02 September 2011 12:34