Clowns Without Borders International (CWBI) Convenes!
On May 23 to 26, 2016 the annual General Assembly for Clowns Without Borders International (CWBI) convenes in Ireland, outside Dublin at the Peace and Reconciliation Center. Representatives from each of the twelve chapters will come together during this exciting time. CWB-USA representatives are Sarah Liane Foster, International Representative, and Molly Rose Levine, Executive Director.
While the annual meeting is an opportunity to connect professionally and make important plans for our future collaboration, it is also a family reunion of sorts. Artists and long standing members of Clowns Without Borders from across Europe and beyond pour in, and it’s a joyful event where the diverse, eccentric, charismatic group spill out of kitchens and gathers in giant round table discussions.
The fact that we’re all a bunch of clowns infuses our formal gathering with endless joy, and it is in this meeting that we see how much the value of laughter and positivity enhances any circumstance. Relationships are formed and ideas are given room to flourish. Past failures are celebrated and learned from for future success. Creativity and the shared values of love, laughter and service, adds a level of bonding and closeness that is rarely seen at professional events. A magic trick here, a cookie offered there, a song of peace shared over dinner. The clown world is inherently one of magic and joy.
Forging New Partnerships
CWBI was formed 5 years ago to help coordinate efforts among the chapters. CWBI establishes partnerships and support systems that will get more artists where they need to be – bringing laughter and joy to communities in crisis.
CWBI entered into a successful partnership with PLAN International in 2015. PLAN wrote to CWBI in late October, proposing a project in Myanmar in areas where CWB-Sweden had recently performed. The new CWBI-PLAN International project focused on training youth facilitators in facilitation skills and creative arts, for their work with other children and adolescents. CWB-South Africa and CWB-Ireland traveled to Myanmar in early February 2016.
The clowns held workshops in psychosocial first aid training for PLAN Myanmar staff who work in Child Protection, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Education in Emergency. With their training complete, PLAN Myanmar staff worked with children in the Rohingya camp outside Sittwe. CWB South Africa called their efforts with PLAN Myanmar, “A psychosocial first aid kit full of creative and playful remedies. A toolbox full of child-friendly tools. A pot of soup made up of different ingredients for a child’s mental, emotional and physical health.”
CWBI representatives will explore other meaningful projects like PLAN Myanmar, during the 2016 General Assembly. They will refine governance and take care of housekeeping items. One of the most exciting goals of the meetup is to provide mentorship for Brazil and Australia – the next two countries applying for chapter membership.
For more information about CWBI, please visit: http://www.cwb-international.org