Mogadishu Peace Festival

November 6th, 2014 - Artists, musicians, local officials and invited guests gathered in Mogadishu for a first festival in the city to promote the use of culture especially art, music and theatre as a means to promote peace, social cohesion and youth activity and employment. IREX Europe, IREX, Kow Media and CISP jointly held the event for invited guests to highlight the importance of culture in development and to promote future festivals which as Mogadishu’s security continues to improve, will hopefully be more open and larger.

A local dance troupe from an IDP camp in Mogadishu opened the event, which was generously supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the European Union, IREX, IREX Europe and Kow Media. The event follows on from September’s Hargeisa festival, where IREX Europe and Kow Media ran their 2nd Art for Peace Festival. At the Mogadishu event, we showed a film with highlights of the Hargeisa festival and displayed art from the winning entries. The hope is that future Mogadishu events can include open competitions for the community and in particular Somalia’s youth, including a film, photo and art categories.

At the event opening in Mogadishu, Chiara Camozzi, CISP’s Cultural Heritage Programme Director explained the importance of their EU funded project to build a cultural centre in Mogadishu.

Zeinab Hassan, Director of the National Library Restoration project talked of the need for culture to help strengthen Somali society and build a better and more stable future.

Local artists made “live” paintings during the event to demonstrate the richness of Somali’s artistic and cultural talent and also to highlight the possibilities of art in job creation as Mogadishu continues to rebuild and grow into a more stable, prosperous city, and as Somalis rediscover their rich cultural heritage.

To see more photos, please visit the Festival’s Facebook page

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Local dance troupe from an IDP camp in Mogadishu celebrating Somali cultural heritage at the festival
IREX Europe Director telling the audience about the 2nd Art for Peace festival, held in Hargeisa in September 2014
The festival included live art by Mogadishu artists

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