We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
The following is a guest blog by Peace X Peace, an international organization that connects women working on the frontlines of peace building in 120 countries. www.peacexpeace.org.
Laura Boushnak is a photographer, a third generation Palestinian refugee, and an activist. Now she’s also our 2011 Peace Media honoree. She draws on her background and life experiences to create photography that uncovers issues and subjects most often overlooked.
Though she started out as a sociology student working for the Associated Press and then Agence France-Press, she now pursues freelance work and long-form photo projects full time. What is she working on now? Not just one project! She has three in the works, collections of images ranging from cluster bomb survivors in Lebanon to Arab women’s literacy projects and the LGBT community in Beirut. She covers the Arab world from multiple angles, finding lenses (both figuratively and literally) through which to reflect a region of the world that is so often distorted in the mainstream media.
Laura reports that she chooses her projects based on her personal experience, which alerts her to social issues that deserve attention. She explains, “…in general there has to be a personal side to any of the stories I work on. For example, I started my project about cluster sub-munitions survivors a few months following the end of the 2006 Hezbollah-Israeli war, where I actually covered the whole event. I was taken by the fact that cluster munitions left behind after conflicts kill and injure civilians who are already trying to rebuild their lives after war.”
Some may scoff at the idea that photography can build peace. But Laura (and Peace X Peace) contend that the opposite is true. In the case of her literacy project, she “…wanted to show what is being done about women’s education and raise questions over the obstacles which stand in the way of their development.” The images of situations or events that are captured and disseminated can shape our understanding of those situations. Laura helps to build peace by shifting perceptions of conflict and possibilities for peace in Lebanon, Egypt, and other countries around the Middle East.
Peace X Peace Celebrates its 2011 Women, Power, and Peace Awards
Join Peace X Peace, an international organization that connects women working on the frontlines of peacebuilding in 120 countries, at their 2011 Women, Power, and Peace Awards event, which will be held on Monday, December 5th, at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington DC. This gala evening honors six extraordinary award winners, a catered reception, fine wines, live music, an inspiring theatrical piece by Woolly Mammoth actors enacting voices of women change agents, and a 10-minute Catalyst video of Israeli and Palestinian women working for peace. Each attendee will also receive a complimentary copy of Patricia Smith Melton’s remarkable coffee table book, Sixty Years, Sixty Voices, valued at over $50.