Monday, 23 November 2009

Mekong artists gather in Cambodia to celebrate regional arts festival


(CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Some 200 delegates from the arts and media circle in the Mekong sub-region gathered on Monday here in the Cambodian capital to celebrate the vibrant culture and tradition along the Mekong River.

In the course of five days, artists from Cambodia, China, Laos,Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam will demonstrate through workshops, performances, forum, conference, film shows, vitual arts and their understanding of life in the era of globalization and economic integration.

Vietnam Youth Theater, Thailand's Wandering Moon, Crescent Moon and Khanda Arts, Myanmar's Mandalay Marionettes Troupe, Laos'Kabong Lao, China's Nengguan Performing Arts & Training Center, and the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) will be joined by artists from the Philippines, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia, to give their creative take on the challenging realities in the region.

"The Mekong Arts and Media Festival 2009 is a unique and important occasion as there are opportunities to provide meaningful exchanges among Mekong artists and advocates from various countries. It is a convergence of people, cultures and visions for a better society," said Lea Espallardo, festival co-director in her opening speech.

According to Espallardo, this convergence allows people to reach out to one another and share a deeper understanding of the various challenges they confront and on how to harness arts and creativity to effect change.

One of the highlights of the festival, which has a theme of "Weaving Cultures, Weaving Visions", will be a Children and Youth Bloc running in parallel to the main festival to present children's own stories and aspirations. The Bloc, designed with the help of Save the Children UK, and international charity for children, and PETA's own children and youth programs, is aimed to provide children and young people with participation opportunities and get their voices heard.

The region along Mekong River, which has its origin from China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, has become a dynamic area in Asia, with an increasing number of people migrating every year across borders as a result of convenient intra-country transport. Regional trade and economic cooperation is also on the rise as a result of globalization.

In recognition of the role of arts and creative media in development efforts, the Philippine Educational Theater Association's Mekong Partnership Project, Phare Ponleu Selpak, Save the Children UK's Cross Border Project, and the Center for Community Health Research & Development join hands in organizing the festival, drawing the creative talents in the Mekong region to work for advocacy and social transformation.

The festival is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, European Union, Japan Foundation, Heinrich Boell Foundation-Southeast Asia, Terres des Hommes and Ambassade au France de Cambodge.

Editor: Lin Zhi

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