Toward Social Inclusion

There is an amazing (and very young) organization participating in the 15th Anti-racist Festival (more on this below) in Athens this weekend:  the Living Library.  This not-so-traditional library in Athens was started by a group of volunteers about nine months ago to raise awareness on human rights and social discrimination issues through dialogue.  Volunteers serve as living books by sitting down to have a conversation and share their story with visitors. Living Library will even have live dictionaries (interpreters) at the festival, to translate to/from Farsi, Dari and English.  The Athens Living Library is based on the Human Library, which began in Denmark in 2000 and by 2008 spread to 27 countries.  According to their website, the Athens team first encountered the idea through the Living Library Turkey team.

Their invitation: “Ελάτε να διαβάσετε εκείνες τις ιστορίες που σας προκαλούν, σας δυσκολεύουν, σας ιντριγκάρουν. Ελάτε εκεί που οι ιστορίες ζωντανεύουν.”  Check out their video:

The 15th Anti-racist Festival will take place July 9 – 11.  Each year, between 15,000 and 20,000 people attend to enjoy music, dance and theatrical performances from different ethnic cultural groups, photo exhibitions, video screenings and films, and of course – food.  The festival also hosts discussions on a range of topics related to racism and inequality, from the global crisis, to the violence of extreme right elements, to the relationship between racism and sports.

In addition to representatives from various local organizations, this year’s discussions will include some notable international guests:
Palestinian human rights activist Jamal Juma
Jorge Bermudez, supervisor of the Argentine worker-controlled factory FaSinPat
Filipino intellectual, activist and co-founder of Focus on the Global South, Walden Bello

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One Response to Toward Social Inclusion

  1. JoAnn Bouikidis says:

    This is such a cool idea! I heard of this group very recently when I was invited to join their Facebook group. I was not, however, aware that Athens held an annual Anti-racist Festival. This is a great post topic, can’t wait to find out more about it.

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