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Pangea Day!

Henriette von Kaltenborn-Stachau's picture

This group of Kenyans singing the Indian anthem is part of Pangea Day. In 2006, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim won the annual TED award. A self-described American-Lebanese/Egyptian/Syrian, Jehane has become known for her documentary “Control Room,” an insightful view at the relationship between Al Jazeera and the US Central Command, as well as the other news organizations that covered the Second Iraq War. The TED prize granted $100,000 and a wish to change the world. Her wish was to create a day in which the world came together through film. Pangea Day grew out of that wish (click here for her acceptance speech).

The Pangea Day will take place on 10 May. It is a global event that seeks to build bridges of interpersonal and intercultural understanding through the power of film.

 On 10 May 2008, locations in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will be linked via satellite for a live program of films, live music, and speakers. The entire program will be broadcast in seven languages through the internet, television, and mobile phones. The 24 short films chosen have the ability to inspire, transform, and allow us see the world through another person's eyes. Through the live program, the Pangea Day web site, and self-organized local events, everyday people will be connected with extraordinary activists and organizations.

Having worked for the last decade in international diplomacy I believe in the importance of political negotiations and agreements. It is a field of work I truly enjoy. I am also aware of its limitations. Diplomatic negotiations and agreements are reduced to the political realm. The politics of fear which have become dominant in the country of my current residence, as well as in many other places around the world, necessitate more than ever initiatives that focus on the socio-cultural realm and build bridges between people and cultures. Communication in general is a powerful tool to create a common human understanding and transcend the politics of fear and cultural divide. Movies, as other images, are particularly powerful in their appeal to our emotional as well as our cognitive system. The Pangea Day website promotes “Movies alone can't change the world. But the people who watch them can.” I agree.

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