Our work began in 2008 with a partnership and cross-cultural exchange between students of The University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music, Department of Drama and the School of Performing Arts in Hanhongor, Mongolia, facilitated by Julianna Bloodgood and Michael Littig, the co-creators of The Dadaab Theater Project and founding members of the Great Globe Foundation. As an organization, we are interested in the question, “How is our cultural identity expressed through art?”
Out of this question, we created Project Gobi in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati. There, Mongolian and American students shared their cultural legacy of song, dance and poetry through workshops culminating with a performance exchange. Through our interaction and collaboration, we discovered the power and possibility of cross-cultural conversations in the arts, realizing how important it is to come together as a global community with a common goal and purpose in order to share a deep sense of interconnectedness and humanity.
We felt a call to continue our work, investigating ways in which we could connect youth of various cultures through theater. The world is asking something unique of its global citizens and artists: the ability to listen deeply, to have empathy, to articulate change, and to motivate others–the very capacities that the arts cultivate with every encounter.
We knew that in order to enact this call for change, we would need to create sustainable projects in diverse communities in addition to engaging both with youth in the United States and throughout the world. From this viewpoint, we began to see the needs of refugees in camps where agencies can barely sustain food and water supplies, let alone education and activity demand. Refugees who are in dire need for expression. We saw an opening and felt that this is where our work is needed most in the world.
As a result, we began emphasizing outreach projects to African refugees that focus on theater and arts education for youth. Such projects rarely exist in refugee camps and are extremely limited in Africa. With the help of the US Department of State, we began a partnership with Filmaid, UNHCR, and Save the Children, to create the Dadaab Theater Project.
In addition to our domestic projects in Utah and Ohio to worldwide collaborations like the Dadaab Theater Project, The Great Globe Foundation hopes that by utilizing the inherently communicative, collaborative, and expressive nature of theatre and the arts, we are able to facilitate a space where youth around the world may grow, connect, learn, and heal.