Every year, the Winnipeg International Storytelling Festival features storytellers from Winnipeg and Manitoba, from across the country and around the world. These storytellers are prominent in both the School Program and in the Public Program. The Public Program provides opportunities for all to participate in the Storytelling Festival through their attendance at these unique events. All events in the Public Program are free and open to all.
Founder and Executive Director, Refugee Dream Centre (Providence, RI)
Winner of the 2016 John F. Kiffney Public Service Award from the Providence Newspaper Guild; and recipient of ‘One of Rhode Islanders of the Year 2015’ award from Rhode Island Monthly Magazine, Omar Bah is the Founder & Executive Director of the Refugee Dream Center, Inc.
He is a torture survivor, former journalist and refugee from The Gambia in West Africa. Bah is also the author of the book, Africa’s Hell on Earth: The Ordeal of an African Journalist. Currently, he represents the state of Rhode Island at the Refugee Congress of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Washington, DC. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with a minor in political science from the University of Rhode Island; master’s degree in Public Administration from Roger Williams University, Master’s in Counseling Psychology in Global Mental Health, and currently a doctoral student in Leadership Psychology at William James College.
Bah has completed trauma treatment certification at the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, and does trauma based therapy. He has offered dozens of motivational speeches and training seminars; and workshops on refugee, trauma, and international issues at various conferences, universities and public fora.
Omar is immensely thankful to the United States for giving him a chance for a second life. He has now dedicated his life to supporting refugees who have passed through the same journey as him. Omar is fascinated by the cosmos and likes watching films about space and nature, and listening to ethnic Fula single string violin known as N’geeroru.
Noa Baum is an award-winning storyteller and author who presents internationally. She works with diverse audiences ranging from The World Bank and prestigious universities to inner city schools and detention centers.
Born and raised in Israel, she was an actress at Jerusalem Khan Theater, studied with Uta Hagen in NYC and holds an M.A. from NYU. Noa offers a unique combination of performance art and practical workshops that focus on the power of narrative to heal across the divides of identity. In a world where peace is a challenge in the schoolyard and beyond, Noa’s work builds bridges of understanding and compassion.
Noa’s book, A Land Twice Promised – An Israeli Woman’s Quest for Peace, – a winner of the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award – is an introspective memoir that mines the depths of the chasm between the Israeli and Palestinian experiences, the torment of family loss and conflict, and the therapy of storytelling as a cleansing art. With her storytelling background, Noa captures the drama of a nation at war and her own discovery of humanity in the enemy.
Noa performs and teaches internationally, highlights include: The World Bank; The Mayo Clinic for Humanities in Medicine; US Defense Department; The Kennedy Center; The National Storytelling Festival; Hebrew University in Jerusalem; AARP; US Securities and Exchange Commission; Fabula Festival, Sweden; Limmud UK; Jewish Theological Seminary, NYC; George Washington University Law School, DC; Brandies and Stanford Universities. Noa’s stories were featured on Public Radio International and she is a winner of a Parents’ Choice Recommended Award, a Storytelling World Award as well as recipient of numerous Individual Artist Awards from Maryland State Arts Council and Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County.
Noa lives in the US since 1990.
Arif Choudhury tells stories of growing up in a Bangladeshi-Muslim family in Chicago. He performs "More in Common than You Think," a program of stories; has recorded "Where Are You From? And Other Difficult Questions," and has written a children’s book entitled "The Only Brown-Skinned Boy in the Neighborhood." He is currently promoting "Coloring," a short film.
Jewish storyteller Noa Baum and Muslim storyteller Arif Choudhury offer a dynamic interfaith program of stories to bridge differences and foster connections.
* An asterisk indicates that the teller has told at the Festival since it began in 2006.
Muuxi Adam* (Winnipeg) arrived in Winnipeg in 2004 at age 16, after escaping war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia. He is a co-founder of Humankind International, which built Humankind Academy in the Dedaab Refugee Camps, in Kenya. He works with the newcomer Programs at the Aurora Family Therapy Centre. He serves on the Manitoba Ethnocultural Advisory and Advocacy Council.
Bonface Beti (Kenya) is a storyteller and peace-builder who has drawn on the power of storytelling and theatre to work with communities in conflict at the grassroots levelm to break the cycle of violence and find alternatives. He has participated in human rights theatre in Sierra Leone, Kenya, and in the Kakuma Refugee Camp on Kenya’s border with Sudan.
David Burke* (Winnipeg) has a life-long love of stories, and is an award-winning storyteller, and taught American Sign Language for more than 20 years. He is involved in many Deaf organizations and in yearly drama productions during Deaf Awareness Week. He attended the Saskatchewan School for the Deaf and the Manitoba School for the Deaf.
Wayne Drury* (Winnipeg) began telling stories about his daughter’s imaginary friend about 30 years ago. Since then, he has performed at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, the Sundog Storytelling Festival, and in schools throughout Winnipeg. He is a founding member of Stone Soup Storytellers. He has told stories at the Festival since it began.
Nereo Eugenio* (Winnipeg) is a Spoken Word and Hip Hop artist and a painter. He has performed at events like the Scribble Jam Hip Hop Festival, the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. In May 2008, he won the Winnipeg CBC Poetry Face Off. He works for Graffiti Art Programming, and runs a hip hop studio workshop for youth in in Point Douglas.
Kate Ferris* (Winnipeg) is a storyteller, songwriter, actor, and music educator. She has toured Canada and the U.S. with numerous groups, including the Canadian Content Theatre Co., The Blarney Band, The Critter Family, and The Rodeo Riders. Kate brings her stories and songs to life for audiences coast to coast, often adding guitar, banjo, accordion, keyboards, and more.
Peter Genger (Nigeria) learned a repertoire of folktales and personal stories from his father, a great storyteller, who regaled family and friends with stories of local history and traditional wisdom. Peter is a doctoral student in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manitoba where he is studying the role of African indigenous peacemaking practices for conflict resolution in Africa.
hannah_g (Winnipeg) is a storyteller, writer, and inter-disciplinary artist who has exhibited, performed, and given readings throughout Canada, and in Austria, Belgium, England, Romania. She is a co-director of Ace Art in Winnipeg. She is the founder and director of Tanaby Press and DJs under the moniker MonkeySparrow for events such as the Intrepid Portfolio and Peg-Gaylicious.
Leigh-Anne Kehler* (Winnipeg) tells both traditional folklore and stories of growing up on a lively farm in Southern Manitoba. She has performed at the Canadian Children’s Festival, the Yukon Storytelling Festival, the Sundog Storytelling Festival. She has told stories and conducted workhops in schools and libraries across North America, Asia, and Scandinavia.
Joe McLellan* (Winnipeg) is a Métis storyteller, writer, and educator. He wrote the acclaimed Nanabosho Series based on Ojibwe legends, in order to make Aboriginal stories and storybooks available for Aboriginal children. He has appeared on Sesame Street. He leads workshops for educators and other groups on themes of peace education, Aboriginal education, and storytelling.
Sue Proctor* (Winnipeg) has studied pantomime, corporeal mime, and commedia dell’arte. She has performed and taught at many schools, festivals, and special events, including the Yukon International Storytelling Festival. She recently earned a master’s at Concordia University where she did her thesis on the role of the clown for individual and social transformation.
Kent Suss* (Winnipeg) is a storyteller, actor, director, playwright, and puppet artist. He directs the Theatre School at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People. He wrote, directed, and designed Talking to Strangers, a puppet show for adults about homelessness. He toured Manitoba schools playing the role of Gus in Recycle This! A play about recycling for Green Kids Inc.
The Annual Dr. Philip Weiss Award - Storytelling for Peace and Human Rights Dinner is a presentation of the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at St. Paul’s College. The award is named after Dr. Philip Weiss (1922–2008).
Dr. Weiss was an untiring human rights educator and author of Humanity in Doubt (2006). Over two decades, he shared his compelling personal story as a survivor of the Holocaust to tens of thousands of young people.
The Dr. Philip Weiss Award acknowledges the courage of a witness to genocide in telling their story in furtherance of peace, justice, reconciliation, and healing. The award recognizes the importance of storytelling in the pursuit of peace and human rights.