Storytelling festival features Holocaust survivor, school programs

May 6th, 2013 · No Comments · Aboriginal, Education, Fine Art, History, Indigenous, Media, Music, News Release, Outreach, Peace and Justice

The 8th annual Winnipeg International Storytelling Festival is this week, from Monday, May 6 through Saturday, May 11, 2013. It’s the only festival of its kind in the world: an annual free cultural event dedicated to storytelling for the advocacy and support of peace.

“Enthusiasm for the Festival continues to grow,” says Jessica Senehi, festival director and associate director of the Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice. “This year, our French Program includes 3,750 seats for French-language students in addition to public events.”

At the Festival this year, the Dr. Philip Weiss Award for Storytelling for Peace and Human Rights will be given to Holocaust survivor Dr. Sidney Finkel, who tells the story of his childhood vividly and honestly. History, courage, luck and foolhardiness took Finkel on a journey from Poland in 1939 at the age of seven to Buchenwald, Germany; Thereseinstadt, Czechoslovakia; and finally, as a teenager, to Windmere, England, in 1945. The author of Sevek and the Holocaust: The Boy Who Refused to Die, Finkel did not speak about his experiences until 1993 when he visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial in Washington, DC. Since beginning that journey, he has spoken in hundreds of schools in the United States.

The 2013 Festival also includes a special focus on puppets, featuring amazing puppet artists Doug Berky and Hobey Ford. The public program on Saturday has expanded to include more tellers and presentations, including a Theatre for Living workshop that will show theatre approaches as tools for problem-solving and peacemaking.

Featured tellers this year include:

Roberta Kennedy, a traditional Haida storyteller, drummer and Dene teacher of the Dogrib language to primary school students. She tells stories for children and adults at festivals, schools, universities, conferences, workshops and on TV and radio.

Christine Spink-Mitchell, who uses her love of her language, American Sign Language, to take us by the hand and sit with us down in her world. Teachers, parents, interpreters, and both Deaf and hearing children and adults will be drawn by her stories and her experience;

Paul Taylor, a troubador with a didjeridoo who seeks to build bridges of cultural understanding. He is mentored by Yidumduma Bill Harney, custodian of the Wardaman culture in Australia’s Northern Territory, and is honored with the Wardaman name “Jalala.”

The Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice is based in St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba. It offers the only PhD program in Peace and Justice in Canada, attracting students from around the world.

For more information, including a detailed festival program, please see

Or contact Jessica Senehi at: 204-474-7978 or email:

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