In the middle of November 2022, we (the ASSITEJ EC) traveled to Jordan to have an Executive Committee Meeting and participate in a regional workshop of the Babel project. It was the very first EC Meeting in recent years to be held in the Middle East, and personally this was also my first visit to that part of the world. During our time there, we met many established and emerging TYA artists and practitioners in the region, and realised that there are a lot of hardworking TYA artists and ardent advocates for the arts in schools, in spite of relatively difficult circumstances like the lack of public funding. We were all deeply impressed by their confidence in their cultural traditions and their positive and active ways of tackling their situations.
There may be a lot of artists and practitioners all over the world who are full of eagerness for TYA, but are invisible on an international level. I experienced the same thing when I visited Uzbekistan for the ASSITEJ Asia meeting in 2019 and encountered artists from Central Asian countries. I think it might also be similar in Africa, Central and South America, and Southeast and South Asia. There may be different cultures and point of views, but plenty of unknown thrilling stories and vast intangible resources for the arts.
One of our current missions is that we should shed a strong light on these artists and practitioners and connect them to the global community and vice versa. I believe this would benefit both sides and eventually enrich the arts and TYA of the world.
I also personally hope to focus more on these regions this coming year and have asked the organisers of the ASSITEJ Korea Summer Festival to host as many productions from these regions as possible. I am already excited to meet African artists in South Africa at an EC meeting in August this year.
One more thing, I’ve started to take an online Spanish language class. You may all know the reason why!