Celebrities, students to celebrate regional debut of ‘Women, War & Peace’Appearances by Academy Award winner Geena Davis and documentary filmmaker Abigail Disney, as well as a “Day of Service,” will mark the Southern California debut of “Women, War & Peace,” a bold, five-part PBS television series challenging the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men’s domain. PBS SoCal, the Center for Living Peace and UC Irvine are co-sponsoring the events as part of the ongoing Living Peace Series.
9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Local youth ages 11 to 24 will participate in “Day of Service” conference sessions about women around the world who are living through war, shaping democracy and building peace. Olympic athlete and pro tennis player Maja Muric will talk about growing up in Yugoslavia – during the war – with Croatian and Bosnian parents. Attendees will learn how to use media tools to share their own stories; research and discuss the impact of women in government; meet a family displaced by conflict in their homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo; and bring towel or sheet sets for a local women’s shelter and school supplies for Bosnian orphans. A presentation by UCI’s Center for Unconventional Security Affairs will translate discussion topics into improvisational dance.
12:30-1 p.m.: Lunch will be provided by Veggie Grill.
1-3 p.m. There will be a screening of Abigail Disney’s documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” about how Liberian women took on the brutal regime of warlord and dictator Charles Taylor, forced his exile and set the stage for the rise of Africa’s first female head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
|Date:||Saturday, Oct. 8|
|Time:||9 a.m.-3 p.m.|
|Location:||Center for Living Peace, 4139 Campus Dr., Irvine, 92612|
|Supplemental Information:||Space is limited for “Day of Service” events. Reservations can be made through Wednesday, Sept. 28, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-854-5500. Media planning to attend should contact Cathy Lawhon at 949-824-1151 or email@example.com. Attendance and parking are complimentary for media.|
|Event:||Geena Davis and Abigail Disney will be available for interview from 7 -7:45 p.m. prior to the "Women, War & Peace" program. After a welcome by UCI Chancellor Michael Drake, Kelly Smith, founder of the Center for Living Peace, will moderate a panel featuring Davis, Disney and UCI associate professor of anthropology Roxanne Varzi discussing the making of “Women, War & Peace,” set to begin airing at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, on PBS SoCal (formerly KOCE-TV).|
|Date:||Thursday, Oct. 13|
|Location:||Pacific Ballroom, UCI Student Center (bldg. 113, grid E8 on campus map)|
Tickets for the “Women, War & Peace” panel discussion are $8 for the public and free for UCI students, faculty, staff and “Day of Service” participants. Reservations can be made at the Living Peace Series site. Parking is $10 at the Student Center Parking Structure (grid D9 on campus map).
The vast majority of today’s global conflicts are fought by gangs, insurgent groups and warlords using small arms and improvised weapons. “Women, War & Peace” reveals how this post-Cold War proliferation of small arms has changed the landscape of war, with women becoming primary targets and simultaneously emerging as peace brokers. The series spotlights stories in conflict zones from Bosnia to Afghanistan and from Colombia to Liberia, placing women at the center of dialogue about security and modern warfare.
Abigail Disney is executive producer of “Women, War & Peace,” which includes her documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” The filmmaker, philanthropist, businesswoman and community activist has supported women’s leadership and rights in diverse international issues and speaks globally on women’s political and economic empowerment. She founded the Daphne Foundation, which makes grants to grassroots organizations working with low-income communities in New York City, and serves on the boards of the White House Project, the Global Fund for Women, and the Fund for the City of New York, as well as on advisory panels for the Association to Benefit Children and the HIV Law Project.
Geena Davis is a narrator for the “Women, War & Peace” series, which dovetails with her interest in women’s issues. She founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which – along with its programming arm, See Jane – is at the forefront of changing gender stereotypes in children’s entertainment and media. Davis also has been a spokesperson for Women & Girls Lead, an innovative public media initiative designed to focus, educate and connect women, girls and their allies around the globe to address the challenges of the 21st century.
Roxanne Varzi, UCI associate professor of anthropology and film & media studies, was born in Iran and moved to the U.S. as a child. Her first documentary, “Plastic Flowers Never Die,” was shot entirely in Iran, screened at the Boston Film Festival and picked up for distribution by Documentary Educational Resources. Varzi wrote, edited and selected music for the film, which deals with the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq War, an eight-year conflict that killed more than a million people. She also is the author of “Warring Souls,” an eloquent account of the beliefs and experiences of young, middle-class, urban Iranians.
Kelly Smith, a Newport Beach philanthropist, founded Orange County’s Center for Living Peace on the belief that “good happens.” It’s a place where children, families and adults of all ages can connect to their spirit, others and the world in order to make a difference.