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Alden Jacobs

My professional background is in international community development which has taken me to Central America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. What has made the largest impact on me has been the initiatives that incorporate arts-based practices. It is these experiences that have guided me to where I am today and helped shaped my perspective on how to support positive social change. I will give a few examples of work experience that has guided my in-formal education.

First, was working with an organization called Positivo Mozambique which works with youth to discuss challenges such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. The organization uses high-quality music and video production to engage youth both in the learning and activism processes. For me, this was a perspective altering experience that opened up a whole new world of possibility. Another such experience was working with the Home for Cooperation in Nicosia, Cyprus which applied these arts-based techniques to peacebuilding.

This experience helped guide my formal education at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University. My thesis focused on how such activities can impact reconciliation efforts in post-conflict societies. I am very interested in “Art and Citizenship” and “Value of Art in Social Fabric”. I think these are two incredibly important yet undervalued ideas that deserve greater multi-disciplinary attention from both academics and practitioners. I think artistic contributions to culture help define where society gives greater focus and unites citizenry around common ideas. Art is very powerful in creating social change and I am interested in the incorporation of contemporary art into public policy.

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