Youth Empowerment with Breaking Walls 2018 Santiago

N ew York, N.Y. Breaking Walls, a U.S.-based non-profit, uses creative writing and theatrical performance to build global peace and acceptance. Young people from all over our world, representing many cultures, religions, socio-economic conditions, sexual orientations, educational levels and status as immigrants and refugees, discover their voice to act as peacemakers and leaders. Breaking Walls youth activism guides young people in creating an alternative community; modeling an inclusive and peaceful cohabitation and social interaction built on the arts, understanding and acceptance.


Young people struggle with social unrest, intolerance, peer pressure and life in the real and “virtual world.” Breaking Walls began with youth in Brooklyn who experience these issues each day. They then went to initiatives in Bethlehem, Berlin, Cape Town, Barcelona, Detroit and Warsaw to evolve from a homegrown Brooklyn solution for issues facing youth everywhere to a cohesive youth empowerment movement.

To ensure that Breaking Walls creates a sustainable collaboration, we offer three levels of involvement for youth: artists, 13 to 20, write and perform their original work for a live audience; ambassadors, 17 to 21, former artists who mentor the writing/performing process; and, associates, 22 to 25, participants from past Breaking Walls initiatives who have become prominent leaders in their home communities. Each young person returns to their home community after our intensive 14-day writing, performing, ensemble and peace building experience having explored their imagination; and, embraced their creativity. Ready, in the areas of compassion, collaboration, accountability, and commitment to nurture a world in which they can all trust one another.

Breaking Walls 2018 Santiago – the seventh annual global Breaking Walls Boot Camp will consist of community-building, creative writing, creation of a theater piece, peace maker training, and a culminating performance for a live audience, plus the opportunity to share face-to-face dialogue and life experiences as an ensemble. The 32 artists, seven ambassadors and four associates from Amman, Barcelona, Berlin, Bethlehem, Brooklyn, Cape Town, Detroit, Warsaw and Santiago will come together for 14-days to write about issues of self awareness, the thirst for truth, and how to shape an accepting, peaceful world. Additionally, our artists, ambassadors and associates will contribute one full day of community service.

Breaking Walls 2018 Santiago will be supported in part by the Peace Development Foundation, The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation, and Youth for Global Health. They are partnering with Rainbow Dreams Trust, Youth for Global Health, and the Pulitzer Center who possess great synergy with Breaking Walls’ holistic, multi-cultural, value-based vision. Breaking Walls 2018 is currently interviewing youth partnerships in Santiago whose students will apply to be the eight Breaking Walls 2018 Santiago artists.

The signature Breaking Walls Boot Camp program contains three distinct components: “Pen-to-Page-to-Stage”, peace maker training, and the opportunity to share life experiences as an ensemble. These components will culminate in a live theatrical performance for members of the Santiago community. Breaking Wall’s innovative approach to educational collaboration, community-building and social justice implements the team leader, peer-to-peer, and individual learning methodology. Team leaders guide the overall process; artists and ambassadors engage in vigorous peer-to-peer collaboration through creative writing, rehearsal, performance, and community-building; and, associates plan and implement the peacemaking experiences. Breaking Wall’s collaborative process is a true model for art and peace education, global citizenship and youth empowerment.

After each workshop day, their artists, ambassadors and associates will explore Santiago together. Currently they have scheduled a Walking-Tour of the Barrio Bellavista, cultural and bohemian neighborhood, a trip to Fantasilandia Amusement Park, and participation in a “Cooking in Chile” Cooking Class!

Breaking Walls is keenly aware that each community they collaborate with offers unique opportunities beyond the creative writing, performance and peacebuilding workshop. Building awareness of how differently Cape Town or Barcelona or Detroit work compared to our individual home communities is eye-opening and empowering for our artists and ambassadors. This is another reason we are so excited about Santiago with its political and environmental struggles. Breaking Walls expects the 2018 Santiago artists to join their global peers to lead a future shaping of their communities and the larger world as their international counterparts are doing now.

Article and photos provided by Ms. Fran Tarr, Director Breaking Walls .

Chloe Hoang
A recent Honors graduate of The College of Wooster with a major in Communication Studies, Chloe is from Hanoi, Vietnam. She serves as the Executive Director at The J. Luce Foundation, managing leadership training and development programs for Young Global Leaders age 18-24. Recently, Chloe receives a full-tuition fellowship for her Master of International Affairs in International Non-Governmental Organization at Baruch College.

Comments are closed.