Table of Contents

IMPACT: Imagining Together

The Distinct Power of Arts to Transform Conflict

Strategic Priorities and Plans

Values and Discourse Principles

Learning Exchanges


Multilingual Reports




Get Involved


Upcoming Events:


Read the Overview of the April Virtual Learning Exchange


Listen: Think Tank Discussion on the Emerging ACCT Field
Hosted by the International Teaching Artist Conference (ITAC)


New Report- "Imagine IMPACT: An emerging strategy to strengthen the arts, culture, and conflict transformation ecosystem"

impact report


New Partner: International Community Arts Festival (ICAF)
ICAF logo


Questions or ideas? Please contact IMPACT’s Project Manager Armine Avetisyan:



Executive & Steering Committees

IMPACT’S Steering Committee is guided by the Values and Discourse Principles and is responsible for providing input on key decisions. Committee members participate in monthly virtual meetings, assume leadership for sub-committee work, and facilitate connections across fields of work and geographic regions.

BabuBabu Ayindo (Kenya)

Babu is a storyteller, artist, teacher, facilitator, researcher, and writer with over two decades of experience in the design, implementation and evaluation of peacebuilding processes and programs in different parts of the world. He has taught short courses in arts-based approaches to peace work at peacebuilding institutes in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and North America.

Some of his publications include: co-authoring When You Are the Peacebuilder (published by United States Institute of Peace, 2001); “Arts Approaches to Peace: Playing Our Way to Transcendence” published in Barry Hart (ed) Peacebuilding in Traumatized Societies (University of America Press, Inc., 2008); Mpatanishi: A Handbook for Community Based Mediators (published in 2010 by PeaceNet); and, In Search of Healers (published by the Coalition of Peace in Africa in 2011).

Babu holds a B.Ed from Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya, and MA in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University, USA. In September 2017 he successfully defended his doctoral thesis titled, “Arts, Peacebuilding and Decolonization: A Comparative Study of Parihaka, Mindanao and Nairobi" at the University of Otago (Aotearoa/New Zealand).

cynthia cohen*Cynthia Cohen Ph.D.,IMPACT Project Director and Director of Programs in Peacebuilding and the Arts

Cynthia E. Cohen is Director of the Program in peacebuilding and the Arts at the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life at Brandeis University, and director of IMPACT – Imagining Together: Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation. At Brandeis, she initiated an undergraduate minor in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation. Cindy has written extensively on the aesthetic and ethical dimensions of conflict transformation, including the chapters “Engaging with the Arts to Promote Coexistence” and “Creative Approaches to Reconciliation.” She co-edited and co-authored Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict, a two-volume anthology accompanied by a documentary film and a toolkit of educational and training materials. She holds a PhD in Education from the University of New Hampshire, a Master’s in Urban Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BA in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University.

DijanaDijana Milosevic (Serbia)

Dijana is an award-winning theatre director, writer and lecturer. She co-founded Dah Theatre Research Center in Belgrade, Serbia and has been its leading director for over twenty years.

Dijana has directed theatre shows with her company and toured them nationally and internationally. She has also served as Director of theatre productions around the world. She is a well-known lecturer and writes about theatre for various publications. She currently teaches at the Institute for Modern Dance in Belgrade.

Dijana has served as Artistic Director for many theatre festivals, was the president of the Association of the Independent Theatres, and president of the board of Belgrade International Theatre Festival, and a board member of International Theatre Institute Serbia.

She is involved with several peacebuilding initiatives and collaborates with activist groups.

GermainIngramGermaine Ingram

Germaine Ingram is a jazz tap dancer, choreographer, songwriter, and vocal and dance improviser. She has created choreography for national tap companies, performed as a solo artist, and collaborated and performed with noted jazz composers and instrumentalists, as well as dance artists rooted in diverse genres. Through choreography, music composition, performance, writing, production, oral history projects, and designing and leading artist learning environments, she explores themes related to history, collective memory, and social justice. Her recent projects include an hour-length performance piece for the city of Atlanta, Georgia’s 150-year commemoration of the Battle of Atlanta, a turning point in the Civil War; and an evening-length production of original music and dance for the VivaDanca International Festival in Salvador, Brazil. Currently she is a collaborator in an 18-month, multi-disciplinary exploration of how art addresses incidents of sudden loss of human life. Ingram was a 2010 Pew Foundation Fellow in the Arts, and a 2014 resident fellow at the Sacatar Institute in Itaparica, Bahia, Brazil. She received, among other awards, a Rocky Award (2011) from DanceUSA/Philadelphia and Philadelphia Folklore Project’s Award for Folk Arts & Cultural Heritage Practice (2012). Ingram practiced law for 30 years before becoming a full-time artist. She litigated employment discrimination class action suits that reformed apprenticeship and hiring practices in the heavy construction trades, and challenged policies and practices that limited employment opportunities for women and minorities in the Philadelphia Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police. As General Counsel and Deputy to the Superintendent of the Philadelphia School District, she led multi-pronged litigation against state funding formulae that discriminate against districts with concentrations of poor and minority children, and helped to implement an aggressive education reform agenda. As a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania Law School she founded a clinical program that provided free representation for children and youth. Among her non-profit board commitments are the Leeway Foundation, which funds women and transgender artists, and the Picasso Project, which supports high quality arts education in inner-city public schools. Ingram was the keynote speaker for the Center's 2016 'DEIS Impact festival of social justice.

KatherineKatherine Wood (USA)

Katherine Wood is an independent consultant following a 25-year career in the arts, higher education, and international diplomacy. She has expertise in cultural policy, cultural heritage, and the roles of the arts, media, education, religion, and civil society in conflict and peace. For the past five years, she advised the United States Institute of Peace on grantmaking and on the contributions of the arts and culture to conflict transformation.

Ms. Wood was Chief of the Exchanges Section at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin during the immediate post-Cold War period, where she spearheaded new exchange programs with academic and cultural organizations that were formerly part of communist-controlled East Germany. Subsequently she served as Senior Program Officer in the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, managing a large NGO grants program promoting people-to-people exchanges with Russia, the Caucasus region, and Central Asia. She later served as Chief of the Afghanistan Service for the Voice of America, and Director of International Outreach at National Defense University, with responsibility for global exchange initiatives.

Ms. Wood served as official spokeswoman on the role of the arts in public life and international affairs as Deputy and Acting Director of Communications at the National Endowment for the Arts, and Director of External Relations for the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, a White House advisory group. She also held management positions involving cultural exchanges at the Smithsonian Institution and Georgetown University, and directed international and interfaith programs at Virginia Theological Seminary.

Ms. Wood serves on nonprofit boards including the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women, and is former Vice Chair of the Arlington (Virginia) Commission on the Arts. Originally trained as a classical musician, she has master’s degrees from the Boston University School for the Arts and Harvard Divinity School.

kitche*Kitche Magak PhD (Kenya)

Kitche is an associate professor of literature in the Department of Literary Studies at Maseno University in Kenya and Chair of the Department. Currently, he is teaching postgraduate courses in research methodology, literature, and peacebuilding. He is widely published in multidisciplinary areas including literature, peacebuilding, sociology, public health, gender, community development and environment among others. Kitche has a special interest in the intersection between the arts and social transformation, particularly the film form and social transformation. One of his current research areas is art, resilience, and peacebuilding in post-election violence Kenya. He is also a highly regarded community development communications expert, researcher and trainer.

Lee*Lee Perlman, PhD (Israel / USA)

Lee a research fellow at the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research, Tel Aviv University, where he published his new peace-building performance study, “But Abu Ibrahim, We’re Family!” (2017). The study is a series of case studies, describing collaborations of Jewish and Palestinian professional theater artists in Israel, creating theater about their realities.

Lee is a contributing author to the anthology Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict (New Village Press, 2011), and wrote “Arab-Jewish Youth Encounters: Impact over Time”, (Arab Youth in Israel: Caught between Prospects and Risk, Tel Aviv University, the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation, 2008).

Lee is Board Chair of RECAST, Inc. (Reimagining Art, Conflict and Social Transformation); Chair, artistic committee of the International Spotlight on Israeli Drama Festival; and Chair, board of directors, of the Daniel Centers for Progressive Judaism, Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

In 2013, Ha'aretz named Perlman as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in Israeli Culture." He has previously served as executive director of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and as director of grants and programs of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, an organization promoting shared society and equality.

MadsMadhawa Palihapitiya (Sri Lanka)

Madhawa has over fifteen years of experience in the conflict resolution field as a practitioner and researcher with significant work in the areas of violence prevention, mediation, dispute systems design, organizational development, program evaluation and creative approaches to conflict transformation. As an evaluator, Madhawa’s experience spans over multiple continents and assessments of the impact of peacebuilding work.

He presently heads the research and evaluation unit of the statutory state dispute resolution office in Massachusetts (Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration, MOPC) at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is also adjunct faculty in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies.

Prior to working at MOPC, Madhawa was the Director of Programs at the Foundation for Co-Existence in Sri Lanka where he engaged in high-risk mediation and violence prevention efforts, including co-creating a state-of-the-art conflict early warning and early response system for Sri Lanka.

Madhawa is committed to ensuring that humanity finds innovative solutions to violent global conflicts. To this end, he promotes a combined approach to conflict resolution through both rational approaches like mediation, negotiation and dialogue, as well as creative approaches to conflict transformation like performance/theatre and participatory photography.  Mr. Palihapitiya has also contributed to the Acting Together: Performance and Creative Transformation of Conflict.

Polly*Polly Walker, PhD (USA)

LPolly is of Cherokee descent and a member of the Cherokee Southwest Township. She is currently Director of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies and the Elizabeth Evans Baker Professor of Peace Studies at Juniata College in the United States. Polly earned her PhD at the University of Queensland in Australia where her research focused on conflict transformation between Aboriginal and Settler Australians.

Polly has published in a wide range of peer-reviewed journals and contributed chapters to a number of edited volumes on topics related to cross cultural issues in conflict transformation, Indigenous approaches to peace, and the role of ritual and performance in peacebuilding. Polly is co-editor, along with Dr. Cynthia Cohen and Prof. Roberto Varea, of Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict Vol. I: Resistance and Reconciliation in Regions of Violence, and Vol. II: Building Just and Inclusive Communities.

Polly is an experienced trainer. She was a lead trainer and program developer in a six-year international Kastom Governance program in Vanuatu, which was conducted under the auspices of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, AusAid and The Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs. Polly also conducted mediation training with the Solomon Islands National Peace Council, and conflict transformation training with an Aboriginal Community Development organization on Palm Island in Queensland, Australia.

Polly is Chair of the Indigenous Education Institute whose work supports ethical collaboration with Indigenous peoples and revitalization of their knowledge systems, particularly in relation to the sciences.

RobertoRoberto G. Varea (Argentina)

Roberto G. Varea began his career in theater in his native Argentina. His research and creative work focuses on live performance as means of resistance and peacebuilding in the context of social conflict and state violence.

Varea’s stage work includes directing premieres by Latinx authors, founding community-based projects, and the Latin American immigrant performance collective Secos & Mojados. Varea is a regular contributor and guest editor to journals in performance and social issues such as emisférica (NYU, US),Contemporary Theatre Review (Routledge, UK), and Conjunto (Casa de las Americas, Cuba). He is co-editor and co-author of the two-volume anthology Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict.

Varea is a founding faculty of the Performing Arts and Social Justice, and the Critical Diversity Studies Majors at the University of San Francisco, where he serves as director of the Latin American Studies Program and co-director of CELASA (the Center for Latino Studies in the Americas).

ToniToni Shapiro-Phim, PhD (USA)

Toni Shapiro-Phim received a PhD in cultural anthropology from Cornell University. Her dissertation, books and other publications focus on the history and cultural context of dance and music around the world, particularly in relation to violence, migration, conflict transformation and gender concerns. She’s held teaching and research appointments at the University of California-Berkeley, Yale University and Bryn Mawr College, and worked in Cambodian, Lao and Vietnamese refugee camps in Indonesia and Thailand. She’s also conducted years of ethnographic research in Cambodia. Co-editor of Dance, Human Rights and Social Justice: Dignity in Motion, she has also contributed to Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide and The Choreography of Resolution: Conflict, Movement, and Neuroscience, among other publications. Her most recent book, Talking Dance: Stories from the South China Sea, was published in 2016.

Toni serves as Director of Programs at the Philadelphia Folklore Project where she conducts ethnographic research, curates exhibitions and produces performances, humanities forums and publications highlighting aspects of the cultural practices of Philadelphia’s diverse communities, all in collaboration with artists and community groups working for equity and justice. Her first documentary film, Because of the War, about four brilliant singers – mothers, refugees, immigrants, survivors of Liberia’s civil wars – who use their music to address injustices at home and in exile, premiered at International House in Philadelphia in October, 2017.

As of May 2019, Toni was appointed Associate Professor of Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation and Assistant Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts (outside the tenure track) at the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life. Read the full announcement.

*Executive Committee member: The Executive Committee is responsible for key decisions relating to IMPACT.