Events round-up: Middle Eastern Festival of Spirituality and Peace 2014
The annual festival aims to counteract the media's narrow focus on the region’s political battles
While the cultural image of the Middle East is too often overshadowed by the region’s political battles as displayed in the news, this part of the world remains one of the most richly diverse in terms of its art and culture. The 11th Edinburgh International Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace Festival, taking place in the capital this March, offers an opportunity to learn more about this part of the world and make some changes to your life at the same time.
There are no shortage of forums, workshops and talks lined up. At the Gillis Centre you can take part in a day dedicated to spiritual dancing, health and wellbeing (Sat 1 Mar), later in the month you can spend an evening exploring personal healing and enlightenment (Augustine United Church, Sun 9 Mar), while a Mindful Peace Walk focuses on (literally) taking one step at a time in the Royal Botanic Gardens (Sun 16 Mar). There are also several art exhibitions and storytelling events including Kingdom of Fire and Clay: Iran vs Israel (Scottish Storytelling Centre, Fri 21 Mar) in which an Iranian and Israeli artist bring together classical Jewish and Iranian tales and stories from their own lives to explore the conflict between their two countries.
With no fixed position on politics or ethics, the festival’s intention is to create an environment where people can talk freely with an open mind and heart. As director Neill Walker says, the festival seeks to ‘engage a progressively wider and more diverse range of participants who have been active in spiritual, secular and artistic and cultural approaches to non-violent conflict resolution and world peace.’
Various venues, Edinburgh, Sat 1–Sun 23 Mar. For the full programme, see mesp.org.uk.