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Telling Stories, Changing Lives

 Laura Simms
Ishael Beah

Laura Simms is an award-winning storyteller, recording artist, teacher, writer and humanitarian. Her remarkable performances of traditional stories interwoven with personal narrative have earned Laura Simms worldwide recognition and honors since 1968. She brings her expertise to collaborative projects worldwide, exploring social issues, peacemaking, creativity and community disaster dialogue. Author of The Robe of Love, her newest book, Becoming the World, has served thousands of teachers worldwide in addressing issues of tolerance and resilience. Through the power of story she has become the American “mother” of Ishmael Beah.

Ishmael Beah stands as one of the world’s most tireless advocates for child soldiers and an eloquent spokesperson for the healing power of sharing the stories of one’s life. In his New York Times best-selling memoir A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, published in 2007, Beah, now twenty-seven years old, tells a riveting story, revealing for the first time the experience of child soldiers told through their own eyes.

Friday, February 20

Storytelling and Compassionate Action, a Conversation with Laura Simms, Launer Auditorium at Columbia College, 1001 Rogers St. Admission $5.
7:00 – 7:30 PM Laura’s books and CDs will be available for purchase and she will be available for signing.
7:30 PM Milbre Burch will interview this dedicated humanitarian about her international work employing both traditional and personal storytelling. With question period for the audience.

Saturday, February 21

Laura Simms Storytelling Workshop, 9:30 - 11:00 AM, Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway. Free. A workshop aimed at teachers, librarians, storytellers, community workers, youth workers and the interested public on telling stories of peace and justice as pathways to reconciliation. Free, but registration with the library is required. Limit 40 participants. Registration begins Tuesday, February 3. Call 573.443.3161 or email Sarah Howard

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars Film Screening and Community Roundtable, 1:30 PM, Ragtag Cinema, 10 Hitt St., Admission $6. Sponsored by Columbia College. “Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars,” is a film by Zach Niles and Banker White which documents the band’s inspiring determination to fight back against the trauma of war through music. Following the film, director Zach Niles, Beah and Simms will join community members in a round table discussion of issues including human resilience in the aftermath of impact of war, the power of music and story, and the meaning of home and family.

Telling Stories, Changing Lives with Ishmael Beah, 6:00 – 7:30 PM. Activity and Recreation Center (ARC), 1701 W. Ash. Free. Learn how the power of music can spread the message of non-violence through hip hop, rap and dance both in Africa and here in Columbia. For teens. Presented by C.A.R.E.

Making Peace, Heart Uprising, A Storytelling Concert for Adults by Laura Simms, 7:30 PM, Launer Auditorium at Columbia College, 1001 Rogers St. Admissions $10. A solo performance of stories which tap into the magic inherent in both myth and our everyday events. Sign Language interpreted.

Presented by Kind Crone Productions with the collaboration and support of Columbia College Department of Humanities/Speech Communication.