Washington, DC — The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics and Bridges of Understanding are pleased to announce that they will host Washington, DC’s very first Portal April 7 to 18, 2015 as part of the World Premiere of “Generation (Wh)Y: Global Voices on Stage.”         

Portals enable individuals to come face‐to‐face with participants – full body – in a partner city across the world, conversing live as if in the same room. Created by the artist Amar C. Bakshi and his collective Shared_Studios, Portals are gold shipping containers with immersive audio and video technology through which individuals in Washington, DC will be able to have one­‐on­‐one conversations with artists, students, and citizens at Hariwa University in Herat, Afghanistan. Since December 2014, Portals have connected more than one thousand people in Tehran, New York and New Haven.    
The Portal will be open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. every day at 3622 N  St. NW, Washington, DC 20057 (one block from Georgetown’s main campus). Participants can reserve 15­‐ minute slots in the Portal to converse with a stranger in Afghanistan, beginning with the question, “What would make today a good day for you?” Real­‐time translation is available, and all interactions in the Portal are private and not recorded. The Portal will also be used to host special dialogues and artist collaborations throughout the two weeks.    
“The Portals project is such a beautiful fit with our Generation (Wh)Y project,” says Lab Co‐Director Professor Derek Goldman, “because it privileges the power of one­‐to­‐one personal communication that is at the heart of this initiative, the potential for us to find real meaning and connection, to develop shared understandings and relationships, and to have our perceptions transformed through  humanizing encounters with those around the world.”
“In the wake of the recent visit of President Ashraf Ghani, this Portal provides a unique opportunity to speak directly with Afghan people to find out how they feel about their personal and national futures,” adds Lab Co­-Director Ambassador Cynthia Schneider.       
“Digital  technologies are of greatest service to humanity when they allow for personal connection and communication,” says Bridges of Understanding Executive Director Faisal Al-­Juburi. “Portal allows individuals once separated by the barriers of land, sea,  and prejudice to look at, understand, and ultimately accept each other in the name of global citizenship.”    
The Portal is presented as part of the World Premiere of Generation (Wh)Y: Global Voices on Stage, presented in partnership with the Georgetown University Department of Performing Arts. This immersive theatrical experience of innovative multi-­media performances is the result of year-long dialogue and encounters between Georgetown students and youth from Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine,   Qatar, and Iraq, among other countries. Using intimate live performances as well as web-based technology and social media platforms, this theatrical event will move through multiple spaces exploring real experiences   from global voices and  the poetry of everyday life. Generation (Wh)Y  is a multidimensional portrait of today celebrating the perspectives, hopes, and stories of hundreds of young people from around the world. This World Premiere will be presented April 17 and 18 in the Davis Performing Arts Center at Georgetown University (times below).    
Generation (Wh)Y is the third of four anchoring events that are part of Myriad Voices: A Cross-Cultural Performance Festival, a two-­year festival designed to expand awareness and understanding about Muslim societies through the performing arts. This series of performances from leading artists around the world is accompanied by convenings, public forums, interdisciplinary courses, and the creation of new work. Georgetown is one of   six campuses nationwide to receive a competitive grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.    
The Myriad Voices Festival seeks to expand the Georgetown and D.C. communities’ knowledge and experience of Muslims – their faith, history, politics, and culture, to convey the diversity of Muslim populations, and to   expose and call into question prevalent stereotypes. The Festival engages students and audiences in compelling performances, involves students directly in creating new works in dialogue with leading artists from around the world, and makes these performances a springboard for interdisciplinary dialogue that bridges performance, politics, and society. The Festival was officially launched in September of 2014 with the high-­profile event Voices Unheard: The ‘Syria: Trojan Women’ Summit, continued in January of 2015 with the sold-out run of U.S. Premiere of Ajoka Theatre of Lahore’s “Amrika Chalo (Destination: USA)” by Shahid Nadeem, and   culminates with a new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” by leading Iraqi-American playwright Heather Raffo to premiere December 3-5, 2015.    
“Generation (Wh)Y: Global Voices on Stage” is presented by the Lab, the GU Theater & Performance Studies Program, and the Davis Performing Arts Center in partnership with Bridges of Understanding and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.    
The Portal  is open in Washington, DC Tuesday, April 7 to Saturday, April 18 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at  3622 N St. NW, Washington, DC 20057. “Generation (Wh)Y” runs Friday, April 17 at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 18 at 2:00, 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. in the Davis Performing Arts Center’s Gonda Theatre at  Georgetown University.    

15-­minute time slots for the Portal can be reserved here: http://sharedstudios.schedulista.com/    

Tickets to Generation (Wh)Y: Global Voices on Stage can be purchased online at performingarts.georgetown.edu or in person or by phone 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Callagy Box Office (202-687-ARTS (2787)), located in the Davis Performing Arts Center on Georgetown University campus.

Myriad Voices is made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters; Building Bridges: Campus Community Engagement Grants Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (the Lab) harnesses the power of performance to humanize global politics. We create and present innovative high quality work from around the world that is at the intersection of politics and performance. The Lab’s signature approach raises voices rarely heard in Washington, DC through compelling, authentic narratives, and engages policymakers, as well as artists, students, and wider audiences in forums that cast critical issues in a new light. 

The Lab, housed in the Davis Performing Arts Center, uses technology and live encounters to create a global community of artists, activists and policy makers, fostering new understandings and innovative collaborations. We are committed to relationship building beyond the lifespan of individual projects. We create substantive dynamic partnerships with individuals and with a diverse range of cultural and policy organizations. We are passionate about helping to train the next generation of innovators to use their artistry and voices to shape new understandings and to humanize others in pursuit of a better, more just world. 

Bridges of Understanding (BOU) is driven by a mission to foster a personal understanding between the American people and people of the Arab World through one-to-one relationships between thought leaders and the creation of original youth focused programs. A not-for-profit, nonpolitical organization, BOU’s initiatives are rooted in the art of storytelling, humanizing ‘the other’ so that the notion will one day cease to exist. During this time of increasing unrest in the Arab World, BOU’s work is more important than ever. For those engaged in the region, the organization’s education and outreach programs provide an empowering lifeline — an opportunity to have their voices heard in the classroom and by their peers in the United States. And, for Americans, these efforts showcase the rich Arab cultural legacy and paint human portraits of those whose respective homelands are currently characterized by strife. For more information, visit bridgesofunderstanding.org.

Shared_Studios is a multidisciplinary arts and design collective founded by artist Amar C. Bakshi that incorporates technology into built environments to connect people across all forms of distance. The Portals project connects people around the world in one-on-one conversations. A related project, Channels, creates bi-directional video walls so that enabling a passerby in one city to peer live at a passerby in another and vice versa. More information is available at www.SharedStudios.com.

The Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), based in Washington, D.C., is the national service and advocacy organization dedicated to developing and supporting a robust performing arts presenting field and the professionals who work within it. Our 1,500 national and international members represent leading performing arts centers, municipal and university performance facilities, nonprofit performing arts centers, culturally specific organizations, foreign governments, as well as artist agencies, managers, touring companies, and national consulting practices that serve the field, and a growing roster of self-presenting artists. As a leader in the field, APAP works to effect change through advocacy, professional development, resource sharing and civic engagement. APAP is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization governed by a volunteer board of directors and led by President & CEO Mario Garcia Durham. In addition to presenting the annual APAP|NYC conference – the world’s leading forum and marketplace for the performing arts (January 9-13, 2015) – APAP continues to be the industry’s leading resource, knowledge and networking destination for the advancement of performing arts presenting.

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties.

The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art is an operating foundation funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The mission of DDFIA is to improve the quality of people’s lives through the study, understanding and appreciation of Islamic arts and cultures. Based in New York, the Building Bridges Program is a national grant making program of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

Contact:  Jojo Ruf    
Managing  Director, The Lab        
joanna.ruf@georgetown.edu,  301‐520­‐5038