On October 19th and 20th, the 1st Othwela Festival of Performance for Young Audiences, in Mozambique, was the host of two meetings which launched the basis of the new Portuguese Speaking Countries Network of ASSITEJ.
The meetings were held virtually, on Zoom, broadcast live at CBTIJ/ASSITEJ Brasil Facebook page, and brought together artists, educators, administrators and researchers from Mozambique and Brazil, as well as representatives from the ASSITEJ EC.
Although the desire was to hold face-to-face meetings, they were made impossible by economic constraints in the countries involved. Even so, several representatives of the two national centers and guests from partner networks and festivals participated in the meetings. Representatives from ASSITEJ Angola and artists and producers from the other Portuguese-speaking countries (Portugal, Cabo Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea and East Timor) were also invited and are expected to join the initiative soon.
The meeting on Oct. 19th set the agenda for the following day’s discussions, when, representing the ASSITEJ Executive Committee, Bebê de Soares (Vice President of ASSITEJ) and Paulo Merisio (Conselour of the Executive Committee), joined our Zoom session. In both meetings, were present representatives of ASSITEJ Mozambique: Yuck Miranda (Vice-President) and Rogério Manjate (Secretary); from CBTIJ/ASSITEJ Brazil: Cleiton Echeveste (President), Aglaia Pusch (member of the Board of Directors/São Paulo Regional Center/Cia Paideia), Marconi Arap (Salvador Regional Center/TECA Teatro), Cristiane Muñoz (representative of IIAN in Brazil), Viviane Juguero (Porto Alegre Regional Center/Bando de Brincantes); and also from Brazil: Karen Acioly (representative of the Brazilian International Festivals of Art for Children Network and of the Festival Intercâmbio de Linguagens – International Language Exchange Festival) and Fábio Fortes (representative of the Niterói em Cena Festival).
Among the topics discussed at the two meetings:
– the distinct national contexts;
– geopolitical issues of the bloc, most of it part of the Global South;
– the objectives and challenges of the new Network, especially the creation and sustainability of national ASSITEJ centers;
– existing public policies in each country;
– the need to strengthen already existing exchange initiatives;
– the creation of corridors for the circulation of artistic works among our countries;
– the generation of concrete actions towards the Artistic Meeting in Serbia (2023) and the World Congress in Cuba (2024).
Meetings among representatives of ASSITEJ’s national centers in Portuguese Speaking Countries will soon be scheduled to forward the proposals raised during the 1st Othwela Festival. Also soon communication channels of the new Network will be created.