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SOCULTURES NOVEMBER- DECEMBER 2019

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PEACE FLAGS


SOCULTURES NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019

YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP WITH OUR WORLD 2

Socultures Nov-Dec 19


S O C U L T U R E S E D I TO R : R A K H E E

K A U S H I K

EMAIL: SOCULTURESSTORY@GMAIL.COM

A S S I S T A N T E D I T O R : S A G A R I K A

W E B S I T E & M A G A Z I N E D E S I G N

G L O B A L

A N U N A Y

S H A R A M A

M A R K E T I N G R A C H I T

K A U S H I K

C U L T U R E AD V E R T I S I N G S A G A R I K AÂ & S H R E Y C H O P R A

M A G A Z I N E

SO C I A L M E D I A M A N A G E R V A R U N

Y A D AV

CONNECTING THE WORLD WITH CULTURAL STORIES AND COLLABORATIONS

FOR ANY INQUIRIES, PLEASE VISIT SOCULTURESSTORY@GMAIL.COM SOCULTURES9@GMAIL.COM FOUNDER: SOCULTURES MEDIA & EVENTS RAKHEE KAUSHIK While the publishers have made every effort to ensure

the

accuracy

of

all

the

information

published in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited.

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Socultures Nov-Dec 19


S O C U L T U R E S

M A G A Z I N E

NOVEMNER-DECEMBER 2019 / ISSUE 08

C O N T E N T S

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Armouring the World: Mark Burton tells in a candid interview about the journey of growth, triumphs, and challenges while creating a top-notch Company Poetry Pills: Deborah Alma of poetry pharmacy is healing the world with poetry prescriptions A Gifted Pianist from Persia: Meet Elham Fanoos from Afghanistan who is enthralling the world with his magical piano notes Blending Cultures with Dances: Sophia Salingaros, the talented dancer loves the dances of the world and finds the bliss in movements of Bharatanatyam as well as Ballet.

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Historic Cultural & Civic Hub! Bangkok 1899!

“Life! Purposes! Happiness!” Lisa Napoli lives a life full of purposes which also 24 bring happiness in other people lives

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Looking Back, Looking Forward: The major events of the year 2019!

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Cars and Wars: Cars that win the wars

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ITHRA : Empowering with creativity

The cover pics: Greek peace flag, Pace Italy flag, Banner of peace; credits wikipedia and true panther flickr 4

Socultures Nov-Dec 19


SOCULTURES EDITORIAL WISHING YOU A BRIGHT

2020

SoCultures celebrates the year 2019 which is just about to leave us in a few days. It gave us a lots of memories, anecdotes, events, friends, battles, details, meanings, negative-positive vibes, the synergies and energies and events some good and some bad. 2019 added a few more chapters to the book of world history. As always, the passing year is propelling us on a path of growth and prosperity, preparing us with its lessons, major events and breakthrough inventions. Nonetheless, we all look forward to a new year promising a better life…a better world. Said Frank Herbert, “There is no real ending. It's just the place where you stop the story." There were innumerable winning glories added to the year 2019. It witnessed some breakthrough discoveries in science like China's Chang'e-4 historic touchdown in Von Kármán crater on Jan. 3, becoming the first robotic mission to land softly on the far side of the moon, the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa-2 landed on the surface of an asteroid called Ryugu to a watershed year for the study of black holes and we got to see the first ever image of black hole in April. There were some grim discoveries as well like Climate researchers found that the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets melting at unprecedented rates to the sea levels rising rapidly by approx. three feet by 2100.

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SOCULTURES EDITORIAL The world watched a mix of headlines like North Korea testing short range missiles, the opulent and magnificent coronation ceremony of Thailand king Maha Vajiralongkorn to unrest in Hong Kong and yellow vest movement in France, Indian-American Abhijit Banerjee, his wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer jointly winning the 2019 Nobel Economics Prize for the work on global poverty to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for helping end his country’s 20 year war with Eritrea. SoCultures chronicles a few major events of the year 2019 adding dimensions to the world history. Read about it all in “Looking Back and Looking Forward” titles story. "The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals." Said Melody Beattie. Let’s welcomes 2020 with positive and hopeful aspirations and start it on a bright, cheerful note. This issue boasts of exclusive interviews with the changemakers and movers and shakers of the world. “Armouring the World” has a candid and detailed interview with Mr. Mark F. Burton Sr.! The founder and CEO of International Armory Corporation. He tells us about his moments of triumphs and challenges and how his company IAC is protecting the world. Deborah Alma of "Poetry Pharmacy" helps us to understand the delicate super power of poetry and words in story titles “Poetry Pills”. She is rekindling hope and self-love in the people. “A Gifted Pianist from Afghanistan” features Elham Fanoos, the world-class pianist from Afghanistan who talks about his love for piano and positivity and why the world is enthralled by his piano notes. “Life! Purposes! Happiness!” is not only the title of our interview story with Lisa Napoli, it inspires to live life with many purposes.  Meet Sophia Salingaros, the talented dancer loves the dances of the world and finds the bliss in dance movements. SoCultures is discovering the world with its most amazing people and cultures. We expect all of you to a part of this journey. Let’s join this cultural movement.

“Difference is of the essence of humanity.Difference is an accident of birth and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or con lict. The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity.” by John Hume.  

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MARK F. BURTONÂ

ARMOURING THE WORLD

MARK F. BURTON, FOUNDER AND CEO, INTERNATIONAL ARMORING GROUP HOLDINGS, INC Pic credit: https://www.armormax.com


EXCLUSIVE

MAKING A DIFFERENCE Pic credit: Bulletproof-Volvo-XC-90-Armormax

SOCULTURES HAD THE PRIVILEDGE TO SPEAK TO MR. MARK F. BURTON Sr., FOUNDER AND CEO OF INTERNATIONAL ARMORING GROUP HOLDINGS, INC

The armored vehicles are actually a very important segment of the automotive industry that at times go unnoticed. Armoured vehicles!!! It’s a grim phenomenon of life where amidst the rapid development, sky-rocketing ambitions, unbelievable innovations, burgeoning economies with better lifestyles and amenities, there are also increasing enormous, dreadful apprehensions about the safety of our lives. These fears grip not only those coming from influential privileged class, but also the common people who work hard to pay their bills. The situation is alarming and dangerous in several countries, embroiled in conflicts and controversies, combats, clashes and rivalries. 8

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Pic credit:armoring-truck with transparent armour glass from Aromax

ARMOURED VEHICLES

ARMOURED VEHICLES are designed with multifunctional, multitasking composition, infrastructures and technologies to shield and harbour the wellbeing of the people. Mostly utilized by the military and police, but now many companies are manufacturing armored cars for civilian use, usually to protect valuables and dignitaries, people. These vehicles are armoured and designed with latest

International Armoring CorporationÂŽ (IAC) is one of the prominent vehicle armoring companies that armors all makes and models of cars and trucks by using proprietary armoring designs and installation techniques as well as the latest lightweight armoring materials

technology, materials and armoury designs, and sophisticated installation techniques without interfering the original design and appearance of the vehicles. These cars are so heavily armored, that it’s near impossible to break their system. The 2020 Range Rover Sentinel is empowered with tons of ballistic steel plate and armored glass to Toyota Land Cruiser designed to offer some solid protection from armed gangs and deadly threats.

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The companies manufacturing these armored cars make sure no one can hurt you while riding in one of their uber-cool vehicles and offer their clients some solid protection from armed gangs. Today, there’s a growing demand from consumers willing to spend millions to acquire them. One of the leading company is International Armory Corporation. IAC is able to create armored passenger vehicles, which are far superior in performance and appearance to its competitors companies. So far, IAC has delivered armoured vehicles to top world leaders, corporate executives, celebrities, religious leaders, and civilian contractors all over the world.

SOCULTURES SPEAKS WITH MR MARK F. BURTON Sr. , FOUNDER AND CEO OF INTERNATIONAL ARMORING GROUP HOLDINGS, INC.  

Mr Burton is also a member of BYU’s Founder’s group, and sits on the University’s President Circle. He currently serves on a number of Boards, and is a partner in the Utah Angel investor group.  He has started 17 different businesses, currently has investments in 34 different businesses.

How you came into this business? What is your message to the people?

I always had a go at being a leader. I wanted to be a CEO of fortune 500 company. Always! And when I decide on something, I get my plan concrete and proper. I set my task, I applied to the best college and graduated from Brigham Young University in Accounting. Later I joined KPMG and learnt so much, sharpened my skills.  I was heavily recruited, I acquired all the skills which many company wanted. I believe in learning. I learned valuable insights doing my jobs and picked up the necessary expertise and the perspectives to start my own company and invest in other companies. As for my armoured car company, it’s more the art and design that I am passionate about and that’s what saw me so heavily involved with my armory company.

ALEXANDRA PAUL

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THE MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE… First educate yourself not only by reading books but with the knowledge of real life experiences. These are the real practical lessons. No matter what, always do your homework, pay your dues at least a bit. I advise people especially the young folks to make mistakes on other people’s money.  LEARN BY DOING!!! If you are new and hired in a company then those who hire you they understand that you need experience but they choose to believe in you. It’s also lots of money involved on hiring a new person to groom and train them. But if you are open to learning and can adapt to the new environs and learn quickly your work, it can build a strong foundation for you. You receive invaluable lessons - it gives good decisions power, values and most importantly Experiences! Another important thing is to have a mentor. If you don’t know someone of that league, just find out what do they do, how they achieve their visions. Follow them, study their lives, business acumen, experiences.

Mark F. Burton Sr. Pic credit: https://www.armormax.com/

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Pic credits:Armormax-Armored-Jeep-Luxury-Top-10-Bulletproof-Jeep-Grand-Cherokee- and Armormax-Armored-Tesla-Model-S

You work with diverse clienteles. How are your experiences? We are providing protection for Heads of State and CEOs worldwide. There have been some memorable experiences during all these years, quite a few of them are very interesting. In fact, I am in the process of writing a book. It’s about my experiences in different countries with different people, different circumstances, its about some life-threatening situations, happy incidents, about some fascinating people, about cars, I have built and designed. I love to do diverse designs and as a manufacturer also customize the cost when people are constrained by low budget or by extra weight etc. etc. Recently, we designed Helicopters for people in South Africa, built 36 locomotives in Mozambique, which are used to transport the minerals. We have done tractors in Israel for farmers... they work in difficult situations, the terror is haunting. The threats are diverse, huge and lifethreatening and we cater to diverse clients from different regions with different problems.

Challenges that come from international business? Competition, technology, pricing structure etc!!! Some NGOs and uneducated NGOs would use cheap labour and unreliable materials and sell cheaper versions. The clients would ask us why are you so expensive. But we offer quality and never compromise on the safety!

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Another challenge is that all latest cars are becoming technology advanced and sophisticated. Fortunately we use very light sophisticated materials like the latest Tesla model. We use latest, lightest armoured materials and the best customized solutions. People are buying all sorts of armory packages. There are some very bad situations people facing these days. They not worried about high powered rifles or kidnapping or a war; they are worried about being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Another challenge is that in developed countries, they buy nicer vehicles like Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Ferrari and ultra luxe, ultra-royal cars, which are generally not going to advertise much their technology, their highly sophisticated tools. They come in the limited editions numbers equipped with almost every facility. There is not much, we can do there.

You were raised in Texas. Your memories of growing up years? Your favorite places to eat ice creams and burgers?

Texas is a very big state. We would go out often. We had a Ranch, we had so much to do there and I managed the big property. My father was a physician and my mum always gave us our space. She never interfered in our day-to-day life’s decisions but she always knew about us, she knew what all we are up to. She supervised our lives and we were given a lot of independence. The values of independence and responsibility to guide us on how to conduct our lives. I always loved animals and intended to become a Veterinarian. I grew up fast I finished college, got married, had children, It seemed I was always in a hurry ( laughs). People say they have the most beautiful days at the college mine was actually a blur! Things happened really fast. You are fond of collecting Texas art. What kind of art fascinate you- the skyline, a riverwalk, a map, or a landscape, or a farm scenery? Your favourite artists?

I was a boy- I and my father met this great artist- Dalhart Windberg, an American painter known for his use of light, color, and shadow in still life and landscape paintings using special technique to prepare his painting surfaces. The subjects of his paintings are  still life and figurative oil paintings depicting life in Texas, Mexico, Spain and Greece, scenery including fields of bluebonnets, working cattlemen, mountain lakeside cabins, roaming buffalo and deer, streams in the mountains, snowcovered hills etc etc. I started collecting his original pieces. Now I have a proud collection of his 28 paintings - all are unique.  I love and admire his unique way of doing oil paintings.

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Pic credit: Utah horses scene, Texas view, Salt Lake City, Wikimedia


Pic: Mark F. Burton/ Pinterest.com

Pic credit: Fully armored Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Your company motto is? website says – knowledge , highest quality, superior technology, customer satisfaction, expertise... The vision of the company is to create most advanced technology and create only the best! That’s what we try to accomplish in every aspect in whatever we do, like we consistently improvise and update our technology. Yesterday, I noticed a brand new Mercedes Maybach S- Class, a very advanced vehicle. These classic sophisticated cars are extraordinarily advanced and our technology has to complement these ultra-modern vehicles. The clients expect the best and we want to push the envelope. We continue to ask the question how we can do better.

How to choose the Right Armored Car? The first thing that you need to decide is what level of protection you’re looking for in your vehicle. We offer packages according to standardized ballistic level approved by different countries. We wish to maintain the original look and the original performance of the car. Now if you do all these separately it’s a different thing but do it all together combined with superior perfection it’s the IAC is known for!

Your hobbies? Well my first hobby I collect cars I like to design the cars. Life goes on… 15

Socultures Nov-Dec 19


CARS & WARS


THE ARMORED CARS ARE BULLETPROOF AND CAN WITHSTAND EXTREME DEGREES OF HEAT AND ARE TYPICALLY A MULTIFUNCTIONAL VEHICLES DESIGNED TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE, VALUABLES AND DIGNITARIES. STRATEGICALLY AND METICULOUSLY DESIGNED TO RESIST ATTEMPTS AT ROBBERIES AND HIJACKING, ATTACKS FROM BULLETS FROM MOST ADVANCED HANDGUNS AND RIFLES WITH BULLET-RESISTANT GLASS AND REINFORCED SHELLS, THESE ARMOURED CARS ARE HUGE BUSINESSES ESPECIALLY IN THESE TIMES. Pic Credit:: Pope Benedict XVI in a modified Mercedes-Benz M Class popemobile in São Paulo, Brazil in 2007 / Wikimedia

Hundreds of armored vehicles circulate on streets worldwide. And there are many insanely brilliantly designed armored vehicles you can buy for riding shielded. These cars offer some solid protection from armed gangs or the dreadful

RIDING SHIELDED

threats and attacks from things like most advanced rifles to bombs. They are equipped with powerful engines and terrific advanced features with the level of protection which, at times, are almost never used. The armored cars are bulletproof and can withstand extreme degrees of heat and are typically a multifunctional vehicles designed to protect the people, valuables and dignitaries. Strategically and meticulously designed to resist attempts at robberies and hijacking, attacks  from bullets from most advanced handguns and rifles with bullet-resistant glass and reinforced shells, these armoured cars are huge businesses especially in these times. 17

Socultures Nov-Dec 19


THE POWER Add a little bit of body text

Pic credits: ( above) Armoured car design by Leonardo da Vinci ( Wikimedia), Black Hills Traesure Coach/ (     Legends of America)

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TRACK BACK

Above: Queen Elizabeth II's 2002 Bentley State Limousine/ ( Below) Cadillac One ( Wikimedia

THEY DEFINITELY EXUDE POWER

TRACK BACK

AND DISPLAY A CERTAIN

Though not very substantial documents

COMMAND AND AWE ESPECIALLY

available with us, according to one write up

IN CONFLICT ZONES EMBROILED IN

published in the Wikipedia, legendary painter

VIOLENCE AND UPHEAVALS. THEY ARE STATUS SYMBOLS, AND COME WITH A CERTAIN STATUS BUT DON’T REALLY COME IN THAT CATEGORY. PEOPLE GET THEM FOR SOME REASONS. AS

Leonardo da Vinci made some sketches of an armored war vehicle in 1485. The earliest form of armored transportation for valuables that actually went into production was the Cheyenne and Black Hills

THE WORLD IS CHANGING AND

Stage Company’s two 5/16th

EVOLVING SO ARE THE WAYS OF

inches thick steel-plated treasure coaches.

TERRORISM AND VIOLENCE.

The company named one after Slaughter and the other after the Monitor (after the famous USS Monitor in the Civil War), writes https://truewestmagazine.com/ 19 Socultures Nov-Dec 19


9 G4S security van in the UK/ Wikimedia

INVESTING IN SECURITY

Prosegur armored car in Barcelona/ Wikimedia

Frederick Richard Simm's name deserves a mention. He was the first guy to literally stick a gun on a car in 1899: the 1899 Simms Motor Scout! He invented The Motor Scout's which was not exactly a car- a four-wheeled motorized cycle. A De Dion-Bouton quadracycle with a big maxim gun mounted up front, and a single iron plate to keep bullets from the people. Writes https://jalopnik.com in one of its article. The next vehicle designed by Simms, the Motor War Car, can be considered the world's first real armoured car. Armored cars really came into their own during WWI, armoured cars came into much use both in wartime and in the civilian life. Now used by high profile individuals, diplomats, dignitaries, politician and celebrities and also by those business tycoons with huge bags of cash travelling around, armoured cars are huge in demand. Among the first armored cars built was the Bellamore Armored Motor Bank Car in 1910 by David Havelock Bellamore, a British-born businessman and inventor. The first purpose-built, mass-produced armored motor car equipped with a steel safe-deposit vault, electric burglar alarms and armored protection was built on an Autocar Type XXI truck. The Rolls-Royce Ghost in August 1914 was the first armored vehicle introduced to the British military and proved extremely useful. In 1930, Mercedes Benz introduced the Nurburg 460. Later as the time progressed, several versions and styles came into existence of armoured vehicles. (Info collected from various souces on Internet)

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e r u t l u C

BANGKOK 1899

HISTORIC! CULTURAL! CIVIC HUB! BANGKOK 1899! WHERE HERITAGE, ART AND CULTURE MEET…


It’s a rare incomparable blend of art, design, urbanism and social innovation. A perfect medley of cultures and creativity… Designed by Italian architect Mario Tamagno (under King Rama VI), this historic location (originally built in 1899) is the former home of Chao Phraya Thammasakmontri. He is considered Thailand’s father of modern education. Bangkok 1899, a new cultural and civic hub, had its soft opening on Feb 16th at this architectural marvel of a heritage house located in Bangkok's Old Town. With avant-garde Italian architectural influences of that time, and delicate Stucco designs and patterns, this vintage house is a visual treat. One cannot resist the smooth, decorative transition from walls to ceiling, along with pillars everywhere. What better way to fulfill the dream of this late visionary! And the descendants of family of Chao Phraya Thammasakmontri made sure that the dreams of this late educator are preserved in the best possible way. Founded by Creative Migration, this historic property is now the home of Bangkok 1899. Its founding funders are The Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Motor Company Fund, with active support from the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).

Chao Phraya Thammasakmontri

Born over 140 years ago, Sanan Devahastin na Ayudhya, Chao Phraya Thammasakmontri was one of the visionary educators, writers and senior government officers of his time. He helped to start Chulalongkorn University, the country's first such institution, and is considered an exponent of the contemporary education in Thailand. Pongprom "Joe" Yamarat, 46, greatgrandson of Chao Phraya Thammasakmontri said in an interview with one leading daily, "My great-grandfather had the idea of using education as a means for progress.”

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CREATIVE MIGRATION … Creative Migration developed Bangkok 1899 with the mission to advance cultural diplomacy through the three pillars of art, public engagement and sustainability. With emphasis on inclusive, accessible and relationship-driven programming, its open space encourages people to pursue the lost art of leisure and spontaneous discussions. Bangkok 1899 is an international, multi-purpose center that functions through various levels of public engagement. This includes an international artist residency program, a public garden, social impact cafe and locally/globally themed events. In addition, the space acts as a living model of sustainability by implementing certain practices and technology such as Zero Waste. The project had its official soft launch on Feb 16th 2019. It had its grand opening in September the same year.

bangkok1899.org

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Life! Purpose! Happiness!

LISA NAPOLI HAS WORKED AS AN ACCOMPLISHED JOURNALIST FOR OVER THREE DECADES WITH AN AMAZING DIVERSITY OF WORK PROFILE. SHE HAS COVERED PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS, A HOSTAGE STANDOFF, AN OUTDOOR HACKER CONVENTION AND THE CULTURE OF TECHNOLOGY. SHE HAS ALSO COVERED INNOVATION AND THE BUZZ IN RADIO AS WELL AS CREATIVITY IN ART AND CULTURE… SHE ALSO RUNS A SUCCESSFUL PODCAST FOR ELDERLIES.

SoCultures in conversation with

Lisa Napoli


You have worked as an accomplished journalist with an amazing diversity of work profile. Please share more about your amazing works and experiences… You can read all about me at lisanapoli.com. I’ve lived an interesting lifetime and feel fortunate to have done so. You have worked with different media houses world over. What do you think can create more productivity and more innovation in this industry? What can bring more creativity, empathy and imagination to those who write stories?

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This is a very complex question. All I know to say in response is be true to yourself.

Talking of art and culture… you covered arts and culture at KCRW for years. On one assignment when you learned about the demolition of a 26-foot tall called Chain Reaction funded by the late

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Joan Kroc, you decided to

write a book titled “Ray & Joan”.

Yes, that’s true! It’s proof that one seemingly random experience can lead to another, larger obsession.

How can youth be more

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connected with the cultural

knowledge in the times of cutthroat competition, stresses and information explosion?

Talk to each other. Listen!

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As you have directed two video

Writing stories, covering real stories, making

documentaries, one on the kitsch tourist

documentaries etc require good amount of

trap in Dillon, South Carolina

observation of life, characters, people…what helps

called South of the Border and the

you to do the best?

other about NASCAR fans called Day at the Races. Would you like to share

You have to be boundlessly curious.

about what attracted you to choose these topics? How was the experience of film-making?

You are doing amazing creative works… what drives you to have all the energy and passion to create so much? Your time management mantra?

I loved living in the American south, vastly different than my hometown of

I’ve made choices in my life that make it possible for me

Brooklyn, NY. I was intrigued by the

to have the time to do my work. Not everyone makes

cultural differences and wanted to

similar choices, or wants to. If you love what you’re

celebrate them. Back then I worked in TV.

doing, you will. I’ve learned so much from watching

Really, making films requires a team and

people over the years who are stagnant or bitter,

a different dedication, and budget---at my

or crippled by the inability to move a project of any sort

core I’m more of a writer. I can sit in a

forward.

room alone or mine archives and not have to hire camera-people and such (at least

Gracefully! It’s the name of the podcast run by you.

back then, that was necessary).

The podcast is about elderly people, about their needs, about care giving and also about talking with

Making films, documentaries involve

some great old souls too, please share your journey

lots of aspects like bring in the purpose,

with this amazing podcast and why you started it?

perspective, raise a concern or educate

What should we do more to support our older

or simply entertain…what could be

generation?

more to making films in your view? Ageism is rampant in American society. I started the I know next to nothing about documentary

podcast to amp up the dialogue. It’s been hard, because I

production these days. I do enjoy

was completely self-propelled.

watching them, however, more than any other film.

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Socultures Nov-Dec 19


What role, do you think, radio can play in building up the good tastes and interests amongst youth? Radio is a powerful force, as are all media. Answering this question thoughtfully would take days!

You are the founding board president of the Bhutan Media Service, an all-volunteer news outlet created by Bhutanese refugees in diaspora. Yes. I began working with the refugees from Bhutan here in the US after they criticized my book. We got together, and I heard their stories. I wanted to help in some small way.

You started “Friday night free-for-alls”- a beautiful tradition of inviting and spending time with friends over casual dinners and also started an award-winning volunteer cooking group at the Downtown Women’s Center on Skid Row in Los Angeles. How beautiful it’s all bonding over food and conversations?

Everyone should do it, in their own way. These are my proudest accomplishments. Do you think that Intercultural dialogue is crucial in preventing and ending conflicts? Of course it is. Without questions.

As the world is getting more and more connected, will human be uni-cultural in the near future? Perhaps. It certainly feels that way.

Finally, your views on life in general! Enjoy every minute, mind your footprint, take care of yourself, and help others.

All pictures courtesy: Lisa Napoli

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Socultures Nov-Dec 19


ITHRA

(KING ABDULAZIZ CENTER FOR WORLD CULTURE)

EMPOWERING CREATIVITY

THE LUXURY SOCIAL NEWS MAGAZINE

Pic: ITHRA, by ed Faro/ Flickr


ITHRA

Ithra is an all-purpose cultural destination. Ithra means ‘being rich from knowledge’ in Arabic. It is also been voted as one of the iconic places in the globe by the Time magazine in 2018. Pic : THRA, by ed Faro/ Flickr


ECO-FRIENDLY MODERN ARCHITECTURE The iconic building's unique, ecofriendly and modern architecture is designed by the renowned Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta. Their design imbibed aesthetically the myriad levels of symbolism. The overall theme heavily incorporated the vision of its founder company, Saudi Aramco - Energy!!! The building was constructed kept in

Pic: Riyadh , Saudi Arabia, by Salem A / Flickr

mind the environmental health, using indigenous materials purchased from sustainable sources and recycling the

Evolving, transforming and changing the

construction waste.

people all around the world to illuminate,

The design drives inspiration from the

inspire and catalyze the potential of the

geological nature of the Kingdom.

Kingdom’s vast talent pool, Ithra is indeed

Diversity, solidarity and mutual

a proud project

support are shown using

which is contributing to a better world

different-sized “rocks” leaning on one

Inaugurated by King Salman bin Abdulaziz

another.

in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and developed by Saudi Aramco, this building is one of a kind in modern architecture in the world. Writes the Saudi Aramco company’s website, about their proud project Ithra. “In 2008, during our 75th anniversary, we announced our intention to create a modern center of culture and learning. The vision was to create a cultural institution of international renown, and a model for social progress through education and cross-cultural exchange.”

NURTURING KNOWLEDGE The Center encourages nurturing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills, combined with art and cultures to encourage creativity and innovation in all its offerings. The enormous facility contains a 220,000volume library, theatre, cinema, museums, galleries, an energy exhibit, archives and an Idea Lab and Knowledge Tower that includes 18 floors of educational space for workshops. The Knowledge Tower holds educational workshops in art, media, literature and other creative fields throughout the year. The centre’s theatre has hosted several performances and international music shows.

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Socultures Nov-Dec 19


A GIFTED PIANIST FROM AFGHANISTAN E L H A M F A N O O S

ELHAM FANOOS IS A YOUNG BRILLIANT PIANIST FROM AFGHANISTAN WHO LOVES TO PLAY CHOPIN AND LISZT


“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― PLATO

"AS THE COUNTRY NOW TURNS A NEW LEAF, OUR AMBITION IS TO GIVE HOPE TO EACH AND EVERY AFGHAN.” PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI HAD SAID ONCE. THE NEW GENERATION OF CREATIVE ARTISTS, MUSICIANS IS CERTAINLY TURNING OVER A NEW      With Geoffrey Burleson Professor of Music, Director of Piano Studies at Hunter College who says. "So proud of my brilliant student Elham Fanous

Inspired performance! — with Elham Fanous at Manhattan, New York

LEAF AND IS BUILDING A NEW POSITIVE IMAGE OF AFGHANISTAN.

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Socultures Nov-Dec 19


Elham Fanoos is a young brilliant pianist who loves to play Chopin and Liszt. He is performing world over from prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City, renowned concerts attended by eminent Cabinet Ministers, Heads of states, to sharing the same platform with world's great pianists. His gifted fingers playing on the keys of piano fill the concert halls with melodies of piano notes and compositions. Elham Fanoos is definitely contributing to build up the image of a new, young confident positive Afghanistan and its people who are proud of their magnificent culture and apromising great future.

SOCULTURES IS MIGHTY IMPRESSED WITH THE YOUNG, COURAGEOUS AND TALENTED PIANIST ELHAM FANOOS FROM AFGHANISTAN. WE TALK ABOUT HIS LIFE, MUSIC AND MUCH MORE.... Tell us more about you?

The ethereal crescendo and decrescendo of piano notes - its

I was born in 1977 in Afghanistan. My father

regal tone and tempo!

is a singer too so music is in my blood. But

It all started when once I was searching about music on

unfortunately Music was a taboo that time.

YouTube and saw a lots of pianists performing in front of

Taliban!!! Taliban had already entered in the

mesmerized audiences and I really fell in love with piano. I

Afghanistan a year after I was born.

joined Afghanistan National Institute of Music, founded by

I picked up piano at the age of 12, which is

Ahmad Sarmast which was the only music academy in

rather late. The artists usually start at the age of

Afghanistan that time.

three-four.

It had close to 200 students and approximately 25 students

My music journey actually started with playing

for piano lessons and only one grand piano. We would wait

the Tabla (small traditional set of two hand

for at least 10-15 minutes for our turn to practice. But it’s a

drums). I enjoyed it immensely and fell in love

great place to learn Afghan, Indian, western classical music.

with the cathartic passage and passion of piano

I would stay late for practice after attending my school. I

music.

simply fell in love with piano music.

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Carnegie Hall/ Wikipedia

Students of Afghanistan National Institute of Music

sic

k mu

ni fol

Afgha


Your passion for music… playing piano is your purpose and life.

The positive face of Afghanistan! What After I watched on YouTube amazing legends and piano maestros like Vladimir Horowitz, Chopin, Beethoven and

could contribute to paint that positive face of Afghanistan?

the way they were playing in front of audiences keeping

I wanted the world to have more Afghan everyone captivated, enthralled…simply made me fell in love with maestros and piano. "I will dedicate my career to keeping music alive in

pianists, so I can say that I am the first one so far. I want to show the new face of Afghanistan, the positive face of Afghanistan, we wish to be a part of world cultures. My

places where it is endangered.” You said in one of the

teachers and some other music lovers

interviews. Would you like to share more?

especially who understand piano have often

Yes, music has the ability to save our souls. Music can

told me that they never expected this level of maturity and depth in my music, such a young

change the life. Afghanistan National Institute of Music,

pianist who has come from the country

where I studied, preferred to give admission to the

Afghanistan, which has witnessed terror and

students coming from the orphanages or the streets. And

threats…

many of them are success stories today. One of the

What are the reactions and attitudes of

students is now a wonderful flute player, who learnt and

people when you introduce yourself to

supported his family by selling eggs on streets while

people in the U.S., What are the preconceptions about the place and its

another such student who faced harsh circumstances, will

people, which you would like to try to

be joining as a junior faculty to teach piano. Music can

dispel about Afghanistan?

instill hope and life when all around it is engendered. For the Taliban, those pianos were dangerous. From learning to spell music in the war-stricken

That no can turn the wheel of history backwards. Neither the Taliban nor anyone else can dampish and suppress the growth and blossoming of talents and cultural wisdom

Afghanistan, to getting ready to graduate from the Hunter College of City University, New York with a bachelor of music degree, how has been the

backwards… The Afghans are proud of their music, their country. Like others, they want to connect with all other creative people and to be on the

journey? That is triumph for all of us who have seen terror and fear. We faced this horrible terror attack on our music

global map. They are no less. Afghanistan has a rich and complex musical history, sitting at a cultural

institute, but it didn't break our strength , infact this led to another concert in front of ambassadors, prominent personalities. Fortunately, all these people helped me to

crossroads of East and West… Persian melodies, Indian, and traditional and regional folk from Pashtuns,

get where I am today. I needed to pursue music lessons after my class 12th, and to reach America to get admission in a good music school. I got admission in two

folkfrom Pashtuns, Tajiks and Hazaras etc to some elements from western and Indian classical all constitute to the Afghan music. Lyrics

prestigious music colleges in New York Manhattan School of Music and Hunter College.

throughout most of the Afghanistan, are typically in Pashto and Dari (Persian).

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Nov-Dec 19


POETRY PILLS

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A PERFECT POETIC PLACE The Poetry Pharmacy is about building up the emotional state of people, helping them to reclaim their normal self. It has to be achieved in perfect surroundings – soothing, creative and delicate!  There is a beautiful Victorian shop at Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire, England.  Situated in the middle of beautiful scenic surroundings, it retains its vintage charm with its original shelves, Mahogany counters filled with poetry books, literary stuff and other creative gifts. The creative place is abuzz with soft sounds of people, melodious words saying poetry, and energies of immense creativity. It’s where people find awakening, inspiration and cures in poetry and creative writing. The retro and vintage interiors are filled with vintage stationery, as well as poetry books and pills. There is a Dispensary Cafe for prescribed coffees, teas and tisanes, sodas, sherbets and seltzers to lift the spirits. Following a five-month restoration, the Victorian shop, supported by Arts Council is conceptualized by Debroah Alma along with her partner, poet James Sheard.   The poetry pharmacy is offering cures, community courses in poetry and specialist day retreats as well as bringing the therapeutic benefits of good mental health and well-being.

Deborah Alma, who as the “Emergency Poet” has prescribed poems from her vintage ambulance for the last six years, is a UK based poet, with an MA in Creative Writing from Keele University. Apart from teaching part-time at Keele, she works as a writer and gives workshops in the communities, schools and vulnerable groups. She is also an editor of Emergency Poet - an anti-stress poetry anthology.

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THE POETIC AND LITERARY AID BY DEBORAH ALMA IS HERE FOR ALL YOUR EMOTIONAL WOES. WELCOME TO THE WORLD FIRST PHARMACY OF POETRY, APTLY CALLED POETRY PHARMACY

"THE POEM BECOMES A MAP, A NOTE LEFT ON A TREE, A ROCK FORMATION AT A FORK IN THE PATH, A CRY IN THE DISTANCE SAYING ‘THIS WAY’." – UNKNOWN

Meet Deborah Alma, who as the “Emergency Poet” prescribes poems as cures, to address your emotional needs, to make life beautiful again.

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Let’s find inspiration, details and approach about poetry, people and prescriptions from the Emergency poet, Deborah Alma. So Cultures here in tête-à-tête with Deborah Alma, who instead of sleeping pills and multivitamins, cures people with the prescriptions of Derek Walcott and Elizabeth Bishop.

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You opened the world’s first walk-in Poetry Pharmacy. What inspired you and this idea was born? As an “Emergency Poet”, I have been prescribing poems from the vintage ambulance for the last six years visiting faraway places, schools, hospitals, festivals, libraries and care-settings etc, trying to help people with poetry-on- prescription and poetry-in-pills. But now in my late fifties, I am a little old and it’s not easy to drive around and travel far distances. I thought of opening a permanent place where I can continue to do the same work and that’s how the idea of a world’s first walk-in Poetry pharmacy was born. One day, I and my partner James peering through the dusty shop door windows on the High Street in pretty Bishop’s Castle in the Summer of 2017 had a vision of the Poetry Pharmacy with bottles of poetry pills. We found a place, this place was closed for long time and initially seemed a lovely place to start the Poetry Pharmacy. The idea was to connect with others, talk about well-being and inclusivity. Therapeutic and theatrical!!! You are using poetry as being now used for instilling and breathing life and rejuvenation in people.

How is the response of people when they listen about it? Do they believe and love poetry therapy? This is really interesting. I really had no idea of how poetry to be delivered to people who don’t usually encounter it or like them. When it came to consultation and people started visiting poetry pharmacy, something magical happened. The good quality, intelligent poetry with element of theater told with a light-hearted approach and ability to make people feel reassured, loved and positive is what poetry therapy is intended for. Milton, the great poet has written that “Apt words have power to swage / The tumors of a troubled mind / And are as balm to festered wounds”.   Here instead of sleeping pills and multivitamins, customers are offered prescriptions of Derek Walcott and Elizabeth Bishop. And all this has been magical.

The world’s first walk-in Poetry Pharmacy! How is it contributing to a world which is now smiling and listening to soft healing verses? Lots of media attention got generated about Poetry Pharmacy shortly after we opened it… The idea behind it is to connect poetry to people who don’t really encounter it, appreciate it. I am bringing poetry to high streets, trying to make it the talk of the town, appeal to people who don’t really read it. People are responding very well. In fact, they are simply loving the entire idea and process of poetry and healing.

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There are elements of interests in it like theater and emotions like empathy, interesting conversations and there is a café too. It can’t work otherwise. We meet and talk to people who don’t really meet often. There’s a café serving different varieties of coffee to go with their mood. They can have coffee quotes then they can also shop poetry books, buy things for their wellbeing and happiness. We have a consultation room and with different sections created with different elements… all of this add experience to the complete poetry pharmacy.

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Poetry Pharmacist assesses the complications in patients and addresses their emotional needs, what is the process to assess the problems? It’s a very controlled process. We don’t ask about their problems we focus on who they are! We ask them about their life in general. Their feelings about their children, spouses, parents or relatives, friends etc, the kind of books they read, movies they watch; things that make them sad or happy; their relationships – its ups and downs… we don’t talk about their problems at all, but try to understand who they are… They open up slowly - sometimes they are heartbroken, or lost their precious job or lost their parents untimely. The Poetry Pharmacy is trying making life better for them. We are always very careful. We ask the questions that are not intimate.  I ask them their reasons to come to poetry pharmacy and I pull out the right poem. It’s like a massage for the mind, I am not making them feel better or cured, it’s more about coming to terms with their present.  It’s like the poet talking to them and helping them to realize who they are and how wonderful it’s to live in the present.

You were already dispensing poetry for over 7 years from the back of your vintage ambulance at festivals, conferences, hospitals and care settings, libraries and schools, with a poetry pharmacy of poems-in-pills. What are the problems generally encountered with the school going children and with people recovering at hospitals?

No, I worked in the primary school teaching the small children. But I don’t read poetry to them as a therapy, it’s more about enhancing their skills, their mental intelligence and creativity. The Emergency Poet go there to help them what they are doing. There are successful workshops around poetry and creative writing which talked about friendship, love, talent, goodness, excelling to dealing with issues like jealousy, bullying etc. We also talk about poetry as a topic how to write or read poetry.

The perception of poetry is that poetry happens to only a few and it’s not for all to write, read and understand it. How do you treat those who don’t understand anything about it? Emergency Poet so far has been very, very successful. People in Europe are pretty good at such innovative creative things. They simply love these initiatives. I am trying to engage in every smallest way to engage people with poetry. When even I am at ambulances, I explain patiently and tell them that don’t look at these poems, the way you looked at poetry books in the school. I ask them gently, “Is this poem your poem? It’s your poem! Your words?” Now, here, at Poetry Pharmacy, people walk in, inquire, and ask about poetry pills and poetry therapy and it’s great to see people feel curious and involved.   Poetry and mental health? How they are so connected to assist people, in so many ways? I think there is a lots of connection. People suffering are often convenient with them self as a writer writing their stories, jotting down their feelings on a paper. I think reading is very good for mental health. If someone has experienced some sadness, they find empathy, a kind of connection with characters – at times like prayers or at time like some angry rant. People like writing, it’s indeed therapeutic! Stress buster! Writing something short, when people are lonely is cathartic, it’s like quickly taking a pill.

There are sections in the Poetry pharmacy? What differentiate them? The sections are divided into areas for particular ailments, to address the challenges that we face in the life and when the world is not with us. It’s got seven chapters… The sections are set up along the lines of a poetry anthology that I edited in 2016, “The Everyday Poet”.  The classic seven challenges, emotional challenges - section Myself- love, competent, section called Life, Section for courage, inspiration, to walk, Section called Hope, section for love, ageing, grief and hope. There are, of course, children’s section, a consulting room, a cafe, and a large space for writing retreats, workshops and performances.   The internet addiction amongst the young lots. Do you think poetry can work in such aspects too? Instagram poetry are very popular. There is amazing talent out there in the millennial. It is hugely humane need to be spiritual, looking for meaning of their lives.

Pics credit: https://emergencypoet.com

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MAJOR EVENTS OF 2019

LOOKING BACK LOOKING AHEAD 43 Socultures Nov-Dec 19


January 2019 The yellow vests movement or yellow jackets movement is a grassroots political movement for economic justice that began in France in October 2018 Mass demonstrations started. The movement takes its name from the yellow safety vests that French law requires all motorists to carry. pic credit: wikimedia

Juan Guaidó, President of Venezuela's National Assembly, holds a copy of the Venezuelan constitution during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez, in Caracas, Venezuela, on January 23, 2019. Piccredit: https://www.miamiherald.co m 44 Socultures Nov-Dec 19


February 2019

Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, applauded President Trump at his State of the Union address. Now the world-famous clap. Pic credit: https://www.nytimes.co m

Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist, skipped school to protest at theSwedish Parliament Pic credit: wikimedia

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A light show at the Forbidden City palace complex, whose doors were opened to the public at night for the first time since 1925. Pic Credit: Wikimedia

Rami Malek (Best Actor), Olivia Colman (Best Actress), Regina King (Best Supporting Actress) and Mahershala Ali (Best Supporting Actor) pose with their awards at the 91st Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 24 Pic credit: Wikimedia

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MARCH 2019 models get emotional during Karl Lagerfeld's final Chanel show as part of Paris Fashion Week on March 5 Pic credit:Wikipedia https://sheerluxe.com/

The Boeing 737 Max 8 of the of the Ethiopian Airlines went down shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board on March 12. Pic credit: https://www.aeroti me.aero

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APRIL 2019

2 1

3

1. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court to appear "in relation to an extradition warrant on behalf of the United States authorities" on April 11 2. Flames tore through Notre-Dame cathedral 3. First images of a black hole unveiled by astronomers in landmark discovery

Pics Credits: 1. Wikimedia 2. Wikimedia 3.Telegraph india 48 Socultures Nov-Dec 19


MAY 2019 A sound and light show is projected on the Eiffel Tower to celebrate its 130th anniversary on May 15

Pic credit: https://www.sortiraparis.com

Newly crowned King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn is carried in a golden palanquin during the coronation procession on May 5.

Pic credit: Wikimedia

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JUNE 2019 Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, migrants from El Salvador who drowned when they tried to cross the Rio Grande June 19. Pic Credit: https://caribbeannewsd en.com

President Trump became the first sitting American commander in chief to set foot in North Korea when he met Kim Jong-un, the country’s leader on June 30.

Pic Credit: Wikimedia

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JULY 2019

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2

1

1.The United Stateforward Megan Rapinoe celebrates scoring her team's first goal during the Women's World Cup France 2019 quarter-final soccer match between France and theUnited States 2. Members of the European Parliament on Tuesday, July 16 ratified Germany's Ursula von der Leyen as the new President of the European Commission making her the first woman to fill the EU's top job. 3. Chandrayaan-2 is the second lunar exploration mission developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation, after Chandrayaan-1. It consisted of a lunar orbiter, the Vikram lander, and the Pragyan lunar rover, all of which were developed in India on 22 July 2019 Pics credits: 1. and 2 : wikimedia, 3. http://www.twenty22.in

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AUGUST 2019 On August 10, there was a shooting at a Norweigan mosque, injuring at least one person. A suspect has been taken into custody, and multiple weapons have been found throughout the mosque. (CNN) Pic Credit: Wikimedia

On August 7, the Philippines declared a national dengue epidemic after 622 people died between January and July

Pic credit: Wikimedia.

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SEPTEMBER 2019 An aerial view of damage caused by Hurricane Dorian is seen in Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island on September 4, 2019 Pic credit: Wikipedia

A fire reached the Amazon rainforest near the city of Porto Velho. The destruction of the Amazon in Brazil on September 8. Pic credit:Wikimedia

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OCTOBER 2019

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2

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1. Typhoon Hagibis, the most powerful storm to strike the country in decades Japan on Oct 12. 2. Fire.fighters battled the Kincade fire in Northern California. 3. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 4. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Monday awarded Indian-American economist Abhijit Banerjee the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Sciences.

Pics credits: Wikimedia

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NOVEMBER 2019

On November 11, after nearly a month of protests, President Evo Morales resigned after his 14-year reign.

Pic credit: wikimedia

On November 25, thieves stole three jewelry sets from the Dresden Green Vault in Germany.

Pic credit: Wikimedia

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DECEMBER 2019

The 435-member House of Representatives voted to impeach Mr Trump on two articles of impeachment.

Pic credit: Wikimedia

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BLENDING CULTURES WITH DANCES

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SOPHIA SALINGAROS

DANCE IS THE REASON I WAKE UP EVERY DAY. THE ABILITY TO BRING SOME BEAUTY INTO THIS WORLD IS INVALUABLE. IT’S OK TO LOVE SOMETHING UNCONDITIONALLY... 58

Socultures Nov-Dec 19


An American who has fallen in love with beautiful dances Bharatanatyam and Ballet, Sophia Salingaros was born in San Antonio Texas. She has been training in Bharatanatyam since the age of 9, under the guidance of Guru Dr. Sreedhara Akkihebbalu at Kaveri Natya Yoga and later took workshop training from illustrious gurus such as Janaki Rangarajan and Rama Vaidyanathan, And since then has given many solo performances both in the United States and abroad. In 2013, she was a Young Arts Finalist in Dance and a Presidential Scholar Semifinalist. She was always mesmerized by the surreal beauty of swirls and rhythms of all styles of dances. She is a glorious ballet dancer and has learnt it since the age of five. She studied at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow for six weeks under full scholarship in 2015. Sophia is currently a sophmore at Columbia University pursuing a major in chemistry, and yes, she passionately continues to pursue dance. Curious to know more about her connection with creativity and inspiration of dancing, SoCultures decided to have a detailed interview about her life, dance, beliefs and much more.

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You are a non-Indian who has fallen in love with the Bharatanatyam and ballet, Please tell us more about you apart from this?

My mom wanted me to be a ballerina, which is why I started ballet at the age of 5. I really loved all dance styles, so when I stumbled upon Bharatanatyam through a family friend, I instantly felt a connection. I just graduated as a chemistry pre-med major at Columbia University and am currently working in New York city. What does dance mean to you? How it enriches you?

Dance is the reason I wake up every day. The ability to bring some beauty into this world is invaluable. You have been trained under the guidance of Guru Dr. SreedharaAkkihebbalu at KaveriNatya Yoga and also have taken workshops from illustrious gurus such as Janaki Rangarajan and Rama Vaidyanathan. What are your biggest learning and fondest memories from them?   My guru Dr. SreedharaAkkihebbalu has taught me from the beginning of my training, imparting not only his vast knowledge of dance but also how to be a good and humble person. He has molded me into the dancer and the person I am today. I have had the fortune of attending many wonderful workshops, especially with guru smt. Rama Vaidyanathan, who teaches her students how to think of Bharatanatyam in an incredibly fresh and unique light while retaining the traditional fundamentals. They both serve as a huge source of inspiration for me, and I have so much more left to learn!

You have been trainedin Ballet since the age of 5, and studied at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow for 6 weeks under full scholarship in 2015. Tell us more about your leaning of this beautiful art.

As I said, I started Ballet when I was 5 years old and intended on pursuing it as a potential career. My time at the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow was equivalent to going to India to learn Bharatanatyam for the first time: I was in the most authentic and intense setting for the art form. Ballet is a beautiful style and one that I admire very much, but ultimately I decided to focus on Bharatanatyam as my main pursuit.

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As per your Facebook profile, you are pursuing major in chemistry from Columbia University and at the same time, following your passion for dance. What is your mantra for striking the balancing act between all your activities?

I believe if you really love something you will make time for it, which is how I balanced academics and dance. I had to make many social sacrifices and didn’t get to spend that much time with friends, as I was always running between classes, rehearsals and performances. Any balance is possible with enough determination and focus.

Experimenting with Jathi choreography in some your performances…tell us about this art?

Choreography is one of the most exciting aspects of Bharatanatyam, as it allows you to use your voice as a dancer to develop your own item. However, a dancer should only start when they have mastered the fundamentals. I am only beginning to create my own choreography now, but I am excited to improve in this area!

Part of Bharatanatyam’s beauty lies in its geometry. Its immense effort to express perfect lines and angles. How do you achieve the perfection and what is your mantra to do that? I wouldn’t call my dance perfect by any means, but I believe daily, rigorous practice is key to achieving precise lines and angles. Practicing in front of a mirror is also helpful, so you can receive instant feedback. Like music, dance also knows no cultural or religious boundaries…

How you got enriched with different cultural experiences and art? The most enriching experiences for me so far have been travelling and performing in places that I never thought I would ever visit if it weren’t for dance: India, Russia, Dubai, Kuwait, to name just a few!

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You have learned Carnatic singing for 10 years.        Yes! I even had my vocal debut performance.

Bharatnatyam and Ballet both require lots of stamina as well as holding on poses for considerable time? Stamina and strength require disciplined practice. Practice is crucial and cannot be avoided. My teachers tell me that practice should take up 99% of your time and performance should take up 1%. Do you find any difference in approach to dance by foreigners as compared to the Indian students? As a non-Indian, I had to learn many of the cultural aspects that Indian students grow up with – the mythology, the daily household routines, how to drape a saree, basic words in Indian languages, etc.   Do you think the classical styles should not be tampered with? I think they must be considered as an art form that is alive and must mold to the present day, with innovative choreography and themes being created that are relevant to the present day. However, I believe the fundamental basics should not change or be fused with other styles; then we risk losing the true essence of the art form itself.

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Profile for SoCultures

SoCultures Nov-Dec 2019  

SoCultures aspires to connect the world with cultural stories and collaborations. SoCultures is evolving as a Global Multimedia and Multidis...

SoCultures Nov-Dec 2019  

SoCultures aspires to connect the world with cultural stories and collaborations. SoCultures is evolving as a Global Multimedia and Multidis...

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