Creative Approaches to Peace-building

Securing a stable peace requires much more than hard power to end hostilities. It demands creative approaches that enable communities to confront injustice, foster healing, and create an inclusive vision for the future. 

Join us for a panel discussion featuring Ambassador Cynthia Schneider and the United States Institute of Peace's communication design consultant Manuel Leon looking at the critical ways art, culture, and identity can break down barriers and contribute to building peace. 


Ambassador Cynthia Schneider

Cynthia P. Schneider, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, teaches, publishes, and organizes initiatives in the field of cultural diplomacy, with a focus on relations with the Muslim world. Ambassador Schneider co-directs the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown, as well as the Los Angeles-based MOST Resource(Muslims on Screen and Television). Additionally, she co-directs the Timbuktu Renaissance, an innovative strategy and platform for countering extremism and promoting peace and development, which grew out of her work leading the Arts and Culture Dialogue Initiative within Brookings’ Center for Middle East Policy.

Professor Schneider teaches courses in Diplomacy and Culture in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where, from1984-2005, she was a member of the art history faculty, and published on Rembrandt and seventeenth century Dutch art. She also organized exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Dr. Schneider publishes and speaks frequently on topic related to arts, culture, and media and international affairs, particularly the Muslim world. Her writings range from blogs for the Huffington Post, CNN.com, and Foreign Policy to policy papers for Brookings.

From 1998-2001 she served as U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, during which time she led initiatives in cultural diplomacy, biotechnology, cyber security, and education.

Dr. Schneider has a PhD and BA from Harvard University and she serves on multiple Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards.


Manuel Leon

Communication Designer with the United States Institute of Peace, Global Campus, a project that leverages the latest modern communication technologies to extend online education and training opportunities to individuals across the world, project that was presented in the Sloan-C 6th Annual International Symposium "Emerging Technologies for Online Learning" in Las Vegas, NV in 2013.

In 2010, León wrote and directed an award winning short film at the Central American Film Festival “Icaro” in Guatemala. This short film was presented also in the Havana Film Festival in NY in 2011 and was included as a primary resource in the course on "Introduction to Interfaith Conflict Resolution" at the USIP Academy Online in 2013.Prior to join the USIP Academy, León worked as a graphic designer with TechChange, an organization that provides online professional development in technology and social change and as a Bilingual Video Game Tester with Nintendo of America, before moving to Washington, D.C. from Seattle, Washington.

Born and raised in Guatemala, Manuel’s hometown is an important influence in his artwork. He is part of his Maya K’iche’ community cultural resilience, which attempts to preserve its spirituality in harmony with nature. He started his studies in graphic design at the age of 15, and has since been devoted to the development of visual communication through different mediums, such as paintings, advertising, film, documentaries and interactive design. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design with an emphasis in Advertising from the San Carlos University in Guatemala.

Alongside with Frida Larios, and Ambassador for the 2015 International Design Congress and the Ambassadors Council of Latin American Design, Manuel plans to create a collective of Maya design, project that aim to make Maya hieroglyphs and Indigenous art more accessible to the public, by applying them to different visual media. Manuel figures among 50 designers from all over the world that have been invited to design and submit two works for the 2015 International Design Congress, Gwangju, Korea, on the occasion of celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Korean independence on August 15, 2015, in Seoul, Korea and then in October for that event.

July 30, 2015 at 6:30pm - 8:30pm
The George Washington University | Rome Hall Room 351
801 22nd St NW
Rome Hall Room 351
Washington, DC 20052
United States
Google map and directions
Amanda Strayer ·

Will you come?