A Canadian not-for profit organization that was founded in Prince Edward County has been recognized as a global leader in promoting intercultural understanding by being awarded the Intercultural Innovation Award by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and BMW in Madrid, Spain last week.
Co-founded by musicians Mel Larkin and D’Ari Lisle, the Darkspark organization is driven by a collective of culturally diverse professionals from the music industry and other supporters who recognize the potential of young people to be both present-day and future leaders.
The organization envisions an inclusive society that respects and celebrates diversity, in which engaged youth understand the power of their voices and use them for social change.
The Intercultural Innovation Award recognizes Darkspark’s work with diverse youth across Canada and their unique methodology which uses education, community building and empowerment through music to help promote cross-cultural understanding and dialogue around prevalent social issues related to race & injustice.
The 2019 Intercultural Innovation Award (IIA) Ceremony served as a celebration of the most innovative grassroots projects that encourage intercultural dialogue around the world.
The award, a partnership between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group, selects and supports projects that work toward a more peaceful and socially inclusive world by building mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious identities, rejecting violent extremism and embracing diversity.
Darkspark was one of ten selected organizations recognized worldwide for the award, following a competitive selection process with over 1,200 applications received from 128 countries.
The Intercultural Innovation Award supports Darkspark extending its unique accomplishment and method with The Four Directions Project to other racialized youth and communities world-wide. Diverse Youth from across Canada participate in Darkspark’s award-winning methodology which uses education, community building and empowerment through music to help promote cross-cultural understanding and dialogue around prevalent social issues related to race & injustice.
The Four Directions Project, a cross-cultural Canadian colonial history project that elevates the voices and perspectives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth through music and digital story-telling, contributes to an important cross-cultural conversation across Canada, inspiring audiences to listen, learn, understand and actively invest in recovery and reconciliation.
Darkspark’s innovative method of community building, education and empowerment through music and media used in the project has created a blueprint to help and empower communities globally.After criscrossing Canada and hosting Four Directions project in places like Comox Valley BC, Rankin Inlet NU and Potlotek, NS, the project wrapped up in Tyendinaga as students from the Quinte Mohawk School showcased their songs and a short documentary Tuesday evening.
“Darkspark is being recognized on this global stage because of the voices and bravery of youth from across Canada.” explained Lisle, “Their willingness to share their stories has led to this award, which will allow us to tackle new issues and expand our work internationally. We are extremely grateful for this opportunity, and for the community support that has gotten us here.”
In addition to global recognition, the award provides access to resources including mentorship, funding to help expand and replicate projects, workshop and networking opportunities, detailed needs assessment and planning resources. For more information, please visit www.darkspark.org .