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Wick Poetry Center News

Vietnamese Dignitaries Visit Kent State as Part of Speak Peace Poetry Initiative

Posted Nov. 8, 2010

Kent State recently hosted three visiting dignitaries from Vietnam in conjunction with an international collaborative art project that debuted in Kent in September.

Speak Peace: American Voices Respond to Vietnamese Children's Paintings, the Vietnamese Children's Art Exhibit in partnership with Vietnam's War Remnants Museum, is the result of a collaborative, international exchange between image and word, showcasing the visions of Vietnamese children and the power of poetry to promote healing and reconciliation.

The exhibit, which debuted in the United States at Kent State's Downtown Gallery, was featured at the 2010 International Peace and War Summit, which was held at Case Western Reserve University in late October. The Speak Peace exhibit has now moved on to travel nationally.

The idea for the art project grew out of the lifelong, innovative work of Dr. Edward Tick, co-founder of Soldier's Heart, a veterans return and healing organization based in Albany, N.Y. Tick, whose organization has led numerous healing and reconciliation journeys to Vietnam, has sought for years to bring these children's paintings on peace and war to the United States to help facilitate healing and cross-cultural understanding. Two Kent State students, Gabrielle Ciofani and Laura Torchia, were among a group of about 25 area veterans and community members who recently returned from a three-week trip to Vietnam.

Other speakers at the evening program included Tick, area veterans and Hiram College students in a dramatic performance of Speak Peace.

"We are celebrating the collaborative project with their country, welcoming back the veterans and Kent State students, and honoring our guests," says David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center.

For more information on Speak Peace, contact Rachelle Chavez at the Wick Poetry Center at or 330-672-2067.