Colin Harbinson


The Festivals

International Arts Festival
Festivals create the opportunity to celebrate life affirming values, bringing joy and hope into people’s hearts. Redemptive ideas and values are affirmed in a language that is culturally acceptable and understandable. Partnering with national leaders in Russia, Bulgaria and China, IFA brought together artists currently working in film, dance, theatre, fine art, and
music, for a major international cultural exchange.

Sacred Fire, St. Petersburg, Russia, 1991-92
The Sacred Fire Festival, held in St. Petersburg, drew over twenty-five thousand Russians to a wide range of activities. One concert, introduced excerpts from Handel’s Messiah for the first time in over seven decades!

Love Without Borders, Sofia, Bulgaria, 1994
Following an official invitation by the Vice-president of Bulgaria, the Love Without Borders Festival officially opened with a glorious rendition of Mozart's Requiem. IFA soloists and conductor performed together with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and the Obretenov Choir, to a rare standing ovation.

Ode to Joy, Kunming, China, 1999
At the request of Chinese government and arts leaders, International Festival of the Arts held the “Ode To Joy” festival in China–the largest of its kind in the history of the nation. The festival which featured a special focus on China’s minority people and children with special needs, included 43 different seminars, masterclasses and workshop.

International Festival of the Arts (IFA)–The Concept

Mission Statement
The mission of International Festival of the Arts (IFA) is to establish relationship with nations in transition, partnering with them to affirm spiritual and moral values that celebrate beauty, meaning and hope.

Nations in Transition
Transition characterizes our world, and many nations have become the theatre for dramatic and unpredictable change. History is being made and, as always, ideas and values will determine what course it will take.

Moral Integrity
For many of these nations, the shift toward democracy and a free market system has proven to be complicated and difficult. Social upheaval, and economic hardship threaten to reverse the process. Moral integrity must be affirmed in every area of life, if lasting change is to occur.

Spiritual Values
Nations seeking to restore and renew their societal structures and values, are searching for a meaningful value system. Hope does not lie in the assimilation of Western culture. Transcendent values must be affirmed and expressed within their own cultural framework.

The Arts & Cultural Exchange
Cultural exchange enables IFA to establish dialogue with governmental, intellectual, artistic, and societal leaders in a nation. International festivals are the catalyst for this exchange. The arts are the international language through which IFA explores, affirms, and celebrates moral and spiritual values, and cultural identity. Artists from the world of classical and contemporary music, theatre, dance, film, and the visual arts, perform and exhibit alongside artists from the host country. They are joined by other members of the international community committed to serve through professional and educational partnership.

Dignity and hope come when people develop the understanding and skills necessary to steward their own natural resources and gifts. Nations in transition need partnership and training in areas of felt need. These include issues related to education, the environment, the medical arts, technology, business, and special needs children. For partnership to be established, bridges of understanding must first be built. There is a need to discover innovative and creative ways to establish dialogue that will lead to friendship, trust, and opportunities to serve.

Relief & Development
Festivals include collaborative activities focused on relief, development, and children in need. Trust is built. Partnerships are formed. Strategies are developed. Renewed and empowered people are equipped to bring sustainable development.

Children are the future of the nations. IFA has a special focus on the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of children, in order to give them a future and a hope. Festival leaders coordinate with the relevant authorities to assess issues relating to orphans, special education and medical care. Agencies and individuals form partnerships, to assist with both urgent and developmental needs.

Assessment & Networking
Research and assessment lead to practical implementation through a combination of networking and partnership agreements. In this way, felt needs and resources are brought together in a strategic manner. IFA is strongly
positioned to accomplish this, because of its strong international network of contacts.

Education and Training
Festivals have a strong educational component. Education and training take place in the host nation prior to, during, and following an IFA Festival. In this way, renewed and empowered people are equipped to bring sustainable restoration to their own nation.IFA believes in the importance of education and training and partners with Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss. and other national and international educational institutions.

IFA develops and implements training programs, lecture tours, educational exchanges, and special delegations related to festivals and other training programs around the world.

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