"Communities, Disaster & Change" is a traveling exhibition coordinated by the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive, in Valdez, Alaska. It provides a twist on the fiftieth anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake commemoration through its connection with other communities and other disasters. The exhibit will travel around the state as well as to Oregon, and Hawaii. The full travel schedule and complete online gallery of the exhibit can be seen here.

This blog serves as a place to host a global conversation about the indomitable nature of the human spirit and communities' reactions to change, how they survive disaster and how they rebuild for the future. We hope this can be a tool for people like you, all across the world, to reach out and share your stories on survival and the will to carry on.

If you have seen the exhibit whether online or in person we want to know your reaction to the work of these twenty-eight Alaskan artists. Please join us in an ongoing conversation, and chime in with your thoughts, views and your personal stories of your community, disaster, and change.

25 August 2015

Art Therapy Working in Saudi Arabia


Dr. Awad Al-Yami, an art therapist trained at the University of Pennsylvania, dedicates his life to rehabilitating terrorists through art therapy, counseling, and religion. The therapeutic center is called Mohammad Bin Naif Counseling Center located in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh. The compound, once a holiday resort, is home to a golf course and swimming pool.
Since 2008, the center boasts 3,000 Saudi men have graduated from the program. 120 of these graduates are from Guantanamo Day Prison. This terrorism rehab center claims to have a success rate of 80 percent. Prisoners with only non violent crime convictions are allowed at the rehabilitation center. Dr. Awad Al-Yami has pioneered a program so unique to such a conservative country where some say drawing is a sin. The inmates wall of paintings and drawings are evidence enough that this type of therapy can work for some young, non-violent prisoners.

Dr. Awad Al-Yami says about twenty percent leave the center to return to fighting but that is still far less than do not. He prepares himself for the new generation of ISIS terrorists that are more extreme than Al Qaeda. Members of ISIS currently serving time will attend the center after their sentences. Dr. Awad Al -Yami wonders what he will do with this new generation? Will he be successful? Are these tactics not tough enough for young ISIS? Can programs involving art therapy really help rehabilitate such extreme criminals?

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