Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 55

H

ow many of you consider
yourselves to be a storyteller?"
It's a question Kiran Singh
Sirah often asks when he
speaks to groups. He will nod
at the smattering of hands in
the air. Then he challenges the
others to realize that everyone has the potential to be a storyteller.
"The closest distance between all of us
is a story," says Sirah.
He's quick to point out that people use
more than words for storytelling. They tell their stories
through photography, quiltmaking, music traditions and
ballads, shaped note singing,
art and other methods.
"My brother is a chef,"
says Sirah. "It goes back four
years ago when his 10-yearold son said 'Why don't you
do something that makes
you happy?' My brother
started using our mother's
recipes. She taught us to cook
and told us stories about life
and families and traditions.

When he cooks now, in a way it's a form
of storytelling. He's sharing the story of
himself; telling the world who he is and
where he comes from."
As the President of the International
Storytelling Center (ISC) in Jonesborough,
Tennessee, Sirah is a long way from his native England. His parents arrived there as
refugees in 1972 as they fled from Uganda.
His mother is from Kenya, his father was
born in India, and his brother was born
in Uganda.

"My own family is a mini United Nations," he quips.
He understands geographic distance,
but he's also keenly aware of the divisions and distance between attitudes,
conflicts and clashing expectations in
today's society. He feels that the art of
storytelling is the vehicle toward peace
and understanding.
While it sounds good in theory-promoting storytelling as a vehicle to peace
and social justice-Sirah moves beyond
words to put the strategies
into motion. He's spoken at
the Library of Congress and
the Kennedy Center, and led
workshops and programs at
the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the U.S.
State Department and the
Pentagon, but he also creates
a chance for peace through
each interpersonal connection he has whether he's
saying "howdy y'all" to his
Jonesborough neighbors or
talking face-to-face with others in the global community

He's spoken at the Library of
Congress and the Kennedy
Center, and led workshops
and programs at the U.S.
Senate Foreign Relations
Committee...

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019

55


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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019

Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 12
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 17
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 20
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 44
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 47
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 72
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - Cover4
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