Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 57

experience face-to-face interaction, that Fellowship in 2011 to pursue his Master's
changes so much an individual's perspec- degree in folklore at UNC-Chapel Hill.
His path ultimately led to Jonesbortive on the world. When they have their
voice heard, it is the first step to saying the ough, where he was tapped in 2013 to
voice matters. If we want to foster a listen- take over the ISC when founder Jimmy
ing culture, then we must first listen to our Neil Smith retired.
Moving into a small community at first
young people."
Sirah submitted a digital storytelling challenged Sirah and opened his eyes to
initiative based on the concept of "Sto- new stories along the way.
"I grew up by the ocean. All my life I
ries for Change" for a prestigious International Peace Award that recognizes in- always knew which direction the sea was.
novation and creative approaches to help I could tell the type of day because of
dismantle armed conflict and political the smell of salt in the air and the sound
violence across societies. It won the award of seagulls. I always sensed the sea and
in May and Sirah is presenting at the In- breathed with the sea. When I moved to
Chapel Hill, I missed it a
ternational Day of Peace
lot. When I was about to
at the United Nations in
More than 10,000 people
come to east Tennessee, I
Geneva this September.
come to Jonesborough,
was told to 'listen to the
Sirah earned a bachTennessee for the National
magic of the mountains.'
elor's degree in art and deStorytelling Festival each
October.
I thought, 'yeah, right,'"
sign from Wolverhampton
says Sirah.
University and a master's
"I went to go on a hike
degree in museum, gallery and heritage studies from Newcastle at Roan Mountain. I walked 100 feet and
University. He served as the first learning stopped. I didn't know what to do. I didn't
and access curator at the St. Mungo Mu- know how to read the country code. I
seum of Religious Life and Art in Glasgow, freaked out. Now it's kind of cool and I
Scotland, before receiving a Rotary Peace love it. I spent three nights on the Appala-

Sirah. "When you wake up and continually have around you the mindset that
you are not good enough, you join groups
that make you vulnerable. When you shift
the narrative, you can empower young
people to feel included. Young people are
the same all over the world. When they

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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
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 8
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 36
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - Cover4
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