The Social Justice Commission was formed in 2016, at the UNIMA Congress in Tolosa, Spain.
UNIMA is one of the oldest international theatre organizations in the world. In 2019 it will celebrate its 90th anniversary. The Union Internationale de la Marionette (UNIMA) is a Non-Governmental Organization affiliated to UNESCO. Its members who come from all over the world contribute to the development of puppetry art.
This organization and art form allows us to promote the noblest human values such as peace and mutual understanding between people regardless of origin, political or religious convictions and differences in culture, in accordance with the respect for fundamental human rights as defined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10th, 1948. Present in more than 90 countries, UNIMA is a platform to exchange and to share between people who practice puppetry, research and document its history and who are passionate about this art form.
As the commission progresses, meeting on the net or in person, the aims and objectives will grow or get edited according to the members of this commission.
“The tenets of social justice behold us to work actively to see that everyone has liberty and equal rights, to explore one´s aspirations, creativity and livelihood.”
In the socio-political reality of the world we live in, everyone doesn’t have the access to equal opportunities to pursue their interests. The reasons behind this can be historical, structural and thus complex; an interplay of multiple issues such as social, cultural, ideological, economic, religious, racial, caste, gender-informed, sexuality, etc. Vast and all encompassing as it may seem, each is governed by its own immediate and unique socio-cultural reality. Thus it becomes important to investigate and identify issues and points that lead to such barriers and articulate ways and delineate means to overcome them.
The “Commission of Social Justice” of UNIMA-International is committed to actively engage in this pursuit with specific concerns for the puppeteers around the world and provide means where ever possible, to overcome such boundaries and provide equal opportunities. It aims to do it by acknowledging and supporting efforts by individuals, groups and institutions who have contributed towards investigating, researching, advocating, promoting and providing patronage; thus creating an environment for equal opportunity to puppeteers, their communities and aspirants.
Some of the immediate ideas/aims and mission being
- Grant awards of recognition of merit. The commission will mutually decide the criteria for the same, and will send out a call for nominations from members around the world. And select the best possible candidates, who fit the criteria for the same. (This is not a competition but recognition of work done).
- Emphasis on good practice within our national centers to be encouraged, and publicize national centers that create an atmosphere of and for such practices.
- UNIMA is a part of UNESCO and hence needs to work within the parameters established. However the truth being that the world is changing very fast and at times opinions might differ, we need to take into consideration wherever possible and whatever is tangible, that each country and hence each national center may have various ways of operating.
- Research into communities which have problems in propagating their art in certain situations, this can only be at an academic level, for persons to refer to in their studies in puppet theatre research and documentation.
A quote found on the net, which we all need to reflect upon.
“Tolerance isn’t about not having beliefs, Its about how your beliefs lead you to treat people who disagree with you”, Timothy Keller.