The World Children’s Festival 2015; My Interview with Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq

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Ashfaq IshaqThe World Children’s Festival 2015 will run from June 30 through July 4th in Washington DC.  Taking place once every four years, the Festival brings children from all over the world to collaborate, create and have fun.  Put on by the International Child Art Foundation; the event has been taking place since 1999 when it was billed as the “Olympics” of children’s imagination. 

I was able to stop Ashfaq Ishaq, Ph.D., Producer and Founder, World Children’s Festival and Chairman of the International Child Art Foundation, long enough to ask him a few questions about the festival and how those of us in toys, media and play might get involved.  Prior to exploring his passion for children and creativity, Dr. Ishaq worked for the World Bank and taught at George Washington University.  A recipient of The Ziegfeld Award of the United States Society for Education Through Art and the Distinguished Service Award of the United States Sports Academy, he served as one of the five international judges appointed by the United Nations who selected the final design for the Slavery Memorial at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Here is my interview with Dr. Ishaq:

Richard:        

I see that children from over 70 countries are expected to attend.  How many children do you expect and how are they chosen?

 Dr. Ishaq:

The official WCF delegates and their parents and teachers number about 2,000. These are the new makers and creators, trendsetters in their schools and communities. They are the winners of the Arts Olympiad, our global initiative that has grown into the world’s largest children’s art program.

Joining these amazing visual artists are extraordinary performing artists and musicians, representing different genres and world cultures. In addition, the WCF at The Ellipse, near The White House, is free and open to the public. We are expecting thousands to be in attendance in the free area.

Richard:        

What are some ways that individuals and companies can get involved with the Festival?

Dr. Ishaq:

Companies and families can avail several exciting opportunities. For example, a company can make its mark at The Ellipse as a WCF sponsor. This could be a timely opportunity for new product launch, feedback from a ‘global focus group,’ and emotional branding. A company can also make an in-kind or cash donation for tax-deduction purposes and to be listed as supporter.  The ICAF is independently ranked among the Top 25 Children’s Charities in the United States.  Families can enjoy a transformative experience free-of-charge. Experts can apply to host a workshop. We really need to know what a company’s goals are so we could work together to achieve them at the WCF.  

Richard:        

Whom we should contact if we want to be involved or simply attend?

Dr. Ishaq:

Interested companies can contact Alexandra Borchardt at wcf@icaf.org or call us at (202) 530-1000.  The WCF is a unique opportunity for professionals working on products and media for children to come to better know their customers and avail an opportunity to interact with them.

Richard:        

I am fascinated by the combination of sports, play, art, music and more.  How do you pull those various themes together in one conference?

Dr. Ishaq:

We have pioneered the concept of STEAMS Education, the integration of STEM disciplines with art and culture (signified by the "A") and sport and play (the "S") for children's holistic development. The WCF showcases STEAMS Education with workshops and activities on many different subjects hosted by international educators and domain experts.  

 In a setting of global community, the production and displays of children’s amazing works, the electrifying performances by young musicians and dancers, the workshops and activities hosted by international educators, and the co-production of peace murals by professional artists and children from conflict zones will collectively create a synesthetic experience—a total work of art. The WCF2015 will become a celebration of “Creativity, Diversity and Unity” to inspire the young and the old.

Richard:        

The event is billed as the “Olympics” of children’s imagination.  Are there winners and if so how are they chosen?

 Dr. Ishaq:

 The WCF is truly the “Olympics” of children’s imagination and co-creation. It is their festival. They emcee it and they stage it. The competition took place last year at the U.S. state level and at participating country level to select the Arts Olympiad winnersThe competition is taking place currently among the performers and musicians who have applied because only a small number are selected to showcase their talents on the “World Stage” at the WCF. But when these creatives convene at the WCF on June 30th at The Ellipse, competition turns into cooperation because our aim is to nurture collaborative creativity and develop empathy. As you know, creativity and empathy are key attributes of successful learners and leaders.

Richard, it will be a pleasure to see you at the WCF and meet some of your colleagues interested in leveraging our unique experience and expertise and the global network we have built over the past 18 years to grow their business.

 

 

 

One thought

  1. Thanks for getting the word out Richard!
    I wanted to extend a personal invitation to join me at the 5th World Children’s Festival (WCF2015). I don’t want you to miss the opportunity to become involved in this global event because like the Olympics, it only happens once every 4 years! The ICAF is a 501(c)(3) and ranks among the 25 Top Children’s Charities in the US. A total of ~5 million children worldwide have participated in and benefited from the ICAF Programs, festivals and exhibitions. The U.S. Olympic Committee has granted the ICAF an exclusive license to use the “Arts Olympiad” and related marks and is a co-insured party at the WCF, as is the United States government.
    The International Child Art Foundation (ICAF), which is part of the WCF, is the world leader in children’s art. ICAF nurtures the whole child with a focus on ‘STEAMS’ (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math and Sports), adding Arts and Sports to ‘STEM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). It is a 501(c)(3).
    I’d love to hear from anyone interested in joining the Host Committee and becoming a Sponsor. Host Committee members can speak at the Opening or Closing Ceremonies on the world stage in front of thousands of people, after being introduced by the kids! Opening ceremonies are June 30th at 10 am, the Awards Dinner Banquet is July 3 at 6 pm. There are also opportunities for a limited number of people on the Host Committee to speak on July 1st or 2nd at 10 am.
    Children’s Delegations are coming from the U.S., Japan, China, Sweden, Germany, Ukraine, Russia Belarus, Bulgaria, Turkey, Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, UAE, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, and more!
    Intellectual Property rights for the ICAF Brand and the largest collection of children’s artwork in the world are now available through Becker Associates LLC ~ email WCF2015@BeckerAssoc.com. Remember the UNICEF ties? That was artwork licensed from ICAF.
    For more details or to make a donation, please contact: WCF2015@BeckerAssoc.com.
    Thank you for your generous support for ‘our’ kids everywhere!
    All the best!
    Patti

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