Frankreich: Zarina Khan

The world has to give birth to its soul. Perhaps through theater. . . . Theater and cinema are a way to reach thousands, maybe even millions of people.

— Zarina Khan

Zarina Khan (born 1954), philosopher, poet, actor, theater and movie director is a true world citizen. In 1993, as war raged in Sarajevo, Zarina set up a workshop there. This gave rise to "The Dictionary of Life," a play that toured Europe, and has been renewed in new contexts in Beirut, the Balkans, and strife-ridden suburbs, wherever one struggles for human dignity. Author of several books on human rights, architect of many projects on children's rights, Zarina's articles on "a new way of teaching peace" have been published in many languages.

Zarina Khan was still a little girl when she understood what was important, even vital to her. In school one day, she pocketed a piece of chalk without permission. Her teacher followed her closely to see what she would do with it. Zarina drew a circle on the ground and stood in the middle, then invited other children into it to act out roles she had imagined. When asked what she was doing, she replied that she was playing. The word she used was right: Zarina was creating a play, a space to share emotions with others. "It is called theater." She studied human rights, specifically children's rights, and philosophy, which she still teaches. She put on her first play at the age of nine, just as she began writing poetry as soon as she had mastered the alphabet. She has persistently pursued both vocations. Her experience in philosophy, theater, and film led her to devise a method in writing workshops and theatrical practice, adapted to all levels from primary school to university. Over the past several years, Zarina has elaborated workshop productions throughout the world, thus encouraging cultural exchanges and understanding. In 1993, she set up the Theater and Liberty in War operation, implementing a writer's workshop in Sarajevo's war zone. This project gave rise to "The Dictionary of Life," a play which toured throughout Europe, enlightening audiences about the civic responsibility we all must bear. In 1995, Zarina was invited by Unesco to join a committee on the Culture of Peace. In 1996, she finished her feature film "Ados Amor" which she made with a group of teens living in a culturally and economically deprived environment. This film has been selected for festivals around the world, and is often showed during conferences against racism. Her documentary "Essabar or the Shelter of Being" was awarded First Prize at the Festival for Mental Health in France.

Zarina Khan Productions