The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics & The Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues at Georgetown University welcome Little Amal, internationally celebrated 12-foot puppet of 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, to the nation’s capital, Tuesday September 19, 2023.
AMAL WALKS ACROSS AMERICA
ONE LITTLE GIRL. ONE BIG HOPE.
The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics & The Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues welcomes Little Amal to the Nation’s Capitol on September 19th, the internationally celebrated 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, to the nation’s capital.
August 21, 2023 – The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (“The Lab”), The Collaborative on Global Childrens’ Issues at Georgetown University and key partners throughout the community will welcome Little Amal in the nation’s capital on Tuesday September 19. This special celebratory event is scheduled to begin at Freedom Plaza and to process to the grounds of the US Capitol (final permits pending), where Congressional Representatives will be invited to meet Amal.
Little Amal is the internationally celebrated 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl at the heart of The Walk. Beginning her journey from the Syrian border, she carries a message of hope for displaced people everywhere, especially children who have been separated from their families.
She has become a global symbol for human rights, especially those of refugees, as she made a 5,000-mile trek across Europe in 2021, welcomed in over 250 events along the way. This fall, she will embark on a 6,000-mile journey across the United States.
As a joint initiative of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and the Department of Performing Arts, with a mission to humanize global politics through performance, The Lab is uniquely positioned to welcome Amal, in cooperation with partners like the Collaborative, which fosters dialogue among scholars, policymakers and practitioners to build pathways of resilience for children in adversity.
Little Amal is known for bringing communities together as she travels alone through unfamiliar territories. Her visit in Washington includes welcome events with a variety of local partners, with a central visit to the Capitol on September 19; Little Shoes, Big Journeys, organized and produced by The Lab. In this large-scale community performance event, artists and supporters in D.C. will help Amal through a sea of emergency blankets to a river of shoes, carrying stories of millions of children on the move, fleeing violence, natural disasters, and poverty – seeking safety and protection within and across borders. The audience travels with Amal to the Capitol, where a bipartisan group of legislators are invited to greet her. Everyone is invited to attend and to participate in her walk to The Capitol.
Updates and details can be found on our official Little Amal page
The walk on the 19th will be followed by Children on the Move: A Policy & Learning Workshop, at Georgetown University, Copley Lounge on September 22, 10:00 am- 5:00pm. Of the estimated 281 million international migrants and refugees globally, 50 million are children. Worldwide, discourse on forced displacement and migration rarely focuses on children’s best interests, rights, and needs. This workshop, organized by The Collaborative, provides an opportunity to consider what child-sensitive policies and responses would look like within U.S. foreign and domestic policy contexts.
Lab Artistic and Executive Director Derek Goldman comments: “Like millions around the world, I have been so moved to meet Amal, to witness firsthand her power to bring people together across generations and cultures to engage with compassion. We at Georgetown and The Lab are honored to be among those who welcome Amal, as she so indelibly symbolizes hope for displaced people around the world, and for the countless children who have been forcibly separated from their families.”
During her 4-month journey across Europe in 2021, Amal was welcomed by hundreds of artists and civil society and faith leaders, including His Holiness Pope Francis, as well as legendary actors Jude Law and Mark Rylance, Speakers of both the House of Commons and House of Lords (U.K.), the Mayor of Marseilles, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. She was also invited by the Mayor of Lviv to visit refugees from the war currently raging in Ukraine. Amal’s walk covered a vast territory, including 65 villages, towns, and cities.
Now, Amal is walking across the United States to learn firsthand about a country that has long been a refuge for those seeking safety and opportunity – but is simultaneously struggling with how to manage long-standing issues related to immigration. Amal’s engagement with hundreds of communities across the country will help spark meaningful conversations to help us better understand who we are and where we come from. A full list of U.S. cities she will visit is available here.
“The story of the United States has been shaped by a complex history of migration and movement that touches every corner of the globe,” said The Walk Productions Artistic Director Amir Nizar Zuabi. “But the myriad challenges of today’s interconnected world are forcing many to revisit America’s status as the land of opportunity. Our hope for Amal is that she can spur conversations in communities across the country around the important role of refugees and newcomers in writing the ongoing story of the United States.”
As a public art project, among the largest ever produced, she has been heralded as “one of the most ambitious live artworks ever staged” (The Observer, 2021) and “an international symbol of human rights” (The Guardian, 2022).
In New York City last fall, The New York Times called Amal “the hottest celebrity in New York right now.” She was greeted by Mayor Eric Adams, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, actress Whoopi Goldberg and members of the NYC Council Women’s Caucus and participated in more than 50 events organized by artists and community groups across the five boroughs.
Little Shoes, Big Journeys, Amal’s visit to the Capitol is organized and produced by The Lab with the artistic direction of Associate Director, Emma Jaster. Founded in 2012 as a joint initiative of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and the Department of Performing Arts, The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics humanizes global politics through performance. With highly visible original productions, partnerships, and initiatives, The Lab cultivates a distinctive global community of collaborators that includes students, emerging and established artists, educators, policy leaders, and activists. Their work harnesses narrative, memory, and acts of witnessing with the aim of sparking transformation and change.
Amal Walks Across America is produced by The Walk Productions in association with Handspring Puppet Company.
The Walk Productions is led by David Lan and Tracey Seaward. Playwright/Director Amir Nizar Zuabi serves as Artistic Director, Sarah Loader is Executive Producer, and the Associate Artistic Directors are Khadijat Oseni and Enrico Dau Yang Wey.
The U.S. Producing Partner for Amal’s journey is THE OFFICE performing arts+film, a global producing and production company that leverages art for social good. Amal’s Impact and Outreach will be led by The Soze Agency, a social impact creative agency located in Brooklyn, NY. Marketing and advertising for Amal’s journey will be led by Cause Lab, a human-centered advertising agency.
Amal was designed and built by the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa, creators of the award-winning puppets for the hit show War Horse.
Amal Walks Across America was made possible with an inaugural investment from the Doris Duke Foundation, as well as leadership support from the Bezos Family Foundation.
Additional generous support was provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Choose Love, The Conrad Prebys Foundation, the Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, the McMillan Stewart Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, The Shapiro Foundation, and Students Rebuild.