On March 26th, the International Film Festival for Women, Social Issues & Zero Discrimination (IFFWSZ) held its 8th annual awards in Jakarta, Indonesia, celebrating International Women's Day (March 8) and Anti-Discrimination Day (March 21).
This year, the IFFWSZ presented the International Woman of Inspiration award to the American film director and philanthropist, Cheryl Halpern.
“I am humbled to be the recipient of this award,” said Mrs. Halpern who has been producing and directing humanitarian themed films for many years. As a personal response to the international recognition that she has received as an award winning filmmaker, Cheryl Halpern founded the Visions of a Peaceful Tomorrow Initiative (VOPI), a not for profit organization to inspire young people to express their views about tolerance and peace through the arts.
The VOP hopes to stimulate youth to consider and channel their ideas with regard to respect and peaceful coexistence through the variety of art modalities including drawing, poetry, song, dance and film. Young people under the age of 18 participate in this endeavor through their schools and social organizations. Tens of thousands of youngsters have been motivated by the VOPI that has gone viral in the past several months here in Indonesia. Mrs. Halpern explained, “I know of no other country with ‘Unity through Diversity, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika’ as its national motto. In today’s world marked by rising extremism, neo-Nazism, and intolerance, this Indonesian motto needs to be promoted. Through their artistic expressions of a vision for a more peaceful tomorrow the youth can help develop a more tolerant state of mind for themselves and their peers. I look forward to seeing their creative presentations and hope that they will integrate the goals of the VOPI into their daily lives as they mature.”
Damien Dematra, founder and director of International Film Festival for Women, the Social Issues & Zero Discrimination (IFFWSZ) commented, “Cheryl Halpern deserves to receive the award for inspiring the younger generations to use their own creativity in order to become more aware of their own perspectives with regard to humanity, peace and respect for one another regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion.” Mrs. Halpern is one of the first non Indonesian citizens to be recognized with this award.
Previously, IFFWSZ and its parent festival Group, International Festivals Group (IFG) have given the International Inspiration Awards to the Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the Minister of Social Affairs Dra. Hj. Khofifah Indar Parawansa, M.Sc, and the Minister of Environment and Forestry Dr. Ir. Siti Nurbaya Bakar, M.Sc.
The event was conducted by IFG in collaboration with the National Gathering of Kings and Sultans of Nusantara (Silatnas) and the International Humanitarian Activist Network (JAKI) .The event was co-sponsored by the Creative People's Council, the Film Festivals Alliance, and the International Women Empowerment Organization.