International Cultural Arts Network
History of the Project
The Global Peace Initiative of Women: Iraq-US Summit: Creating A Common Future, New York, March, 2006 was an important, pivotal conference in establishing closer relations between our countries. Iraqi and American women came together with the clear intention of developing working relationships and collaborative projects for the future.
The International Cultural Arts Network: Iraqi / US Peace Initiative Art Exhibition is a project that grew out of the summit meeting. US Delegates Ed Agostini, Rosemary Lane, and Claudia Lefko and Iraqi Delegates Warda Pasquale and Lamia Al-Talabani formed this network to initiate arts projects that would generate hope, transcend barriers and foster goodwill.  Our stated goal, coming out of this meeting, was to promote deeper cultural understanding and appreciation through integrated Iraqi/American art exhibitions and artist exchange programs.
Mission of the Project
To foster international goodwill between America and Iraq through an art and artist exchange project that involves the artist’s work in Iraqi/American art exhibits accompanied by a high quality catalogue. In addition, the exhibiting artists will be involved in Visiting Artist programs with formal presentations, and other cultural exchange events.
1. To introduce both young as well as accomplished Iraqi and American artists and their art to each other and to the international community;
2. To foster dialogue and the exchange of creative ideas and experiences across cultural borders;
3. To celebrate cultural diversity, increase understanding and deepen appreciation of our differences;
4. To support Iraqi and American artists in the free exchange and the integration of aesthetic ideas;
5. To expand community enthusiasm, interaction, goodwill and support of the ICAN traveling show by including the display of local artists’ works from each exhibition venue.
6. To create cross-cultural artistic opportunities for creative exchange to promote openness and freedom of expression.
What is the International Cultural Arts Network doing right now?
Working collaboratively since the March conference, the Network has initiated the International Cultural Arts Network: Iraqi/USA Peace INitiative Art Exhibition.  We have brought to the United States, ten pieces of art by five Iraqi artists, chosen specifically for this show by Lamia Jamal Al-Talabani, the Iraqi artist serving as curator.
The show received enthusiastic praise when it was exhibited at Cab Calloway School, Wilmington early in December, 2007,
We have been reaching out to schools, colleges and university galleries and found there has already been considerable interest in our project by well respected institutions including The International Center, University of Delaware and Mount St. Mary’s College, Maryland We have a budget proposal, and are in the process of seeking outside funding support.
Other Activities of the International Cultural Arts Network:
1. Fundraising to support our proposed cultural exchange events.
2. Fundraising for art materials for Iraqi artists and art programs in Iraq.
3. Collaboration with the Iraqi Children’s Art Exchange Project.
4.  Collaboration with the Iraqi Young Artists’ Association and various American artists’ associations.  
5. Non-profit status achieved to qualify us for additional support.
6. Creating international memberships in ICAN available to those who are interested.
     In accomplishing our heart felt mission, to initiate the Iraqi /American arts exchange as a US traveling show, Bridge of Hope, with our Visiting Artist program, we are inspired by the words of Maysaloun Faraj:
“Art is at the heart of all cultures for it is the reflection of a people and their unique way of life.  Everything that surrounds us makes us and in effect makes the art works we create.  It is these actions that emanate from the depths of our souls that will
touch everyone, because it is from the heart that contact truly begins. Since the beginning of time, Art has been and still remains one of mankind’s most powerful means of communication and its impact, if used constructively, could prove colossal.”  
Maysaloun Faraj,
Author of Strokes of Genius,Contemporary Iraqi Art (2001)
Thank you for your kind consideration in support of this important and exciting cultural initiative between Iraqi and American artists.
Respectfully submitted,
Rosemary Lane, Coordinator of the
Founding Board for the Committee of the
International Cultural Arts Network (ICAN)
Lamia Jamal Talabani, Iraqi Founding Board Member
Ed Agostini, US Founding Board Member
Claudia Lefko, US Founding Board Member
Active Founding Board Members on the Committee of the
International Cultural Arts Network(ICAN)