A unique showcase of international talent
Thank you for visiting our website and bringing support to this new Scottish based international cultural initiative. Beyond Borders is an international organization dedicated to facilitating dialogue and cultural exchange between small nations. Beyond Borders seeks to harness Scotland's unique heritage to provide a platform to cultural leaders from other iconic small nations from around the world to exchange experiences in an effort to promote understanding and help reduce conflict.
As I have travelled around the world on various human rights, humanitarian and cultural missions I have been struck by how deeply rooted and strong small nation cultures are, despite being often subject to persecution, occupation and conflict. Beyond Borders seeks to celebrate those cultures and help overcome conflict through dialogue and artistic exchange by using Scotland's own unique cultural and political heritage. It is extraordinary how many small nations look to Scotland as a shining example of what can be achieved. Scotland has managed to both protect its cultural identity and secure a unique non-violent devolved political settlement. It also has a wealth of artistic talent and elder statesman and women who have invaluable experience of the wider world. As such, it acts as a beacon to other nations and unrecognised peoples around the world seeking to protect their own way of life through non-violent ways.
Beyond Borders works across several different mediums including literature, performing arts, visual arts, heritage, film, politics and dialogue. It seeks to facilitate rather prescribe its cultural output. If it has an ideology it is to be innovative and collaborative in its endeavour. Throughout the 2011 Edinburgh Festival, Beyond Borders will be running events in relation to each medium. These events are scheduled to take place in Edinburgh and in the Scottish Borders at Traquair House and are designed to showcase the work of writers, intellectuals, artists, filmmakers and thought leaders of small nations to explore common themes about such topics as homelands, landscape, memory, dialogue and cultural reconciliation. We hope you find our 2011 Programme both innovative and stimulating. We intend to extend these events across Scotland in the coming years. Alongside these cultural events Beyond Borders will seek to roll out a number of dialogue events and small nation leadership exchanges with leaders of other nations by harnessing the expertise and unique experiences of our Board of Patrons, all of whom have held high public office either in Parliament, Government, International bodies and the Arts.
Beyond Borders is working closely with exceptional partner organisations, including the Scottish Parliament, Creative Scotland, Scottish PEN, the John Smith Memorial Trust, the Delfina Arts Foundation, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva, the Bar Human Rights Committee and with leading Scottish personalities such as Baroness Smith, Helena Kennedy QC, Des Browne, Sir Menzies Campbell MP, Lord Steel, Angus Robertson MP and many more. We also work with a range of national and international Non-Governmental Organisations to help showcase and explore Scotland's independent small nation culture as well as similar small nation or ethnic cultures around the world.
Through our activities this summer, we hope to achieve the following public benefits:
- Create a vibrant and permanent international platform within Scotland to help facilitate wider international cultural exchange, dialogue and reconciliation.
- Celebrate Scotland's independent cultural and political heritage in order to help it act as a non-violent beacon for other small nations caught up in conflict.
- Provide a platform for International Scottish writers, playwrights, artists and performers to showcase their work.
- Facilitate and increase cultural and recreational tourism to the Borders.
- Assist local businesses to increase their trading opportunities and revenue.
- Raise the profile of Traquair House nationally fulfilling public trust objectives.
- Promote diversity, multiculturalism and an understanding of other cultures and marginalised communities within the Scottish Borders.
If you are interested in supporting the work of Beyond Borders by becoming a Friend or joining our Scottish and International Committees or board of expert advisors please do not hesitate to contact us.
Mark Muller Stuart QC
Baroness Smith is the Chair of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and President of Scottish Opera. Her other positions include being an Advisory Council Member of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce and a Trustee of the Mariinsky Theatre Trust. She has unparalleled experience of Scottish cultural affairs.
Lord Steel is a Liberal Democrat peer. He was leader of the Liberal Party from 1976 until 1988 and the first Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament between 1999 and 2003. Both he and his wife Judy are strong supporters of the arts in the Borders. And he retains a deep interest in African affairs.
Sir Menzies Campbell MP CBE QC is the MP for North East Fife and was Leader of the Liberal Democrats from March 2006 until October 2007. He is also a prominent advocate, Chancellor of the University of St. Andrews, and was a successful Olympic athlete. He has extensive experience of foreign affairs.
Helena Kennedy QC is one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers. She has spent her professional life championing civil liberties and promoting human rights. She is also a former Chair of the British Council and a trustee of the British Museum with enormous experience of international cultural affairs.
Angus Robertson is Scottish National Party (SNP) and Member of Parliament (MP) for Moray having first been elected in 2001. Robertson is the SNP Parliamentary (Westminster Group) Leader and Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and for Defence and retains an abiding interest in small nation dialogue.
Des Browne was a Labour MP from 1997 to 2010 and a member of the Cabinet under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, serving as both Defence and Scottish Secretary until 2008. He also served as a minister in Northern Ireland and has extensive experience in conflict resolution, Scottish constitutional and legal affairs.
Sir Kieran Prendergast is a seasoned British diplomat, who was born in Scotland, and served as Ambassador in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Turkey until 1997-05 when he became Under- Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the UN. In 2005 Kofi Annan thanked him for his "outstanding service" and "invaluable advice." He is currently a Senior Advisor to the Centre.
Beyond Borders Team
- Mark Muller QC – Executive Director
- Aaron Cezar – Director of Visual Arts
- Catherine Muller Stuart – Director of Heritage
- Martin Griffiths OBE - Director of Dialogue
- Allan Marson - Director of Development
- Catherine Smith - Director of Advocacy
- David Packard - Photography Consultant
- Caroline McCormick – International Literary Consultant
- Sylvia Whitman - Festival Consultant
- Mark Cousins - Film Consultant
- Margaret Lee – Website Consultant
- Jason McCue – Conflict Consultant
- Ajanta Kaza - Legal Consultant
- Anna Irvin – Project Director
- Izabella Scott – Project Coordinator
- Christopher Muller Bennet – Logistics
- Andy Connolly –Research & Development