The Dignity Project: Meet Our Instructors! Saba Ismail & Florence Montmare

The Dignity Project is a digital storytelling course for young women of South Asian origin, which consists of 4 workshops which will be held at Lower East Side Girls Club, Manhattan, New York, on four consecutive Saturdays starting on October 6th. We have decided to extend the application deadline by two weeks, so feel free to apply until September 24th. Without further ado, we would like for you to meet our instructors: Saba Ismail and Florence Montmare.

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Saba Ismail

Saba Ismail is a feminist, peace activist, and working for the empowerment of young women. At the age of 15, with other young women fellows she co-founded "Aware Girls" (www.awaregirls.org); a young women - led organization working for empowering young women in Pakistan. The organization works by strengthening the leadership capacity of these young women, enabling them to work for social change and women’s empowerment. They advocate for equal access to health, education, governance, political participation, and social services. The organization is active in a context of militancy and religious extremism, complicated by poor governance, poverty and low literacy. The young women of Aware Girls engage in programs in which young people are prevented to join militant groups, create open spaces for dialogue, revitalize indigenous culture destroyed by militants and promote nonviolence and pluralism in the community. Saba supported the idea of strengthening girls’ voices to bring prosperity in her community, and firmly believes that change has to come through the younger generation.

Under Saba’s leadership, Aware Girls in Pakistan ran several workshops on Digital Storytelling for girls. This enabled the girls to process complicated problems affecting their lives and give voice to their concerns, while teaching them digital skills, thus empowering them with new tools to address any issue. (See some of the videos here: https://vimeo.com/131196302 and https://vimeo.com/131195082.) Saba has been appointed by the UN General Secretary as a member of the Advisory Group for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security and been awarded the Chirac Prize for Conflict prevention. Foreign Policy Magazine acknowledged her bravery and activism by recognizing her as one of 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013 and has been acknowledged in the “30 under 30 Campaign by the National Endowment for Democracy for her long struggle for democracy, peace and women’s rights.

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Florence Montmare

Florence Montmare is an artist, photographer and director, whose creative search has drawn her across the globe. Born in Vienna and raised in Stockholm by Swedish and Greek parents, she graduated with an MBA in Innovation & Design Management in Sweden. Subsequently, she worked for several years as a creative consultant in advertising. Seeking a new challenge, she took $200 and a single suitcase with her to New York City, transitioning simultaneously from the corporate to the fine art world. She traveled South America with only her Nikon F-301, a backpack full of TRI-X, and a diary and worked with international creative agencies and artists. After graduating from the International Center of Photography, New York, and working with fine art projects in Paris, Florence established her studio practice in New York and Stockholm. She makes photographs, films, installations and creative content, campaigns, television and film, while exhibiting her work at galleries internationally. Most of Florence’s work is process based — from concept to performance. Her writing, photography, video, performance, and installations are all utilized. Her fragmented stories function as a catalyst for the viewer’s personal fantasies, an open door into one’s own self discovery. See Florence’s work through this link: www.florencemontmare.com.