Concert of Colors Forum on Community, Culture & Race: NO WAR ANYWHERE | How Artists Are Advocating for Peace

6-8 p.m. ET Monday, July 18, 2022
Concert of Colors Forum on Community, Culture & Race: NO WAR ANYWHERE | How Artists Are Advocating for Peace

In-person at The Annex @ AANM OR virtual via online livestream

Register for in-person attendance OR Register for virtual attendance 

The Concert of Colors Forum on Community, Culture & Race, one of the Arab American National Museum’s signature annual events, is a dynamic gathering of artists, activists and advocates who use art and dialogue as a tool for advocacy and community building. This year’s program will be presented both in person and virtually online.

The Forum will feature Charles Ezra Ferrell as keynote speaker, along with panelists/performers Frank Waln, Heather Raffo, Iryna Kanishcheva, Ahmad Sarmast and moderator Matthew Jaber Stiffler.

All AANM guests are required to show proof of full vaccination, remain masked, and fill out a health screening form upon check-in in order to attend this event.

Concert of Colors, Detroit’s annual diversity festival, will be happening July 16-24! More info + full concert lineup

Charles Ezra Ferrell is Co-Director of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center of Nurturing Community Leadership, and he is a Strategic Relationship Development Consultant for Charity Consultants, International. He is also an Advisory Board member for the Concert of Colors, as well as a member of The Walter Rodney Foundation, the General Baker Institute, the University of Michigan General Baker Memorial Scholarship Committee, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and the Association of African American Museums.

Ferrell previously served as Senior Vice-President for Development and Global Programs at Keiga Foundation and as Vice-President for Public Programs and Community Engagement at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Prior to his non-profit work, Ferrell held various executive management positions as CEO, president, director and consultant in information technology, personal protective equipment and strategic management consulting. Ferrell is also a published artist, poet, writer, social justice activist and devoted husband and father.

Image of person with pale skin and shoulder-length blonde hair standing in front of a white and black artwork.Iryna Kanishcheva is the founder and curator of several groundbreaking public art projects in the USA and her home country, Ukraine. Among them is the first urban art initiative in North Central Florida, 352walls. She is the founder of Monochronicle, an arts service organization and software dedicated to equitable solutions and public art industry development. Iryna is a recipient of the 2021 Business Arts Award, the 2015 Public Art Award, and the 2018 City Beautification Award. Iryna was published in Springer Scientific Journal, featured in Innovate Gainesville Book, and has contributed to numerous publications for the most relevant street art galleries on the web and in magazines such as Street Art United States, Instagrafite, Brooklyn Street Art, Graffiti Street, Urbanite, Street Art News, Graffiti Art Magazine, Stuart Urban Art Magazine, and more. 

Image of person with light skin and shoulder-length brown hair standing in front of a teal background.Heather Raffo is an award-winning playwright and actress whose work has taken her from the Kennedy Center to the U.S. Islamic World Forum, and from London’s House of Lords to stages nationally and internationally. An American with Iraqi roots, Raffo’s plays have been championed by The New Yorker as “an example of how art can remake the world” and have helped forge a whole new genre of Middle Eastern American theater. She is the author and performer of Noura (Weissberger, Helen Hayes award), 9 Parts of Desire (Lortel Award, Blackburn Commendation) and the opera Fallujah. Her newly released anthology, Heather Raffo’s Iraq Plays: The Things That Can’t Be Said, brings together Raffo’s groundbreaking contribution not only to the American Theater but gives voice to changing cultural and national identities in the decades since 9/11.

Picture of elderly man wearing a suit, tie, glasses and has a moustache and graying hair in front of a burgundy background. Dr. Ahmad Sarmast is founder and director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), which offers music education in Afghan and western classical music to students regardless of gender, ethnicity or social backgrounds. A musician and member of a renowned musical family, he fled his country in the 1990s, only returning when the nation was liberated from Taliban rule. Dr. Sarmast and ANIM are winners of the 2018 Polar Prize. He has also been named Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Music, London, and has received other international honors. Dr. Sarmast received his PhD in Music from Monash University in 2005, and a Bachelor and Master of Arts from the Moscow State Conservatory.

Image of person wearing a graphic shirt with hair styled in a braid.Frank Waln is an award-winning Lakota music artist, public speaker, curator and writer from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Described as “a masterclass in understanding the world from the viewpoint of Native America…”, Frank Waln’s powerful presentations and performances improve our understanding of our collective history and bring to light cultural strengths we can build on to create a more just world. As a self-managed artist and small business owner, Frank Waln utilizes the independent record label he founded, FDW Entertainment, to release award-winning music which has garnered millions of views, streams and shares throughout the world. As a curator, Frank Waln has worked with the Field Museum in Chicago to co-curate a music interactive space in the new Native American Exhibition Hall which will tell the story of how Lakota culture and Frank’s home community influence his work. Frank Waln’s music is available on all streaming platforms.

Dr. Matthew Jaber Stiffler is the Research & Content Manager at the Arab American National Museum (AANM).





This project is funded in part by Michigan Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Also made possible in part by




  • July 18, 2022 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • 6:00 pm

The Annex

The Annex @ AANM, a symbol of the Museum’s growing engagement with the community, opened in 2015. This space can accommodate large community groups, gatherings, events, performances and art displays.

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