New Haven Festival Opens Dialogue on Global Identities and Local Heroes

What: International Festival of Arts & Ideas

When: Saturday, June 27th

Where: New Haven, Connecticut

Why: For the past 14 years, the International Festival of Arts & Ideas has paired arts programming with a plethora of panels and conversations on current and international affairs. While the world is in a constant state of change, the tragic series of events that have unfolded in recent weeks and days allows this year’s festival themes of Global Identities and Local Heroes to resonate with heartbreaking significance. “We look to the festival’s global storytellers to uncover universal narratives and celebrate the richness of myriad perspectives,” said Mary Lou Aleskie, the annual event’s executive director. True to this, festival goers have a cultural panorama of exhibitions to visit this Saturday, spanning theater, dance, opera, music, and programs about the ideas behind these arts.

Whether you’re a commuter from New Haven or you’re looking for an enlightening experience, spend this Saturday enjoying a full range of indoor and outdoor events beginning at 10:00 a.m. with a free walking tour. You’ll discover local Farmers’ Markets, Botanical Gardens, acclaimed architecture, and charming neighborhoods. At both 1:00 and 6:00 p.m., you can take in a preview performance of The Good Dance-dakar Brooklyn before it hits BAM’s New Wave Festival this fall. The show’s Brooklyn-based choreographer Reggie Wilson and Congolese choreographer Andreya Ouamba of Dakar, Senegal have created a contemporary dance about the cultures and ideas about the Congo and Mississippi rivers.

If you opt for the later show, check out the two hour Savory & Sweet foodie tour at 1:00 p.m. to explore the food scene unique to New Haven. Or in a bring-your-own-bike event, choose to pedal with guides from Elm City Cycling for a bike tour of New Haven and its neighboring communities. In connection with Extremely Hungary—a year-long festival showcasing contemporary Hungarian Arts—see a 3:00 p.m. show with the Katona József theater company as they take on Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov.

At 7:00 p.m. listen in on a panel discussion, “A Look at the Obama Presidency” lead by New York Times managing editor Jill Abramson who will moderate a slew of notable professors from Yale, Princeton, and George Mason. After a long day of engagements, it’s only fitting that dancing should close out the festival with Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars and Bio Ritmo. With such a great roster of global and local talent on the agenda for this weekend, it’s time to arrange your affairs and head north. Will you be there?

Cost: Free and varied

How to Get There: Take the Metro-North Railroad, on the New Haven Line, to the New Haven station. Visit the Metro-North website for scheduling information. Click on the website below for specific directions to festival events. (

Photo: Courtesy of the Unites States Government