We interviewed the renowned Chilean actress and playwright Paulina Hunt on the occasion of her recent appointment as Ambassador for Peace by the World Organization for Peace, given that her trajectory has contributed notably to the advancement of non-violence and peace in many different areas.
Pressenza: Paulina, although we have interviewed you many times and we are well aware of all that you have been contributing for years to the advancement of reconciliation, peace and nonviolence not only in our country but also in other Latin American places, we would like you yourself to give us a brief overview of the significant contributions you have been making. Can you tell us a little about your history in this regard?
Paulina Hunt: First of all, Pía, thank you very much for giving us this space to make visible actions that guide the lives of hundreds and thousands of people in our beloved Latin America. We aspire to “live in peace” and we recognise that Active Nonviolence is the only methodology of action that is coherent with this. Indeed, together with a large network of friends and like-minded organisations, many of which have been inspired by the orientations of the great masters of Nonviolence, such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and especially on this side of the world: Silo. This is how we have dedicated a lifetime to study the subject and to develop actions that promote Nonviolence and Peace. And I would like to emphasise two main pillars of Nonviolence, which is by the way a very broad and complex subject; the first is that any action from Nonviolence is from the collective, since the strength of Nonviolence is the joint, is the organisation, is the creation of networks, and even more the network of networks; and the other fundamental thing is the imperious search to deactivate one’s own internal violence.
And I have no choice but to expand a little, to answer this question fully, since I have spent a lifetime dedicated to the subject.
I will tell you about the activities:
- (2020-2021) I am part of the team that is setting up a Park of Studies and Reflection El Remanso in the area of Curicó in the centre-south of Chile, which includes a temple of encounter and meditation. A space where we promote the deepening of the overcoming of one’s own internal violence and the access to spaces of inner peace.
- (2012-until now) From the Pedagogical Theatre Office, of which I am founder and creative director, we develop training projects with innovative methodologies focused on the development of a “Culture of good treatment and non-violent communication”, oriented to the prevention of bullying, abuse and harassment at work and sexual harassment; activities carried out for the public administration, schools and some areas of the private sector especially with a social focus.
- (2007- up to now) as a playwright and actress of theatre plays on the subject, one of which has been performed for 14 years without interruption: the one-woman show “Ciclo, la Violencia se Aprende y la No Violencia También” (Cycle, Violence can be learnt and Nonviolence too).
- (2000 – until now) Nonviolence Workshops in which we include Theatre: Principles of Nonviolence, Nonviolence and Reconciliation, in various territories in Chile and Latin America and also on the other side of the “pond” in Europe. These workshops are permanent, and include the training of trainers, so that the experience is multiplied.
- (2019) I am part of the promoting team of the IV Latin American Humanist Forum “Building Convergences”.
- (2010-2015) Invisibles for Peace, I promoted and took part in these actions inspired by performances carried out in different latitudes, in which we went out to march for Peace, disarmament and Nonviolence in white suits and neutral masks, in total silence, with a very powerful ritual character. Each participant would poem a giant letter until the phrase Nonviolence was completed.
- (2010-2012) Frozen for Peace, I promoted a group of activists who carried out street actions in which we were literally “frozen” with the technique of statuary (i.e., a body gesture is fixed and remains as it is for a long time). These actions were aimed at denouncing situations of violence and raising awareness of the need for peace. Flash type Mov.
- (2011) The Nonviolence Expo, which collects the best experiences of the March and exhibits them in the Library of Santiago (Chile), where I coordinated the Theatrical Expo for Nonviolence with the participation of more than 10 family theatre plays.
- (2010) I was part of the First World March for Peace and Nonviolence that travelled around the world.
- (2008) I was part of the creation and performance of the performance Cuerpos Pintados por la No Violencia hacia la mujer, población La Victoria with the artist Bety Cotrena from the collective La Kuneta and other artist collaborations.
- (2001-2007) I actively participated in the campaign for Active Nonviolence CLENVA promoted by The Community for Human Development, in schools, high schools and Universities – where I worked steadily with others on the pillars of Nonviolence including the entire educational community (students, teachers, and parents).
- (2005) Cultural Caravan for Nonviolence, an activity we carried out together with community artists from Chile, Peru and Bolivia.
- (2000-2002) I participated as a panelist in the opinion programme El termómetro, in the national channel Chilevisión, carrying the voice of Nonviolence.
- (1995) Performance with my animation and popular education character La Clarita in the political and educational performance “Juicio al Neoliberalismo” about Economic Violence, carried out at the University of Santiago (USACH-Chile).
Pressenza: And has all of this been in any way systematised, recorded, organised so that it is available to those who would like to make use of these workshops, works and practices? How can one access so much of the material produced?
Paulina Hunt: A big challenge, no doubt. We have a website run by Juan Guillermo Ossa, another tireless fighter for non-violence, who I am delighted to say is now my partner. He has managed to compile quite a lot of what has been done on this site www.paulinahunt.cl, where you can find some of the activities carried out. Also on the website of the Park of Studies and Reflection in Remanso www.parqueelremanso.cl you can find various productions of workshops and activities, which can be downloaded.
Pressenza: And now, as an Ambassador for Peace, what possible actions do you envisage? In what way does this recognition push your non-violent actions even further?
Paulina Hunt: The truth is that what has impacted me the most, and obviously has become a great impulse, is the resonance that this recognition has had in the media in which I work. Hundreds of friends have let me know of their joy and I have felt a very great shared emotion, which has renewed the hope, the desire and the meaning of all this.
Undoubtedly today we are living a very key moment for humanity and I feel part of this process. Many, if not all, of the beliefs we had about the human being, the way we organise ourselves, the institutions, even our relationship with nature, have now fallen or are in question… and that also includes the belief in the use of violence in all its forms: economic, social, racial, psychological, moral, religious, gender, sexual… and more. It is as if today we have less tolerance for violence. Awareness of the need to stop violence is growing, while…unfortunately, fanaticism is also on the rise. In this scenario, I feel that any action that gives a sign that it is possible to build the world we want through non-violence is important. I feel, Pia, that we have to fill our communities with beacons. Beacons of kindness, of solidarity, of humanity. Because in the end, what every act of violence achieves is dehumanisation, whether of a person or of an entire community. And therefore, the only thing that can be reversed is the growing humanisation, and the awareness that we are a whole between us and every living being around us.
And in terms of images in the short term, we are approaching October 2nd which is the International Day of Non-violence and we will be part of several initiatives. At the end of the year, we will inaugurate the temple and meditation room near Curicó. We have a series of workshops on non-violence and good treatment in different communities in a virtual format. And as a novelty I can anticipate that with a group of friends we are forming a study group on Nonviolence updated to the realities that today open up and require us to deepen the subject, this team in tune with several observatories of Nonviolence that are activated today in different parts of the planet. And in readiness to support the actions that are set in motion on different fronts.
And finally, I would like to comment that the work is actually infinite, the human pain and suffering today is immense. As we speak, there are millions of human beings who are victims of the worst scourge of humanity: war and hunger. I am grateful for this space in Pressenza that tirelessly works for peace and defines its actions from peace. Everything is too little to stop violence, and yet every humanising action rekindles hope and is indispensable.
Pressenza: Thank you very much, Paulina and congratulations for this well-deserved recognition! We wish you all the best.