PAAL is an artistic organization made up of inter-cultural mediation experts on a mission to enable intercultural dialogue between different ethnocultural communities through creative activities which provide participants opportunities to meet and communicate. The organization strives to push Montrealers to enrich their intercultural communication skills, profit from the city’s cultural richness, heighten their sensitization to the cultural communities around them, and open themselves up to the wider world - free of fear of the “Other”. PAAL hopes to be recognized as a positive force in Montreal’s transition to an increasingly empathetic, inclusive, egalitarian, and just city.
The word “intercultural” is used to define the interactions and rapport between different cultures. “Intercultural mediation” refers to the actions taken by professionals, like those at PAAL, to reconcile tensions and differences between the members of diverse cultural groups. There are two overarching branches of intercultural mediation; prevention and sensitization, and intervention and conflict resolution. PAAL specializes in sensitization to cultural diversity. They do so by incorporating unique forms of cultural expression into their workshops through art, stories, and craft. As no term exists to describe this unique approach, PAAL coined the term “inter-cultural mediation”. Whereas classical intercultural mediation uses speech to unite individuals, inter-cultural mediation, as PAAL defines it, uses art as its unifying tool.
PAAL in the Mayan language, means "child" and also designates the values that are at the heart of the organization: Peace, Love,
Friendship and Freedom.
Created in August 2015, PAAL Sharing the World is a non-profit organization that works in intercultural communication and mediation.
The organization started out as a sole proprietorship under the name Chilpayates. The very first workshop, Escribir pintando, “write while drawing”, was offered in partnership with the Mexican consulate and in this workshop, we wanted to highlight the diversity of the different cultures that make up Quebec today. The goal then was to increase the openness of the participants through an authentic Mexican tale and related artistic activity. The following year, Chilpayates led 40 workshops for a group of nearly 1,000 participants. In addition, the company has published a children's activity book on Mexican culture under the name Chilpalivre to convey authentic Mexican values.
Noting the cultural richness that characterizes the city of Montreal, the company decided to broaden its horizons and offer cultural awareness activities focusing not only on Mexico, but also on various cultures that enrich the multiethnic landscape of the city. metropolis.
It was therefore in 2017 that Chilpayates changed its name and status to become the non-profit organization PAAL, let's share the world. Despite this name change, its raison d'être has remained the same: to encourage participants to become agents of change in their communities by promoting respect and inclusion, while raising citizens' awareness of cultural diversity in order to live better. together.
The program offered by PAAL is made up of several workshops that celebrate diversity by prioritizing the exploration of minority cultures and favouring authentic forms of cultural expression rather than the over-used, institutionalized or “popular” forms. Workshops begin with short presentations of the culture or group chosen. Next, a member of the community discussed tells a story originating from their culture. Finally, participants create an artistic piece based on the story. Thus the purpose of the workshops is to foster open-mindedness and creativity in the participants by linking the pieces they create. The development of these artistic and original workshops allow PAAL to inter-culturally mediate for various groups.
The program values critical thinking - a necessary skill for effective communication and intercultural discourse in a respectful and tolerant climate. Interdependence, cohabitation, common needs, and the different creation myths are but a few of the topics covered in our workshops. At PAAL, interculturalism is viewed as a valuable resource that must be properly fostered in order to ensure society’s well-being.
For more information see the attached PAAL activity report for 2017-2018.