Applied storytelling. The 'elevator pitch.' Slam poetry. Roan Scholars talked about all these topics, and more, when they met with Mr. Kiran Sirah during a recent visit to Jonesborough's International Storytelling Center.
The visit, part of the Roan Program's "Leadership in Action" series, introduced the Scholars to both a new community leader, and to the concept of storytelling as a leadership tool. Mr. Sirah, who arrived last summer as the Storytelling Center's new executive director, shared stories from his rich past as a folklorist and museum manager; he also talked at length about the power of using stories to promote peace and understanding among diverse groups, and even shared one of his own slam poems to demonstrate that idea.
Scholars also had the opportunity to tour the Center, learn about its history, and discuss ideas for its future. A key element of that future is the annual National Storytelling Festival, which some Roan Scholars have attended in past years – meeting acclaimed master storytellers like Donald Davis and Bill Lepp.
The Scholars came away from the visit excited about all that's happening with the International Storytelling Center, and already looking ahead at potential partnerships and ways to put what they'd learned, into action. Mr. Sirah was also excited about the visit, and shared this thought on social media: "Young leaders (who) are engaged and exploring the power of storytelling . . . Watch out for these Roan Scholars, they're bright, sharp, and shaking things up!"