2018 Narrative 4 Global Summit Report and Photos!

Our 2017 summit was covered by PBS. Check out the article here

Story exchange partners Fatou (University Heights High School in the Bronx, NY) and Lauren (Floyd County High School in Kentucky) reunite at the N4 Global Summit. Photo: Karlas Powell

What a group. What a week. What a future. We are delighted to share some highlights of our seventh annual Narrative 4 Global Summit, held this year from June 20-25 in the great state of Louisiana!  The annual summit is the capstone of our yearly programming. It’s where N4 (literally) comes together.  It’s when we set the strategic direction for the upcoming academic year and beyond as we continue to build our global network of artists, educators, students and community leaders. We hope you will read the entire report, scroll through all of the amazing photos, and contact us for more information. Special thanks goes to Karen Hollins and The Elizabeth Foundation for ongoing support of our annual summit!

N4 summit delegates gathers on day one at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Photo credit: Karlas Powell

This year, summit participants were inspired to “Be the Change.”  These global ambassadors fanned out into the heart of The Delta and examined a host of extremely complex issues currently dividing the United States – and the world. This was an unprecedented exploration that is already leading to some amazing work in the field. Each person created a year-long “empathy into action” plan that will be guided and supported by a student-led, global action committee. Our first meeting is August 26th so please stay tuned!

Alex M. from Limerick, Ireland inspires the group with his ideas and actions. Photo credit: Karlas Powell

Our journey in Louisiana included day-trips to the vanishing lands of the First Nation communities of the Bayoustill-manicured sugar plantationsAcadian communities wrestling with religious persecution, jazz halls filled with joy and rebellion, private homes, faith institutions, an innovative cafe that employs marginalized youth, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and more. Much of the experience was drawn from the rhythm and heart of history. We had a first-hand glimpse at the jails and systems that have worked for – and against – its citizens. We walked on levees that try – and sometimes fail – to protect an entire state. We heard the music of our ancestors, art, activism and change.

Sometimes you need to step into a different community in order to more clearly see both the problems and strengths of your own.

“Team Environment” meeting the first refugees of climate change on Isle de Jean Charles, led by the inimitable and tireless host resident, Monique Verdin (kneeling in front). Photo credit: Karlas Powell

On the final day of the summit, we challenged our N4 ambassadors to think about how we, as individuals and a group, can leverage empathy in order to tackle some of the most intractable problems of our time.  Young leaders brainstormed ways to address socio-economic divides, river clean-ups, the plight of refugees, water shortages, LGBT rights, religious freedom and tolerance, sexual assault, and countless other issues. All with the powerful tools of stories and storytelling.

“Team Immigration,” led by summit super host Darrell Bourque, in Acadia – embracing music, words and lots of ideas. Photo credit: Lisa Consiglio

From left to right, one of the summit’s lead architects (and N4 board chair), Greg Khail, N4 founding member and bestselling author, Ishmael Beah, and summit facilitator, Paul Cello, reunite during the opening dinner at the historic Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. Photo credit: Karlas Powell

“Team Identity” walks carefully through the past – with an empathic eye on the future – at the Whitney Plantation. Photo Credit: Lee Keylock

Author and N4 master practitioner Ruth Gilligan celebrates success during an afternoon rock/paper/scissors tournament! Photo credit: Karlas Powell

“Team Violence” tackles this tough theme with BMike at his incredible studio in New Orleans. Photo credit: Greg Khalil


Man Booker prize-winning author and summit participant, Marlon James, captures his experience. Photo credit: Karlas Powell

“Team Faith” post-field excursion and ready to report back to the entire group during the Expression Session at Loyola University. Photo credit: Karlas Powell

Summit participants from around the world under the influence of the great unifier: MUSIC (on the steps of the New Orleans Museum of Art with a big brass band). Photo credit: Karlas Powell

Global ambassadors Charles Miles from Chicago, IL and Darrell Bourque from Louisiana (who was also our host author for this year’s summit) share a smile and a coffee. (BTW, Charles’ shirt says, “REAL MEN READ” … we agree and love it.) And Darrell, we cannot thank you enough for all that you’ve done! Photo credit: Karlas Powell

Closing out the summit with the world’s best talent show, featuring the world’s best talent! Photo credit: Karlas Powell

Our two youngest ambassadors and summit participants (Yamkela from South Africa and Uri from Israel) are fearless hope through radical empathy personified. Here’s to the future! Photo credit: Karlas Powell

Thank you.