The International Storytelling Center Wins Major Peacebuilding Award with Dramatic Proposal

From Rachel Stiltner, Communications Coordinator, International Storytelling Center –

The International Storytelling Center (ISC) of Jonesborough, Tennessee has been named the winner of the Peacebuilding Big Idea Challenge, a prestigious competition for innovative peacebuilding initiatives administered by the Purdue Peace Project.

Chosen from proposals submitted from all over the world, the award was announced on Purdue University’s campus and via livestream on May 10. The proposal, which outlines ISC’s plans to develop a state-of-the-art videogame that gamifies the traditional art of storytelling, was selected for its interdisciplinary approach, its unique point of view, and its potential for global impact.

The $10,000 prize will cover the costs for the initial proof of concept, which will prototype the game.

The International Storytelling Center is known worldwide for igniting the storytelling revolution with the first the National Storytelling Festival in 1973. The videogame project, tentatively titled “Europa,” is one example of how ISC is at the vanguard of exploring new contexts for ancient traditions.

“Tradition is hugely important in storytelling, but at the same time, we’re always looking at where the form can go next,” says Kiran Singh Sirah, president of ISC. “Billions of people play videogames, and we think we can harness those numbers to be a powerful force for positive social change and real cultural connections. The program works well with our most recent suite of storytelling initiatives, which have a special focus on young people and using technology to make storytelling more accessible to people all over the world.

“We’re incredibly excited about this opportunity,” Sirah added. “To scale the power of storytelling to this new, potentially enormous, audience could open doors and build communities in ways we haven’t even imagined yet.”

With ISC’s creative leadership experience and a wide network of distinguished partners across arts organizations, educational institutions, and health care organizations, the organization is well positioned to lead an interdisciplinary team of academics, developers, storytelling professionals, and educational specialists in the creation of the game. The launch of the prototype, currently scheduled for 2020, will connect communities in East Tennessee and the City of Melton, Australia through videogame and story.

Headquartered in the “storytelling capital of the world,” ISC was established in 1973 as an educational and cultural institution dedicated to building a better world through the power of storytelling. For more information visit or call (800) 952-8392