Blog

The news of artist, environmental activist, documentary film producer and philanthropist Susan Swartz.

Susan Swartz "The Most Interesting Lecture You'll Ever Attend"

Susan has long been an impassioned defender of human rights. Over the past decade, she and her husband, Jim, have helped produce important films that seek to shed light on injustice, like Born Into Brothels, which won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary and Anita: Speaking Truth to Power, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Susan has also brought her own strong voice to conversations like the panel on “Women’s Rights in a Man’s World” held earlier this year at Harvard University. And now Susan is bring the humans rights conversation to her hometown of Park City, Utah.

On December 4, Susan is honored to be teaming up with the Harvard Divinity School and the Christian Center of Park City to host a lecture by Hauwa Ibrahim based on her new book Practicing Shariah Law.

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Hauwa Ibrahim is a senior partner at Aries Law Firm. Working with a team devoted to human rights for women in Nigeria, she has won a number of precedent-setting cases before Islamic Shariah courts. Ibrahim has been a Visiting Professor at Saint Louis University School of Law and Stonehill College, a World Fellow at Yale University, a Radcliffe fellow, and a fellow at both the Human Rights Program and the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard University. 

The European Parliament presented Ibrahim with its 2005 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which honors efforts on behalf of human rights and freedoms. Ibrahim has earned an LLB and a master's in international law and diplomacy from the University of Jos in Nigeria; a BL for legal practice from Nigeria Law School; and a master of laws degree in international studies at American University's Washington College of Law. In addition, she has been awarded three honorary doctorates, as well as the Cavaliere Award, the Highest Human Rights Award from the Italian Government. She is also featured in an upcoming film entitled Three Judges (see the trailer ›).

Susan invites the community to come hear "one of the most interesting lectures you’ll ever attend".

Details

Where: The Egyptian Theatre 
328 Main Street, Park City, UT 84060 

Cost: FREE and open to the Public 
Seating on a first come, first served basis 
Suggested Donation $15 

“Women’s Rights in a Man’s World” – Harvard Divinity School Panel Discussion

Susan was honored to support the Divinity School at Harvard University by sponsoring the February 28th panel about the barriers facing women hoping to work within Shari’a law courts. Titled “Women’s Rights in a Man’s World,” the panel featured Kholoud Al-Faqih, the first female judge in a Palestinian Shari’a court, as well as several other notable female law leaders.

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Reel Stories: Susan Swartz Applauds Sundance Film Festival

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One of the joys of living in Susan’s hometown of Park City, Utah is experiencing the energy of the annual Sundance Film Festival here each January. “For me, watching these films is like going to graduate school, ” explains Susan, “learning about important subjects that I often never even knew existed before.”

Sundance is especially meaningful to Susan, because of her intimate involvement as a producer in several films about pressing social issues. Both Susan and her husband Jim are founding members of Impact Partners, an organization that pairs independent filmmakers and investors. Over the past years, Impact Partners has produced many Sundance premieres. And 2013 was no exception.

Susan and Jim were thrilled to support a total of six films in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, which concluded earlier this week. This year’s films included the compelling sports documentary The Crash Reel, and the boundary-pushing Afternoon Delight, who’s director Jill Soloway nabbed the Sundance Directing Award. What’s more, American Promise, about what it means to be a minority at an exclusive school, won a Special Jury Prize, and the immigration murder mystery, Who Is Dayani Cristal? received the Cinematography Award.

But perhaps the film Susan is most proud of is Pandora’s Promise, which Jim produced. The feature-length documentary explores how and why mankind’s most feared and controversial technological discovery — nuclear power — is now passionately embraced by many of those who once led the charge against it. “It is so powerful to see a documentary that fundamentally changes the way you think about an issue,” marvels Susan.

Susan Swartz and Jacki Zehner Host the Global Fund For Women in Park City

​Susan Swartz, a founder of the Christian Center of Park City (left) and Jacki Zehner (right), a Park City resident and CEO of Women Moving Millions, hosted a luncheon in Park City last week to highlight the philanthropic work being done by the Global Fund for Women. The keynote speaker was Musimbi Kanyoro (center), the fund's CEO.

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Human Nature: Susan Swartz in the Mayfair Resident

Environmentalist Susan Swartz is known for her passionate commitment to environmental preservation, yet her campaign is not recognized through speeches or petitions, but though her artwork. In recent years, her painting style has captured the attention of both museums and collectors, prompting them to take environmental concerns more seriously. As she freely admits, her canvas has a clear underlying narrative, ‘an urgent plea to notice, respect and preserve our natural environment,’ Susan explains…

Read the entire Human Nature article in The Mayfair Resident and visit Susan’s BREATH OF NATURE exhibit at Belgravia Gallery, 25 Albemarle Street, London W1 until November 24th.

Forward to Susan Swartz Catalogue by Waterkeeper Alliance Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

I have long been fascinated by the powerful connection between art and the environment — both define us as a people. Standing in a riverbed deep within the walls of a canyon or at the helm of a boat contemplating the vastness of our oceans, I try to imagine how an artist chooses color and finds form, and I am humbled. The outer world of nature and the interpretive world of art both insist that we transcend our narrow self-interest and see beyond what is right in front of us. Artists seek universal truths and help us form a community that responds to these truths and not to rhetoric or partisanship. The natural world reminds us how we are all connected, not by geography, but by river tributaries and wind patterns and fault lines. We depend on each other and also depend on the stewardship of the natural world. For it provides our lifeblood: clean air and water. Read More

Susan Swartz and the One World We All Belong To

Just like Susan, Mary Oliver has dedicated most of her career to the environment. The American poet and recipient of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize turns towards nature for inspiration and describes the sense of wonder it instills in her. “When it’s over,” she says, “I want to say: all my life / I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” (“When Death Comes” from New and Selected Poems (1992).)

This month, the 77-year old Oliver released her newest book of poetry entitled A Thousand Mornings. In a recent interview with NPR’s Rachel Martin, Oliver says her work has become more spiritual over the years — but she feels a great sorrow over humanity’s lack of care for that world. “The woods that I loved as a child are entirely gone. The woods that I loved as a young adult are gone. The woods that most recently I walked in are not gone, but they’re full of bicycle trails,” she says.

All of the pieces in A Thousand Mornings are lovely, but Susan is particularly drawn to these resonant words:

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The Essence of a Breath: Susan Swartz Opening Today at Belgravia Gallery

Susan’s solo exhibitionBREATH OF NATURE, has just opened at London’s Belgravia Gallery. The paintings included in the show mark a turning point in Susan’s artistic vision towards an increasingly abstract—and increasingly urgent yet hopeful — painting style. Perhaps no painting illustrates this change more clearly than the title work Breathless.

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Forward to Susan Swartz Belgravia Catalogue by Oceanic Preservation Society's Louie Psihoyos

As an artist, Susan spent years painting the grandeur and serenity of the natural world. When she became desperately ill with environmentally-bred diseases, Susan saw the fragility of nature. So too for me. As a photographer for National Geographic I was able to catalogue the beauty of our planet for two decades. As a diver for that same period of time, I was able to bear witness to its degradation.

It is from this perspective that I, along with a close group of like-minded activists, formed the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS). Nobody could have predicted the success of our first endeavor, the Academy Awardâ winning film The Cove, but there was never any question of its importance. Susan saw the truth in our story right away, and became a champion of OPS and a supporter of our films.

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