Kurt Shaw
Executive Director, Shine a Light/Usina da Imaginação

Media Programming

When I graduated from college, I dreamed of being some kind of a pacifist, post-modern Che Guevara, and in fact I spent two years with revolutionary groups and left wing priests in Central America and Colombia. I came back to the USA and started a doctorate at Harvard, but hated it, and started to work with street kids, first in Santa Fe and then in New York. I then spent a decade traveling through every major city south of the border, creating a network of organizations that worked with marginalized kids. With the end of the street kid crisis at the end of the decade — some of which had to do with us, but much more with bigger, structural changes — we moved on to work with child soldiers, working children, and kids from indigenous communities. Making movies, it turned out, was a powerful way to reach these children and for them to change the world around them. Now collaborating with Rita da Silva, and later with our daughter, Helena (she’s now 7, but insists that she is a full member of the team), we’ve formed a news channel by and for youth from the favelas of Recife, Brasil; made documentaries for Brazilian national TV; finished a feature film, a children’s fantasy set in the favelas; and now created a media channel for indigenous parents deep in the Amazon.


UNAOC Pillar

  • youth
  • education
  • media

Areas of Focus

  • Arts, Culture and Entertainment
  • Diversity and Social Inclusion
  • Intercultural Dialogue
  • Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution


  • Video
  • Research
  • Conflict Resolution

go to home page