The World Children's Festival


Editorial Review

Drawn together for the World Children's Festival

You wouldn’t think Fabian Pineda, 10, and Irine Fibih, 13, would have much in common. Fabian, whose parents came to Washington from El Salvador, is in fourth grade at Martin Luther King Elementary School in Southeast Washington. Irine is in eighth grade in Vorkuta, Russia, north of the Arctic Circle.

But the two are being brought together by the International Child Art Foundation’s World Children’s Festival, taking place this weekend on the Mall. Held every four years, the festival lets children of different cultures share experiences.

Irine and Fabian are representing their cities at the festival after both were chosen as winners in the Fourth Arts Olympiad, an international art contest held over three years. To highlight the importance of having creative minds and healthy bodies, kids were asked to create artwork showing their favorite sport. Fabian drew a beach volleyball scene. Irine painted a speedskater on silk. About 140 winners were chosen worldwide and invited to the festival.

The 19 Arts Olympiad winners from Washington were asked to be ambassadors for the festival and exchange e-mails with international winners. Fabian exchanged e-mails with Irine, and while they talked about the differences in the weather in their home towns, they discovered they share a love of art and math. Kids with different lives can have similar interests!

Meet Irine Fibih

Siblings: None.

Pets: A parakeet named Snow.

About her life: Vorkuta has winter for 10 months and the temperature can reach 60 degrees below zero Farenheit! But Irine says kids don’t just sit at home. “We [are] sledding, skiing and skating. We are very happy.” In the winter there is only two hours of daylight, too! In summer it can still snow and the highest temperature is about 60 degrees!

What she likes to eat: Pancakes and anything made with potatoes.

Favorite subjects: Math and art. “I was attracted by their differences. Mathematics classes require me to exactly calculate, and painting classes allow me to become more free in expressing my feelings with paint,” Irine said.

When she grows up: “I want to become a professional artist and designer to design clothes.”

Things she’d like to do in America: Irine can’t wait to see the Capitol, the White House and the impressionist paintings at the National Gallery — and she is hoping to see the president! She also will visit New York, where she wants to see the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Niagara Falls.

Meet Fabian Pineda

Siblings: Older brother is 21 and just graduated from college.

Pets: A German pointer-husky-mix puppy named Luie.

About his life: After finishing his homework, Fabian likes to run around the back yard with Luie. He also likes skateboarding, swimming, playing his Sony PlayStation, watching Tom & Jerry cartoons and drawing. “I always liked art, since I was little.”

What he likes to eat: His mother’s Salvadoran food.

Favorite subjects: Art and math. “I like art because when you’re bored it makes you excited and makes you push yourself to draw new things,” he said. “In math I like to solve long division problems.”

When he grows up: “I want to be maybe an engineer or an artist,” he said.

Activity he would like to try: Snowboarding. “My brother tried it at college and said it’s really fun,” Fabian said. “He’s going to take me.”

— Margaret Webb Pressler (Tuesday, June 14, 2011)