“Oscar Arias: Without a Shot Fired” Director Dawn Gifford Engle Accepts 2017 Best Documentary Feature Award

“Oscar Arias: Without a Shot Fired” Director Dawn Gifford Engle Accepts 2017 Best Documentary Feature Award

Nov 16, 2017 | NDHRFF

The story of one man trying to stop the proliferation of weapons, worldwide. The story of former president of Costa Rica and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Oscar Sanchez Arias. Released at the Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo June 18, 2017 followed by a three month Google Play Exclusive release and all over the planet on September 21st, 2017, the International Day of Peace.

Unable to attend the festival in person, director and writer Dawn Engle provided the following pre-recorded acceptance speech for audiences at the festival:

“Thank you for focusing on Human Rights, the most important issue in the world.” – Dawn Engle

About the Film 

Oscar Arias was born in Costa Rica in 1941. When he was a child, Costa Rica became the first country to disband its standing army. This allowed Costa Rica to invest in education, healthcare and the environment. Oscar studied law and economics in Costa Rica, the United States, and Great Britain, eventually receiving a doctorate in economics. He joined the social democratic party and became a member of the government in the 1970s. Arias was elected President in 1986 amid a civil war in neighboring Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

As president, he took measures to deal with Costa Rica’s heavy foreign debt and other economic problems, but his main interest was in trying to restore peace and political stability to the war-torn countries of Central America. In February 1987, he proposed a regional peace plan for the Central American countries, called the Arias Plan, that set a date for cease-fires between government and rebel forces, ensured amnesty for political prisoners, and called for free and democratic elections in those countries.

The Arias Plan laid the foundation for the peace process that eventually succeeded in Central America.In October 1987, Oscar Arias was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts to achieve the beginnings of peace in the region. With the Nobel Prize money, he formed the Arias Foundation for Peace & Human Progress to promote peace, justice, and equality in Central America. He was re-elected as President of Costa Rica from 2006-2010, after the country amended its constitution to allow him to run again. Oscar Arias continues to work for peace in Central America, keeping the vision of the Arias Plan alive.

This is the story of a tiny country that made a decision to do something that no other country had ever done — it decided to abolish its army and declare peace to the world. And this is the story of a young boy who grew up in that country, and how he ended up challenging — and sometimes even convincing — the greatest powers in the world to follow Costa Rica’s example.“Oscar Arias: Without a Shot Fired” is a Don Quixote-like saga with great historical touchstones — Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Cold War politics and Communism, Central American War and Peace. It follows a slight, academic, and most unlikely hero over the course of more than fifty years, as he travels the world in a quest to stop the spread of the weapons of war. In the end, it is a story about the triumph of reason, of the sparrow triumphing over the eagle, and how the impossible dream can sometimes come true.

About the Director

Dawn Gifford Engle is an activist, filmmaker and Co-Founder and Executive Director of the The PeaceJam Foundation, a nonprofit organization led by thirteen Nobel Peace Laureates and a global leader in developing young leaders and engaging adults and youth in their local and global communities. Dawn began her career as an economist, working 12 years for the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. She was the youngest women ever appointed to serve as Chief of Staff to a U.S. Senator.

In 1991, after meeting and befriending the Dalai Lama, she co-founded the Colorado Friends of Tibet, and in 1994, she and husband Ivan Suvanjieff began working together to create the PeaceJam program, which has been recognized internationally for excellence in peace education. Today, the PeaceJam Foundation is a global organization that has engaged hundreds of thousands of youth in root-cause centered action addressing the most pressing issues facing our world.

Dawn now works with a team of 13 Nobel Peace Laureates who have identified 10 core issues that, if addressed though the leadership of the participating Nobel Peace Laureates and the energy of youth, will have a substantial and lasting impact on creating a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world for all. In addition, she co-authored the book, “PEACEJAM: A Billion Simple Acts of Peace”, which was published by Penguin in 2008 and directed the award-winning documentary films, 2012: The True Mayan Prophecy and Mayan Renaissance, which is the first in a series of feature length documentaries in PeaceJam’s Nobel Legacy Film Series. Dawn has been nominated eight times for the Nobel Peace Prize herself.


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The Human Family promotes human rights and social justice through film and art.


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