Whats Been Happinging
Posted on October 18, 2015
My life has taken many turns in the last 6 months. My mother died peacefully after 97 years of a full life. My family has been involved with taking care of her estate, a large house that has been in the family for 168 years full of “old things”. I am not going to try to catch you up all at once. I just wanted to share some up coming events.
You are invited to a multimedia showing of some of my recent work
Thursday October 22, 2015 at 6 pm at the Marketplace at Sweater Venture
700 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, New York
Honduras: Aid to a Mountain Village
Please call if you can, to let Dan at the Sweater Venture know you will be coming. 518-477-9317
I will be returning with NY/Help to Honduras in January. I am currently working to see if I can help develop a self sustaining sewing project for some of the women throughout the province.
As some of you may know I went to Uganda last March. Jajja’s Kids, Inc. a small nonprofit all volunteer organization that provides 17 street children with a home, food, medical care and education in Kampala, Uganda. We are having our Annual fundraise on November 5th, 2015. Our Goal is to raise the funds for next years rent due in January, plus the school fees for all 17 boys.
Jajja’s Kids Invites You to
Our 4th Annual Party
Thursday, November 5 ~ 6 to 9 pm
425 River Street, Troy NY
With a Roaring 20’s Theme,
We will Dance to the Music of the Nisky Dixie Cats
and Dress in the Style of the Era (optional)
The evening includes:
Appetizers, Buffet Dinner, Cash Bar
Auction of Unique Items
and Special Recognitions
$75 per person ($50 deductible)
Please RSVP by Nov. 1 – JajjasKidsRSVP@gmail.com
Purchase Tickets In Advance using PayPal at
or Send a check to Jajja’s Kids, PO Box 1425, Latham NY 12110
The Role of Women during Periods of Political Change
Posted on April 27, 2014
Dear Friends you are invited to the following event:
I am very honored to be representing the women I have met in Afghanistan and speaking of my experiences.
April 28th | 6:30 pm
Join us for a Panel Discussion
The Role of Women during Periods of Political Change
In light of the recent Russian/Ukrainian conflict in Crimea, the Fellows are hosting a panel discussion on the role of women in influencing international and domestic societal change during periods of political transformation.
Although developed in response to the situation in Crimea, this panel discussion will also feature speakers on this topic as it relates to Africa, the United States, and the countries involved in the Arab Spring Uprisings.
The panel will feature the following speakers and experts:
Dean Penelope Andrews, Albany Law School
Author of “From Cape Town to Kabul: Rethinking Strategies for Pursuing Women’s Human Rights.”
Dr. Iris Berger, University at Albany Vincent O’Leary Professor of History
Connie Frisbee Houde, Global Photojournalist and active member in Women Against War
James Ketterer, Bard College Globalization and International Affairs Program, Middle Eastern Studies, Political Studies
Director of International Academic Initiatives at the Center for Civic Engagement. Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Liberal Education.
Dr. Nadieszda Kizenko, University at Albany Professor of Russian History and Culture
Monday April 28, 2014 6:30 pm
200 Miline, Rockefeller College University at Albany Downtown Campus
Suggested Entry Donation $10
(More if you can/ Less if you can’t)
Khaled Hosseini speaks at Saratoga Reads
Posted on April 6, 2014
Last night we had the privilege to meet Khaled Hosseini who was interviewed by Joe Dohahue at the Arthur Zankel Music Center at Skidmore College. He was sponsored as a part of the Saratoga Reads program which selected And The Mountains Echoed as the book for the 10th year. A fitting selection considering that The Kite Runner had been chosen as the first book for the program. I was pleasantly surprised at how unassuming he is. He spoke about how he works to write noting how The Kite Runner was clamoring to be written in contrast to the more difficult writing of his next two books.
To me, Hosseini has opened many people around the world through his fiction to who the Afghan people are, bringing into our livingrooms the characters in his stories which represent real people and situations in Afghanistan. He spoke of being hopeful after the elections that took place yesterday. Reports are that over 60% of the population turned out to vote even with the threat of death and destruction from the Taliban.
My husband and I waited to get books signed after he spoke. In my excitement of meeting him and giving him one of my business cards mentioning that I have traveled to Afghanistan and hope to return I forgot that I was going to give him my blue Borderfree scarf from the Afghan Peace Volunteers. http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/borderfree/
As these Afghan youth work for peace in their journey to smile they have created blue scarfs with ‘borderfree’ in English and ‘bedun-e-marz’ which is ‘without borders’ in Dari. In their words, “Borderfree is our collective wish as a human family to relate and work with one another in solidarity under the same blue sky, organizing ourselves as a strong 99%, free of borders so as to take care of our earth, build socio-economic equality for all, and abolish war.” http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/borderfree/ I had purchased the scarf from Kathy Kelly from Voices of Creative Nonviolence http://vcnv.org when she was recently here in Albany. Both my husband and friends encouraged me to go back up and give him the scarf…so I did. From the brief description I shared, he was touched and said he would treasure it. So a bit of Afghanistan has now gone full circle and returned to one of Afghanistan’s own.
It was a humbling experience to let the Afghan Peace Volunteers voice be heard in this setting.
Posted on March 28, 2014
Dinner at Istanblue and a
Movie at Saratoga Film Forum
Sunday, March 30th
Make it a date night!
Saratoga Reads presents View from a Grain of Sand
A film by Meena Nanji USA
Documentary: 58 minutes, 2006
Sunday, March 30 at the Saratoga Film Fourm
Saratoga Springs, NY
Three Afghan women tell how international interventions, war, and the rise of political Islam, has stripped Afghan women of basic rights.
AWARD: Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary Silver Conch, International Documentary Feature 2008
AWARD: Canada International Film Festival Best Documentary 2007
AWARD: Seattle South Asian Festival Audience Award, Best Feature Documentary 2007
Tickets: $5 for Saratoga Film Forum members, $7 non-members
Pre-screening presentation with photojournalist Connie Frisbee Houde begins at 7:30 PM. Houde traveled to Afghanistan five times between 2003-2010 and will share her Afghan images and experiences with the audience.
View From A Grain Of Sand Official Site
Pre-Movie Dinner at Istanblue Mediterranean Cusine
68 Congress St.(Congress Plaza)
Saratoga Springs, NY
Chef Emrah has prepared a Prix Fixe Menu for this event- $35 per person (value $50) includes:
Appetizer platter: hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel, pita, stuffed grape leaves
Choice of entrée: Moussaka, chicken or lamb Adana, Vegetable sauté
Choice of Turkish coffee or dessert (Kadayif).
Make reservations 48 hrs prior to event (581-0181), mention and “Saratoga Reads” to get our special Prix Fixe menu.
Please note: Istanblue Restaurant has No liquor license; You may bring your own, corkage fee applies.
Bring book clubs, family, friends and savor foods
from the regions in our documentary.
Exhibit Saratoga Art Center February and March
Posted on February 17, 2014
Since we have been having a number of winter snow storms, I thought that this image from my first visit to Afghanistan in February of 2003 would be appropriate. It brings back fond memories of how safe I felt when I finally ventured out of our guest house door on my own discovering the city in the beauty of a covering of snow. I don’t think the locals would have seen it that way as they were shoveling the heavy snow off the flat roofs that couldn’t hold the weight much less the dripping of the wet through the not so sound roofs.
I also remember how worried I was for my husband who was in New York City protesting going to war in Iraq. There I was in Kabul worrying about his safety in New York. How Ironic?
If you would like to see this image and others from my five trips to Afghanistan beginning with the trip in 2003 and my last trip in 2010, they can be seen at the Saratoga Arts Center, 320 Broadway, saratoga Springs, New York. They will be on display the Month of February and March. The gallery hours are: 9am – 5pm M-F, Saturday 11am – 5pm, and when the Film Forum is operating. Please check the Film Forum schedule. http://www.saratogafilmforum.org
I also will be showing a multi media show of more work when the Film Forum will be showing A View From a Grain of Sand March 30th 7:30pm. I will also facilitate a discussion of the film after the showing.
These activities are taking place because Saratoga Reads is celebrating its 10th year with the reading of Khaled Hosseini’s third book And the Mountains Echoed. The first year the Kite Runner had been chosen at that time I participated in a multiple week program for the Academy for Lifelong Learning. A memorable experience because my step-son was severely injured in Iraq the day before I was to present. I decided to continue and learned in the middle of my presentation that his vital signs had improved after multiple surgeries and 52 units of blood and he would be coming home. Ten years later Matt is very much alive and has become a physical therapist for the navy. He is one of the lucky ones who has made a life for himself. This year I will also be presenting for the first session of Revisiting Afghanistan a program being presented to the Academy for Lifelong Learning. http://www.esc.edu/media/esc-foundation/all/ALL-Spring-2014-Brochure.pdf
So you can see I continue to speak and present concerning Afghanistan. I do hope that you will have a chance to see the exhibit or come to one of the programs.
Afghan Youth Orchestra in Carnegie Hall
Posted on February 18, 2013
Tuesday last week I traveled from Albany to New York City to see/hear the Afghan Youth Orchestra with two young Afghans and their Mother/caretaker while they are in the US going to school. We arrived found parking and wondered around Times Square until it was time to attend the concert. All of us had been anticipating this day since we had decided to come.
The story of the Orchestra is remarkable. As the Minister of Education His Excellency Faroq Wardak stated, “Music is in our past, our present and our future.” One of the tragedy’s of Afghan history was the destruction of all musical instruments and means of playing music by the Taliban who mistakenly believe that music is unIslamic. Dr. Ahman Sarmast who had emigrated to Australia began a systematic revival of Afghan Music returning to Kabul to develop the The Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). The school located in Kabul is “committed to providing a dynamic, challenging, and safe learning environment for all students, regardless of gender , ethnicity, or social circumstances. ANIM focusses on supporting the most disadvantaged group in Afghan society — the orphans and street-working children– by helping them attain a vocation that will allow them to reach their full potential, while contributing to their emotional health.”
The concert was two days before Valentines days so it was interesting attempting to describe the holiday and all the roses in the flower markets and heart decorations.
As we waited for the concert to begin we made contact with a women sitting behind us who had taught William Harvey the conductor who had been a Juilliard student. The concert began with a number of very traditional Afghan Folk tunes played by a number of the Afghan traditional stringed instruments. These students set on low carpet-covered platforms playing in the traditional style featuring both girls and boys.
Aqil, who I sat next to, recited the words to the tunes as I asked what the meaning was of the music. The first was a love song for Afghanistan and the second a love song for a woman. The instruments ranged from the sitar in the center, rubab on the left, tabla (percussion) behind, ghichak on the right, and sarod, tanbur and dilruba in between. I was told by both the young Afghans that there was one instrument not represented.
The two remarkable pieces that they played were Ravel’s Bolero and an adaptation of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, The Four Seasons of Afghanistan. It really was sweet to read the notes and realize just how much of the culture I have absorbed through the years and the depth of the four seasons.
Here is the New York Times review of the concert.
After the concert, Aqil and Mursal wanted to met the Afghan students so we found our way to the back stage door and waited. Aqil dressed in traditional Afghan dress was often mistaken for one of the orchestra. Please if you wish to know more about the Afghan youth orchestra and their journey and hear some of their music follow the following videos:
Here is the ending piece for peace that they also played as an encore.
I do hope that you enjoy the gift these young musicians share with us.
Dreaming of Peace for these young people,
Exhibition:Debunking the Myth of Voodoo and Slavery: A Journey in West Africa
Posted on February 4, 2013
The exhibition of 34 images is now hanging on the Walls in the Yates gallery. I invite you if you can to visit the Siena College Library to view the work. The invitation and information concerning the show will follow. We had –according to my husband Frank’s count– we had almost 80 people attend. The gallery director, Sergio Sericolo who was a pleasure to work with, noted that they had never had as many people to an opening. So thank you all for coming.
Unfortunately I did not have anyone taking pictures of the reception and gallery talk. I am delighted that I have a SUNY photo journalism class coming for a walk through and a Siena class concerning Arts and activism also coming for a gallery walk through. If you would also like to bring a group for a walk through please contact me and I will help make the necessary arrangements. I do hope that many of you will make it to the exhibit and I would love to hear your comments.
I am very excited about the new work and can see the growth that I have made since my last trip to West Africa. It is a good feeling when I can say that about my own work particularly when I am the most critical viewer.
As always, in gratitude,
West Africa Journey Interview
Posted on January 12, 2013
On Tuesday I was Interviewed by Ann Parillo on Schenectady Today. This a very short snippet of what is to come in the upcoming exhibition:
Debunking the Myth of Voodoo and Slavery-
A Journey in West Africa
More information concerning the exhibit will be in another post.
Woman of Peace Award
Posted on December 24, 2012
December 3, 2012 I was humbled to receive the first Woman of Peace Award from Women Against War at the organization’s 10th year celebration. Both my husband and my mother along with 60 other friends and supporters were present.
I was grateful to sit next to my mother who reached over and held my hand as I listened to Maureen Aumand describe so expressively how my work is seen.
It is a rare honor to been seen so clearly by others and I thank my friends and coleagues in Women Against War for this honor. I will wear the small silver ‘peace crane’ necklace they gave me as a talisman of the many friends who recognize the importance of the humanitarian journalistic work I do.
I include some of the photographs taken by Mable Leon, a dear friend and colleague.
Here are Maureen’s words:
It is a truly humbling privilege to introduce, celebrate and salute tonight on behalf of all of you gathered here, Women Against War’s first Woman of Peace award winner Connie Frisbee Houde.
I feel quite confident in positing that all of you gathered here share with me the conviction that for the scourge of war to be eliminated from human history, there must be a paradigm shift that allows us to truly see ourselves, conceive of the world, know deep in our hearts that we exist as a global community, intertwined and interrelated. Thus, Connie’s work as a “global photographer” marks her as a peacemaker extraordinaire. Her tireless travel and the beautiful, moving images that result/ inspire and inform all who see them to believe in, to hope for, to work for peace.
Connie has long been on a journey, a quest to understand how the world works, to fathom the warp and weave of things, to understand the material world and material human culture, to understand the human condition in all its diverse detail and finally to probe what is truly of value, of universal significance across time and space and culture.
Lucky for all of us and for the many who continue to become familiar with the probing, thoughtful, compassionate images she brings back to us, that Connie invites all of us to join her in her search.
Connie did not begin her quest as a photographer. Her formal background is in clothing and textile, a background that underpins her current employment as a Research and Collections Technician for the New York State Museum.
In reflecting on the forces which fed, encouraged and emboldened her to not only take the risk of defining herself as a visual artist but also the risk of venturing forth across the planet to learn and share the human stories to be found, Connie credits the intentional community she has lived in here in Albany since the 1970’s built up around the Free School, for its commitment to embracing the necessity, the primacy and the building of community as well as the fostering of continual personal growth and profound self realization for the good of others among the community members.
Additionally, Connie acknowledges that her marriage to Frank Houde whose own personal journey took him from being an Air Force bomber pilot to being a national leader of Veterans for Peace made ever clearer to Connie the deep psychic as well as physical cost of war and our essential responsibility as individuals to speak to, to act in reconciliation toward the historical moment we find ourselves in.
Thus fed, supported, goaded and emboldened, Connie says that she began to feel compelled to embrace her art and to use it to tell the stories of our fellow planetary riders in an effort to make clear the essential sacredness of each life and our inherent human,… superseding all differences… connectedness across cultures.
To this end, Connie’s camera has framed the faces of the people of Peru, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, Egypt and Jordan…and even post Katrina New Orleans. Connie has found herself followed by a truckload of armed soldiers in Mexico in trying to understand and capture the effect of US involvement in the suppression of indigenous peoples. Her bus was stoned in Bosnia when on a mission to capture the human costs for Bosnian village women of that cruel civil war. (About fear?, Connie says that yes…although the radar is always up…the work is too important to be stymied) Connie traveled and photographed during the past few years to remote areas of China and most recently to 4 nations in West Africa where she documented waning traditional spiritual practices.
Perhaps, of greatest significance for the work of Women Against War, Connie has traveled since 2004, 5 times to Afghanistan. Inspired by her friends, the late Dr. Tom Little and his wife Libby’s deep love and unstinting devotion and commitment to that beautiful, war torn nation and its people, ever victim to the Great Game being played out endlessly within its borders by invaders and occupiers, Connie has returned over and over again to capture the beauty, integrity, intelligence, hope, pride, ravaged faces, courage and longing for peace , the essential common humanity of the people. Her photographs, especially of the women and children invite us, one after the other, to contemplate eye to probing eye, the life filled absurdity, the human, moral untenableness of war.
Connie’s love of Afghanistan gave her the opportunity to meet Afghan American activist Fahima Vorgetts whose own intrepid love of county and its peoples compels her also to work tirelessly to bring their needs to our consciousness in order to help provide the resources which will enable them to rebuild a sustainable way of life out of war wrought devastation and impoverishment.
Fueled by her own love of the Afghan people as well as Fahima’s vision of what is possible, Connie with a steady and gentle force of will and determination to “do something” inspired Women Against War with her sense of imperative to work in conjunction with Fahima to enable the building of a well, a school and a women’s shora in a village not far from Kabul, Mir Taqi Shah.
Afghanistan, its plight, its people, is much more real for all of us because of Connie’s lens and love.
With all of this in mind, in framing this award presentation, I would like to share with you the reaction of American poet Archibald MacLeish penned some four decades plus ago in reaction also to a photograph, a photograph taken from space by other voyageurs…the first image ever of our planet.
“For the first time in all of time men have seen the Earth. Seen it not as continents or oceans….but seen it from the depth of space; seen it whole and round and beautiful and small….And seeing it so one question came to the minds of those who looked at it. ” Is it inhabited?” they said to each other and laughed and then they didn’t laugh….for what came to their minds was the life on that little, lonely, floating planet; that tiny raft in the enormous, empty night. “Is it inhabited?”
The medieval notion of the earth put man at the center of everything. The nuclear notion of the earth put him nowhere…beyond the range of reason even…lost in absurdity and war. This latest notion may have other consequences. Formed as it was in the minds of heroic voyagers who were also human, it may remake our image of mankind. No longer that preposterous figure at the center, no longer that degraded victim at the margins of reality, blind with blood, man may at last become himself.
To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in the eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, sisters and brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold…sisters and brothers who know that they are truly so.”
Connie we can only begin to imagine the effort it takes for you to journey forth for all of us: the reading and preparation, the logistics of organizing travel, the financial burden and worries travel engenders, the exhaustion, the time away from family and work.
We can barely conceive of the courage of mind and heart it takes to over and over again confront the rigors of travel in physically challenging environments, often compounded by the uncertainty and tension of war and strife.
We can only guess at the efforts, the endless study and practice of technique, the purchase of equipment, the commitment to craft that has gone into honing your art.
We are in awe of your efforts to come back and process, frame, maintain a website for, schlep and hang your work from exhibit to exhibit, prepare for and deliver lecture after lecture …compelled as you are to tell the stories of the fellow planetary you are to tell the stories of the fellow riders you have met.
We are humbled by the humanity and tenacity you do all this with.
Thank you for all of that commitment and work dear Connie, it is beyond our words or ant award to repay but most profoundly, thank you for helping us see. We are truly grateful and honored to have you as friend and colleague.
I did not have a written response so I cannot reproduce my spontaneous words here. I can only express my sincere thanks to all my friends near and far. Without all of you this would not be possible.
In loving gratitude.
Posted on November 25, 2012
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. For me in means many family members of all different ages around a table. Growing up we would go over the bridge and through the woods to my Grandmother’s house where we never could get every one around the table. We always hoped that we would have graduated to sit at the adult table however when you are one of the younger ones no mater how old I was there never seemed to be enough room. So in my house everyone was around the table as we pushed our furniture aside and borrowed tables and chairs from friends and neighbors. Priscilla Frisbee, my 94 year old mother was at the head of the table. Astrid sitting on her father’s lap (her mother is standing) was the youngest. It was mostly longtime friends who are my neighborhood family who I am so grateful to know.
Thank you all for being such beautiful inspirational friends,