Patricia Ariza (b. 1948, Velez Santender, Bogotá, Colombia) Patricia Ariza is a leading light in engaged theatre in a context of civil war. As a child, Ariza became one of Bogota’s million refugees and later at university she initiated student involvement in social issues through artistic expression. On graduating she produced high quality independent theatre and in 1966 co-founded Colombia’s first alternative theatre, Teatro La Candelaria. Ariza has formulated a special approach to theatre making that promotes social interaction and thereby reduces conflict. A specific group such as women displaced by violence, the elderly or market vendors, through testimony and re-enactment, develop a script centred on the issues in their collective life. Personal experience is then transformed into matter for public dialogue through performance in one of the many organisations Ariza was instrumental in founding and directing such as the Cultural Theatre Movement, the Colombian Theatre Corporation, National Festival of New Theatre, Festival of Alternative Theatre or Festival of Women on Stage. This award honours Patricia Ariza for her outstanding work over decades to empower the disadvantaged, enabling them to transform their lives through cultural activities, for her efforts to counteract injustice and restore social memory, and for her energetic commitment to the reduction of conflict.