|Ukuleles for Peace
Web site: http://ukulelesforpeace.com
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Ten years of playing for Peace
"Ukuleles for Peace" orchestra is a unique grassroots, non profit, registered co existence project.
The project involves Arabs & Jews, who play ukuleles together and sing in English, Arabic and Hebrew.
The project was created by the musician, Paul Moore, in 2004 and involves mainly pupils and graduates from the Democratic school in Hod Hasharon (Jews) and El Zahara school in Tira (Arabs).
Young Arab and Jews succeed at what adults have not been able to do for many years of an ongoing conflict:
By playing music together, they get to learn about their different cultures and form a relationship without any stereotypical prejudice.
Moreover, children of both nationalities involve their families in trips, picnics and concerts. For many, these activities play a major role in their Arab Jewish social interaction.
The projects' main goal is to create opportunities for Jews and Arabs who live in close proximity to meet and befriend one another. Once friendships and solidarity are established, these children and families will be the force driving the wheels of social change in Israel.
Some unique characteristics of our project are:
"Ukuleles for Peace" is a long term project. Arabs and Jews, boys and girls 7-19 years of age, meet every week for years, and perform together. (Many other projects attempt to build bridges between Arabs and Jews by attending a single seminar or a couple of meetings, which are not enough to overcome prejudice and consolidate friendships).
Rehearsals take place at the member's homes, following their wish that all youngsters will get to know the families of their peers better, including their customs, culture, culinary culture [ ]
Feminine leadership: It is the youngsters' mothers who meet, plan and execute all cultural and social activities.
The orchestra performs in festivals, peace events and at schools. We volunteer at old people homes, perform to challenged populations and in hospitals.
It is very important to us that the orchestra volunteers and be socially involved.
Shows often end with a questions and answers session between the orchestra and the audience about their work together. In that manner, the audience is exposed to the efforts made to promote co living and peace.
We, Ukuleles for Peace, show the audiences children and adults in Israel and abroad that we can live together in harmony if we only so choose.
In 2010, the orchestra toured Italy, playing. In 2012, 2013 and 2014 representatives of the orchestra took part in the wonderful and unique Polish initiated international project "Brave Kids" and performed in UNESCO's center in Paris and in the biggest concert hall in Wroclaw.
During summer 2014, In Poznan and in Berlin the group performed to mixed audiences of Christians, Jews and Muslims. The concerts were followed by free communication session during which the audiences asked questions to which the group replied.
Of course, the situation this summer was especially challenging. Despite the events, the friendship between Arab and Jewish members of the orchestra, held strong. The parents, Arabs and Jews alike, took a very active stance, supporting and reinforcing their kids' choices during this sad, complex and confusing period.
Dana, a 15 years old teen from Tira says: "We are a big, happy family
" and continues: "Be sure that I will share this happiness with the world".
We believe our project creates a platform of a new generation of peace makers that will build a better future for us all.
We are certain that the model we created can benefit many conflict torn societies in the world.
We believe humanity can and should choose another path starting with our societies.
Our orchestra was invited to perform in the biggest ukulele festival of the world, in Hawaii, during the summer of 2015. We are planning to tour and perform in the U.S. to audiences of all religions convictions and ethnic origins and will appreciate your help.
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