Creating Cultures of Peace: Art, Music, and Peace Museums

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IMG_8964How can the United Nations and NGOs unite people and cultures to make the world a better and more peaceful place? That was a central question posed at a UN Department of Public Information (DPI) briefing  titled, “Creating Cultures of Peace: Art, Music, and Peace Museums” that Peace Boat US attended on  February 23, 2017,

Dr. Joyce Aspel, author of Introducing Peace Museums and member of the International Network of Museums for Peace, explained that peace museums promote understanding of peace as a significant part of history and provide a space for people to come together.  She identified some of the peace museums around the world, including Pasos Peace Museum,  a virtual museum accessible to everyone in which different webpages act as “rooms” in the museum.  Lea Giddins, a representative of the museum, explained how peace museums can be used to connect, empower, and inspire peace builders.

Next, Michael Dinwiddie and Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington, spoke on behalf of the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts and how music can promote peace and intercultural understanding.  They discussed Duke Ellington’s role as a goodwill ambassador for the State Department and his worldwide tours which started in 1963.  He wrote over 3000 compositions inspired by his travels, including the famous “Far East Suite.”  Mercedes Ellington shared anecdotes from her time with him on his USSR tour and discussed how “arts come to the rescue.”  Finally, Lily Gray, Liaison officer at UNESCO, and Hajime Kishimori, Counselor of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, both talked about the role their institutions can play in supporting cultures of peace. Lily Gray discussed how culture and art can be drivers of sustainable development and mentioned some of UNESCO’s programs that emphasize them.  For example, UNESCO’s General and Regional Histories focus on scientific, cultural, and religious contributions (instead of battles, kings, and violence) that support global citizenship and conflict prevention.  Hajime Kishimori focused on the role governments can have in promoting art and cultures of peace.

Overall, it was a very interesting event that brought into question how we define peace and how we can foster it.   It fit well into Sustainable Development Goal #16 (Peace,Justice and Strong Institutions) as well as Peace Boat’s commitment to connecting people from different cultures to make a more peaceful world.

This post was created and published by Lindsey Sokol (Peace Boat US Intern).

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Celebrating Women Artists On Music Freedom Day

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In celebration of this year’s annual Music Freedom Day on March 3rd, we give the spotlight to Valentina Colvin, a talented female artist from Concepcion, Chile. Highlighting the contribution of women to music from around the world and their influence on fighting for the right of self expression, Valentina Colvin shares her perspectives and opinions in Chile through a special interview for the Music & Art Peace Academy (MAPA) project in Chile this year. MAPA aims to provide young artists, musicians and producers from around the world with experiences and resources that further enhance and develop their creative talents. Valentina joined a team of artists and musicians to support the project with International NGO Peace Boat and the local nonprofit environmental organization CODEFF ( National Committee to Protect the Flora and Fauna of Chile) to protect the pristine nature of Patagonia and declare it a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO.valecolvin

Special Interview with Vale Colvin in Chile for the Patagonica tour Vol 9 with Parties4Peace / MAPA

When did you start to play music, and what was your first inspiration?

I’ve loved many different styles of music since I was young. I would buy my own keyboards, and without knowing how to play I would play whatever came to my mind. I remember that I loved to sit for hours and hours listening to the radio and make cassette mixes with the songs I liked most; I took them with me everywhere in my “Walkman”.

I began to really get into electronic music around the year 2000 when I went to “la Republica”, the only place in Concepcion that had a music and art proposal. There I met the “Negro Estrada”. A couple of years later I started to work with him to make a couple electronic music events. Around the year 2005, after I’d fallen in love with the electronic beats, I approached Pedro Campos, the resident DJ who taught me the art of mixing vinyl. There I started to play and promote music in Concepcion; Pedro and I did many events together. With these I forged connections with other artists in Santiago and abroad that influenced my style and opened many new doors for me.

Is this your first time traveling to Patagonia? What part of the trip are you excited about?

EVERYTHING… I am from the South, and love nature, the trees, the fresh air, the sound of the wind or the birds, and the water. I was dying to be in front of the immense mountains and glaciers; they have such a powerful energy. My younger sister once went on a hike and was incapable of describing to me how incredible they were. I have heard a lot about the immensity and diversity of its landscapes. I am very excited to be able to share this experience with other people and artists from other places that are also interested in its preservation.

unnamed1Why do you think that it is important to protect the beautiful Patagonian wildlife in Chile?

Seeing how the world is today (and all of the recent forest fires in Chile ), I think that it is becoming more urgent than ever that those who are aware of the issue take clear actions to protect the wildlife, and become a daily example for others. After living in Europe and seeing how in developed countries being able to drink clean water or eat an organic and flavorful tomato is very difficult or a luxury, I think that it is fundamental that in countries where there still exists a pure ecosystem we take measures so that man’s ambition doesn’t continue to destroy the planet, before it is too late. With places on our continent like Patagonia, or like the Amazon (the Earth’s “lung”), intervention shouldn’t even be questioned; sometimes it is hard to believe how ridiculous humanity can be.

How do you think music and art can be used as a positive global force for good?

I think that through music and art we can transmit a clear message to open global conscious and influence more people without the message being interfered with (as happens many times with other communication mediums). I also think that through an artist’s sensitivity you can open a similar sensitivity in other people. Through art you can more easily impact those that live “blind” in their day to day lives, always thinking about how to make more money without thinking about the impact of their actions. With art you can increase awareness, communicate with others, educate, and influence. I think that by working in a unified and loving group, in a music or art collective, you can create a powerful influence; these powerful groups can motivate the masses, and with them I really think that true changes can be achieved.

You live in Berlin right now; How is the German scene? Is it similar to the Chilean scene?

The electronic music scene in German is much broader and more developed, as I am still discovering. In Germany there are stores with new and used CDs everywhere you look, an infinite about of clubs that are open at all hours (that invest more in music and sounds than in publicity or PR), magazines that are distributed for free to generate art publicity, labels, thousands of summer festivals, all of the best possible quality. It is more than just an electronic music scene – it is culture and a lifestyle.

Ever since I’ve been involved with this I see how many artists don’t only play or produce music, but also try, through labels or other mediums (like what we tried to do with cigarra.fm) to generate more music culture. But in Chile this is not easy; Chilean many times only follows what is trending.

I think that today’s youth and artists don’t have enough opportunities to travel, and with the current tools they can find more influences and identity in their tastes and what they like abroad through technology. Based on what I have learned by talking with friends that keep trying new things here, today there is more interest. There are movements to create a scene, but it is important for the focus to be on the music and the art, and to make sure that conditions exist for the artists to showcase their work. The idea is to grow not only in quantity but also in quality.

LISTEN TO VALE COLVIN on SOUNDCLOUD HERE :
https://soundcloud.com/valecolvin/

You have a very unique style – why did you choose to play vinyl?

A lot of the music that is produced today is only made in vinyl… through this format, along with a good sound system in a club, you can create big differences in terms of sounds. Furthermore, through this format you can listen to music made several years before, when computers didn’t exist and sounds were 100% original and analogue. Today the use of software and digital technology has made music more disposable. Today you can create your own particular style through a search and selection of vinyl. For me being a DJ involves selecting and collecting discs to create a personal brand that makes a difference. This can take a lot of time and work. When I find a song I love, I like to take the time to listen to it carefully, to play and have it sound good, so that years later I can listen to it again and have it sound the same.

You are going to participate in the MAPA events in Chile – how do you plan on contributing to the cause devoted to making the world a better place through music?

I try to do what I do with love and to the best of my ability. I have some art and music projects with a common purpose. Through participation you can create nets and connections that overtime connect together, complementing and strengthening each other so that public awareness can be generated.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would like to thank and congratulate Emilie and everyone that is part of this wonderful project, and those that work with and for music and art, contributing to better the planet we live on. By uniting to generate small changes and projects we can do great things. I really do love the cause!

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What is Peace Boat US?

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 Peace Boat US is a civil society, non-profit organization working to promote peace, sustainable development, human rights and respect for the environment throughout the United States and the world through educational programs organized in partnership with the NGO Peace Boat, which carries out its main activities through a chartered passenger ship that travels the world on peace voyages. The ship creates a neutral, mobile space and enables people to engage across borders in dialogue and mutual cooperation at sea, and in the ports that we visit. These goals are pursued through peace education programs onboard the ship, including conferences, workshops, face to face encounters and field studies. We educate, raise awareness, and inspire action which will bring forth positive political and social change in the world for peace. Participants learn about various social, political, environmental, and economic issues through our onboard educational programs and our exposure programs in the countries we visit. Learning directly through people to people encounters and grass-roots field experiences, we examine the root causes of local and global issues, nurture compassion, empathy, and responsibility as global citizens.

For more information, please visit: 

This post was created and published by Michelle (Intern from Peace Boat US)