In my search to find organizations or programs that promote and teach peace through creative and artistic means, I found Sonic Peacemakers. The organization was founded by Lanny Cordola a guitarist and Todd Shea, a musician and founder of another organization called SHINE Humanity (Sustainable Healthcare Initiatives Now Empowering Humanity). The duo’s mission was to play music all throughout Pakistan in order to cultivate peace through various creative outlets. Since its formation, the organization has collected a diverse group of musicians from all over the world who travel through Pakistan, playing music and spreading peace.
Another important goal of the organization is to highlight and remind the rest of the world of the impressive and beautiful culture of Pakistan. In order to do so, the musicians collaborate with local musicians and children to create new music. They travel through the darkest areas of Pakistan including Taliban-controlled territories in order to reach out the people, especially the children, and remind them that peace and cooperation are possible even when they seem out of reach. By playing music, they not only empower the people but they also educate everyone involved. Many of these children who are forced to grow up in conflict zones rarely ever get to express themselves. Most don’t even have access to the arts. Sonic Peacemakers brings the arts to these children and help them realize their potentials and remind them that they can achieve more than they’ve been led to believe. Both sides are able to benefit through this organization. The children and the adults of Pakistan feel empowered and motivated, while the musicians explore new cultures and are taught of the beauty of the country and its people.
Sonic Peacemakers has set up several projects one of which was accomplished through the generosity of donors and local musicians. The organization created a four cd set entitled “The Sounds of Pakistan and Beyond” which consists of music from fifty-seven Pakistani artists that donated their music. With the funds collected from the sale of those CDs, the organization purchased guitars, keyboards, flutes, and drums and delivered them to the children of a school in Karachi.
When and What setting can this program be used?
Since music is an all encompassing form of art and communication, I feel that the work done by Sonic Peacemakers can be used in all settings. The program has successfully addressed children and adults alike in some of the most hostile areas of the world and it has led to me to believe that the same can be achieved in any other setting. It doesn’t always have to be used in areas of conflict. School children from all over the world can use this program to learn about each other. There is so much potential to not only teach peace, but also to educate people about the world by introducing new styles of music and bringing various artists together to play. For example, children in Pakistan and the United States can share with each other the types of music they each listen to and play to get an understanding of each others’ cultures. Children from all levels of education can benefit from this program. The same applies to adults as well.-
The Sonic Peacemakers program uses several peace education pedagogies. The most important ones come from the seven pillars of peace education. Community building, engaging multiple intelligences, nurturing emotional intelligence, exploring approaches to peace, transforming conflict nonviolently, and skill building are all achieved through the music program. The most important out of these is the engagement of multiple intelligences. Through this program people are able to engage with their verbal/linguistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and musical intelligences.
How can this program be implemented?
In order for the Sonic Peacemakers program to be successful, I think it would be important for educators to have strong grasps on music and culture. I think the more educated they are in these areas, the more successful they can be in spreading knowledge about peace and cooperation. Well connected educators are also necessary in order to bring together artists from all over the world. Additionally, support from the local communities, charities, and organizations can really make a difference in how successful the program can be. Through their donations, the organization is able to buy the necessary instruments and tools to spread peace through music.
Who is able to benefit from the program?
I believe that there is great potential for this program to reach out the transform various communities across the globe. There are two specific groups I think could stand to benefit. The first, are people in post-war areas that who are starting the process of rebuilding. Music can be extremely uplifting and it can really help these people as they try and mend their communities. It gives hope to people and keeps them going. A second group that I think would benefit are women who have dealt with violence and abuse. Women can achieve a lot through learning to play, listening to, and actually playing music. Many of these women are in situations that seem hopeless and lonely. Playing music for them and teaching them how to play instruments can give them hope. It can show them that they are capable of doing so much more and that they have something to achieve.