Sonic Peacemakers

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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.

Website: http://www.sonicpeacemakers.org

Mentoring Peace Through Art

While searching for innovative ways to teach and promote peace building, I came across an organization that not only achieves these goals, but that also allows young people to explore their creativity. Mentoring Peace Through Art is a Minneapolis based non-profit organization founded by Jimmy Longoria and Connie Fuller. The organization develops art projects aimed at elementary to high school kids throughout the diverse and troubled areas of Minneapolis. They provide the children with opportunities to explore their artistic and creative abilities while promoting peace.

MuralWorks in the Streets” and “MuralWorks in the Schools” are the two programs made available by the organization. “MuralWorks in the Streets” takes teens to the streets to make over walls ruined by gang graffiti by replacing them with beautiful, colorful art. According to the organization’s website, they have successfully remade 11 walls across the city as of 2012.

MuralWorks in the Schools brings art projects into elementary schools to teach children peace through activities that promote teamwork. Each project assigns individual students with tasks that contribute to a final product.

These programs not only teach young people about team work and the power of art, they also help keep them away from unlawful activities and guide them in positive directions. The efforts made by the organization can help to identify, engage, and promote future leaders while bringing peace to the community.

When, where and in what setting can these programs be used?

I believe that the ideals of Mentoring Peace Through Art and its programs can be applied to any educational setting. Since the main goals of the organization are to promote peace and build cooperation, any member of a community can take part in creating murals and art projects. The great thing about these programs is that they use a tool that is accessible to everyone, art. Allowing people to work together and express their individual creativity while creating artistic pieces that are representative of the community is the perfect way to teach peace. Since these programs have been successful with children and teens in troubled areas, there is a likelihood that it can be successful for people of all ages in various parts of the world.

How these programs can be implemented?

To implement these programs and really make sure they’re beneficial, educators should have strong connections to their communities and their community leaders. They should be well-connected in order to identify areas that need attention and intervention. Additionally, good relations with community leaders can help in gaining the support of the community as a whole. Educators should also be knowledgeable about art in order to develop projects that successfully promote positivity and peace. Strong leadership and communication skills are also important. Several of the seven pillars of peace education can be applied to these programs. Community-building, skill-building, engaging multiple intelligences, and nurturing emotional intelligence can be used with these programs. For example, by engaging people’s creativity, the art programs are able to focus in on engaging multiple intelligences as well as nurturing emotional intelligence.

Through the art programs, both children and adults can gain artistic, social, and team-building skills. In addition, they can learn to appreciate their communities and understand the importance of strengthening them.

Who will benefit?

Although the programs offered by Mentoring Peace Through Art can be beneficial for all, there are two groups they can be especially beneficial for. I think that they can be used by people of troubled areas all over the world. For example, community leaders and educators from cities with violence can take advantage of this program and prevent young people from following those violent paths. Since children are impressionable, educators can implement art programs to show them that they are capable of achieving anything. The programs can open their eyes to the possibilities they have before them. Another group that may benefit are adults who have struggled with the law. I think that these programs can be turned into rehabilitative resources for them. To prevent violence in troubled areas, it it also necessary to give attention to the sources of the violence. The programs can serve not only as outlets for these people but also as resources that allow them to build friendships and connections.

 

Website: http://www.mentoringpeace.org/