Saturday, May 30, 2015

Rock in a hard place

While the EU was able to facilitate dialogue about the future of Kosovo at government level, the divide between local communities remains as rigid as ever. In TEDxTirana, Wendy Hassler-Forest, talks about how the Mitrovica Rock School has managed to connect hundreds of youth, from the two communities, in a city where countless efforts at reconciliation had failed before. The reason why this was possible, as she herself admits, is because, "at the Mitrovica Rock School, music is the only thing that matters". Wendy Hassler-Forest is the head of Musicians without Borders' regional office for South East Europe. With parents with careers in peace work and music, she decided early on to go in the opposite direction and aim for a career in law. Her interest in international relations pulled her back to the family business, and in 2008 she started at Musicians without Borders, co-organizing the start-up of the Mitrovica Rock School in Kosovo.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Musicians without Borders

"If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music."
- Jimi Hendrix
Musicians without Borders uses the power of music to bridge divides, connect communities, and heal the wounds of war. They work closely with local musicians and organizations to build sustainable projects in response to local needs. They believe music creates empathy, builds connection and gives hope. Their vision is to make the arts accessible through peace building activities. Currently two of their projects - in Rwanda and Mitrovica - are at serious risk of closure due to a lack of funding.
Mitrovica Rock School - In post-war Kosovo, aspiring young rock stars meet across divides at the Mitrovica Rock School, where it’s all about the music.
Rwanda Youth Music – Introducing music therapy, training and community music activities to empower youth and children affected by HIV/AIDS.
Please HELP if you can.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Robert De Niro's Commencement Speech

"When it comes to the arts, passion should always trump common sense. You weren’t just following dreams, you were reaching for your destiny. You’re a dancer, a singer, a choreographer, musician, a filmmaker, a writer, a photographer, a director, a producer, an actor, an artist. Yeah, you're f***ed. The good news is that’s not a bad place to start"
"By the way, there will be times when your best isn’t your good enough. There can be many reasons for this, but as long as you give your best you’ll be OK."
-- Robert De Niro commencement speech at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Communication, Impact, and Empowerment in Music Education

"Education has to change, because in theory education needs to reflect the challenges of the society into which young people are entering...By nature over the last 30...40...50 years the world has changed dramatically, but actually education hasn't changed that much." 
Richard Gerver is the former Headteacher at Grange School in Derby, which won a UNESCO Arts Award. He is currently an educational speaker, author and broadcaster. He is author of Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today, where he argues that education is the platform for our success or failure and discusses whether the current system still fit for purpose.
"Music Education Days" at The 2015 NAMM Show featured Richard's keynote address. This talk conveys his view of leadership, change and innovation as related to education reform. “Education is not about content delivery, or preparing students to take tests” states Gerver, “It’s about helping to develop and empower them so they don’t just survive, but they thrive.” Through humor and personal stories, Richard emphasizes the influence that music education holds as a catalyst for improving our world, and shares his deep appreciation for Music Educators. “You are extraordinary people and what brings you here today, and what keeps you doing your job; through the obstacles, through all the things that are in your way, is a profound sense of higher purpose…Thank You” (source NAMM website)
-- Read/Listen to Richard interview on the Future of Education on 21st century Challenges
-- Read Richard's interview on dailyedventures
-- Watch Hot Management at The Grange School

Monday, May 04, 2015

The Power of Education #2

Zero Percent is a film documentary that takes the audience inside Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison’s college program inside Sing Sing Maximum Security Prison. From the outset of the film, we learn that Hudson Link sponsored students are men who have come to appreciate the full impact of their life-altering crimes, on others and themselves. And while it may be years before they see life outside the prison walls, we see first-hand their insight that their only hope for a redemptive, productive life is through the dedication they have shown in transforming their lives. The driving force behind Hudson Link’s creation and success is the men who were once incarcerated themselves; men who experienced first-hand the impact that mental and emotional rehabilitation can have on their lives, their families and their communities. The film’s title, Zero Percent, refers to the fact that not one of Hudson Link’s graduates has been re-incarcerated for a new crime once released (from Hudson Link website).
Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison provides college education, life skills and re-entry support to incarcerated men and women to help them make a positive impact on their own lives, their families and communities, resulting in lower rates of recidivism, incarceration and poverty.
-- go to Zero Percent website
-- go to Zero Percent Facebook
-- watch more videos here

Hudson Link Documentary "Zero Percent" Trailer from Hudson Link on Vimeo.

Hudson Link: Sing Sing Inmates Earn College Degrees from Hudson Link on Vimeo.

Friday, May 01, 2015

The Power of Education

"Being born a boy of the slums, society demands that I see myself as a loser, a person to remain poor all of his life. No. I see a different picture."
'The Backward Class' is a feature length documentary (winner of the Audience Award at 2014 Hot Docs) featuring the first class of dalit ('untouchable') caste students to attempt the Indian School Certificate exams & aspire for university after been given a European style education for the last thirteen years . One Class. One Dream. One Chance to beat the Odds.A first feature directed by Vancouver-based Madeleine Grant.
-- Read Canada’s The Backward Class is Hot Docs audience favourite
-- Read interview with Director

The Backward Class Trailer from The Backward Class on Vimeo.