We wake up to a world full of conflict. The lucky ones are watching it from a distance, but what about so many of those who have to experience it firsthand? So many of them are young people and children. Nothing fair about it, nothing we should become numb about, nothing to be normalised. The war should not exist, and it does.
Today, January 11th, 2024, the project we initiated has begun. It has all to do with peace, but it has no false ambitions to magically improve the world. We know what we are. There are no magicians here – we are a group of well-meaning people and organisations and will do our work. We would gladly accept any magic wand and put peace upon this planet, but instead, this is what we can do.
MY PEACE project emerges as a beacon of hope, especially for the youth affected by the unsettling realities of war. Launched by a consortium of passionate organizations across Europe, MY PEACE is dedicated to contributing to the peacebuilding process by empowering youth educators with innovative educational approaches centred around music.
The Essence of MY PEACE
MY PEACE is not just a project; it’s a movement aimed at reclaiming the stolen youth of those affected by war. By integrating music into peacebuilding education, the project offers a creative and resonant platform for youth to express themselves, engage in active citizenship, and foster a sense of initiative. The project’s multifaceted approach includes:
1. Creating a roadmap and pedagogic model for peacebuilding through music.
2. Engaging youth in actual music sessions, allowing them to convey their messages of peace.
3. Developing a digital portal for learning events, workshops, and collaborative opportunities.
4. Disseminating the project’s impact and findings, and ensuring its legacy continues.
A Coalition for Change
The project brings together diverse organizations from across Europe, including le LABA (France), Okret / Spin (Bosnia & Herzegowina), musiclab Emmendingen (Germany), Outside Media & Knowledge UG (Germany), European E-learning Institute (Denmark), MOMENTUM Educate + Innovate (Ireland), and the International European University (Ukraine).
Why it matters – Peace Must be Built Even During Wartime
Sanja Ivandic, the founder of Outside Media & Knowledge, Germany, and a pivotal figure in the conception of MY PEACE, shared a heartfelt letter at the project’s kick-off meeting on January 11th, 2024. Her words echo the project’s ethos:
My Peace is a project created out of hope. I envisioned it before the war in Ukraine. Peace is always in the minds of those raised in wartime and war seems to be persistent, so I remember finally shaping the constant need to talk about it into an idea. I felt that Bosnian youth had so much to say and teach. I felt that youth in Europe is about to face challenges, war rhetoric, and about to fall back further in the lines of priorities for policymakers, media, and the general public.
Unfortunately, I was right. I wish I was wrong. Two wars occurred, and one of them I think from the time this application was submitted. Two big ones, but unfortunately also conflict seems to be ever occurring and I do not have a pretense of belief we will stop the war with MY PEACE.
What I want and do believe is that young people have something to say. The rise of conflict, war, and extreme rhetoric all steel youth from youth. They freeze their time, they marginalize youth in new and cruel ways. No one has asked young people what they have to say about the war.
Our project application says it best:
“MY PEACE empowers youth to be engaged in the peacebuilding process in a way that is attractive and close to youth, through the vessel of music. Music is an important part of cultural identity and culture is one of the core elements around which understanding and empathy are needed, upon which peace can be accomplished. When we cherish and value each other’s cultural heritage, we eliminate the need for conflict.”
We will send a message that it is important to build peace, including young people, especially when they are exposed to gloomy realities, and the method we propose is through music.”
This is what some young people said:
“Peace must be built even when war is raging. We know that war is raging now, and all the young people hear is war”
“We need to hear that someone still believes in peace and that we have the right to ask for peace.”
“I don’t think we will stop the war with a song, but we can bring back youth at least one day, at least one young person, and that’s great.”
“We lose our youth in war”.
I would like to invite this partnership to approach this project with much care, empathy, and love. Please remember, that the world is losing hope, and someone must work on things made of hope. Our role is to take part in that!
MY PEACE is more than a project; it’s a call to action for all who believe in the transformative power of music and the essential role of youth in building a peaceful future. We invite you to join us in this harmonious quest for peace and hope.