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This blog was written by Elisa Gazzotti, who participated in the training of Musicians Without Borders program Al-Musiqa Tajm’ana. Elisa is program coordinator of human rights education for the Soka Gakkai International Office for UN Affairs. She is also chair for the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning.

‘’Where words fail, music speaks.”

Hans Christian Andersen

To me, this quote, mentioned during one of the training sessions, summarizes the essence of Al-Musiqa Tajm’ana.

In July and October, I had the great opportunity to participate in the training sessions led by Fabienne van Eck, program manager for Musicians Without Borders and Tareq Jundi, a very talented Jordanian oud player supported by the wonderful efforts of Rita Haddadin from Caritas Jordan.

Thanks to this firsthand experience with them, I could learn more about the power of music to overcome division, creating inclusion, and healing from trauma. I was so inspired to see how this brief but intense training can truly empower people, fostering connection, and ultimately creating a change in the participants lives and therefore in wider communities. Surely, I experienced a transformation in my own life.

I have been working in the field of human rights education for the last five years, but only recently, thanks to my first encounter with Musicians Without Borders in 2019, I could deepen my understanding of music as a tool that can truly build a culture of human rights, rooted in communities and society. Without speaking about human rights, to me, these trainings ultimately have clearly embedded a human rights approach, by deeply respecting and valuing each participant, inspiring a change for the better, and ultimately creating value for the people that will be trained in the future by these musicians and teachers.

Thanks to the encounter with Musicians Without Borders and experiencing this training firsthand, I now fully believe in music and arts as a tool for promoting human rights. In this view, I would like to mention that, as in 2021 we commemorated the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the UN declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (2011), Article 3 of the Declaration states that ‘The arts should be encouraged as a means of training and raising awareness in the field of human rights’.

A group photo of the participants in the training. Elisa is pictured all the way on the right, in the peach sweater.