Musicians Without Borders - War Divides, Music Connects » About Us

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About Us
About Us

Established in May 1999 by founder and director Laura Hassler, and registered as a charitable foundation in 2000, Musicians Without Borders is the world’s pioneer in using music for peacebuilding and social change.

Laura mobilized her network of socially conscious musicians to create an organization dedicated to using music to bridge divides, connect communities and heal the wounds of war. The organization’s first long term project, the Music Bus, brought music, dance and theater to children in Srebrenica and its neighboring towns and refugee camps.

Following the success of the Music Bus, Musicians Without Borders was invited to conferences and cultural events in Kosovo and in Palestine, which would later lead to two of its founding programs, the Mitrovica Rock School and Palestine Community Music. In the years that followed, Musicians Without Borders expanded to include programs in Central Eastern Africa, Central America and Europe.

Today, Musicians Without Borders engages with artists, social activists and communities worldwide. We share expertise as we work to enable musicians to be advocates, activists, teachers, and performers, with the message: War Divides, Music Connects.

International Office
Laura Hassler
Founder and Director
Meagan Hughes
Project & Training Coordinator, Director's Assistant
Ilaria Modugno
Head of Finance
Nehmi Klaassen
Head of Communications
Otto de Jong
Head of Training Development
Chris Nicholson
Regional Manager (East Africa) & MEL Lead 
Gail Babb
Safeguarding Consultant
Olga Muhwati
Lucy Little
Irma Kort
Instrument Fund Coordinator
Amanda Koser-Gillespie
Head of Curriculum Development & Project Manager, Music Bridge
Mitrovica Rock School, West Balkans
Wendy Hassler-Forest
Program Manager & Regional Representative, SE Europe
Emir Hasani
Director of Programs, Mitrovica Rock School
Milizza Kosova
Director of Operations, Mitrovica Rock School
Palestine Community Music, Palestine
Fabienne van Eck
Program Manager, Palestine Community Music & Regional Representative
Ahmad al'Azzeh
Project Coordinator & Nonviolence Trainer, Palestine Community Music
Rwanda Youth Music, Rwanda
Allison Shyaka
Rwanda Youth Music Program Coordinator, WEACTx for Hope
Rinske Bakker
Welcome Notes, Europe
Anna Rose Swinkels
Welcome Notes, Project Manager
Soy Música, El Salvador
Miguel Ortega
Program Manager, Soy Música
Marina Liébana
Project Support Officer
Darren Abrahams
Chris Colleye
Rukengeza Espoir
Marion Haak-Schulenburg
Manu van Kersbergen
Sherwin Kirindongo
Paolo Rossetti Murittu
Marijke Smedema
Emma Smith
Christa Tinari
Hanno Tomassen
Kana Yves Nzeyimana
Jose Pepe Garcia
Alejandro Arrate Fernandez
Gregor Schulenburg
Jim Pinchen
Ryuko Reid
Supervisory Board
Johan Dorrestein
André Buitenhuis
Eduard Nazarski
Board Member
Laïla Abid
Board Member
Jeske Remmers
Board Member
Leslie Snider
Board Member
In Kind Donors & Sponsorship
Project Partners
Rwanda Youth Music Donors
Mitrovica Rock School Donors
Palestine Community Music Donors
Welcome Notes Donors
No Vacancies Right Now

We are musicians, artists, peacebuilders, pioneers, and changemakers. We believe in the power of music and its capability to bridge divides and connect communities. Through our community-based music projects, we support processes ofreconciliation, healing and community buildingin present and post-conflict regions. We have ongoing projects in the Balkans, the Middle East, Central Africa, Central America, and Europe.

At this time Musicians Without Borders does not have open positions. Please check back here soon !
Reporting & Policies

Safety is a guiding principle that steers our work with communities affected by war and armed conflict: to ensure a safe space for everyone who participates in our programs.

The safeguarding of our staff and program participants is not only inherent in our guiding principles, but also informs the daily operations of our organization. As we work on a daily basis with vulnerable children and adults who are in or at risk of becoming involved in abusive, exploitative or dangerous situations, we are committed to safeguarding as a fundamental element of our organizational culture in order to protect the rights of our participants and to ensure their well-being.

At Musicians Without Borders, we ensure a culture of safeguarding through:
  • An appointed safeguarding team within the organization;
  • The implementation of a Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct;
  • Access to safeguarding resources and training for our staff, trainers and participants;
  • Assessment of our staff, trainers and volunteers for suitability for working with children and vulnerable adults through reference and background checks;
  • Ensuring that staff, trainers, volunteers and participants know the appropriate reporting procedure for safeguarding issues;
  • Protecting our staff and participants’ identity and personal information through secure data systems and informed consent processes;
  • Conducting risk assessments in advance of our program activities.

We recognize that safeguarding is a practice that needs to be given regular attention and we invite the feedback of our participants, supporters and stakeholders on the effectiveness of our efforts and practices.

If you have any questions or concerns in regards to safeguarding within our programs, you are welcome to contact Meagan Hughes, Designated Safeguarding Lead: [email protected]

Download our full Safeguarding Policy & Procedures here


It is Musicians without Borders’ policy to conduct all of our work in an honest and accountable manner. We take a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity. Our Code of Conduct promotes honest and ethical behavior throughout the organization, as well as provides a mechanism to report unethical conduct.

If you suspect that any bribery, corruption or other breach of this policy has occurred or may occur, you can lodge a complaint at any time to Laura Hassler, MWB Director (+31 (0) 20 330 5012 /[email protected]) or Meagan Hughes, Project & Training Coordinator (+31 (0) 20 330 5012 / [email protected]). Your report will be treated confidentially.

Make a complaint through our online form

Code of Conduct

All MWB personnel, volunteers, associates and guests are required to read this entire document
carefully, sign and return to Musicians Without Borders.


Musicians Without Borders (MWB) staff, trainers, volunteers, associates and guests understand that MWB works with people who have experienced the traumatic effects of current or recent conflict. MWB maintains zero tolerance for abuse, harassment and discrimination within its work and subscribes to equal and fair treatment for all individuals.

Our Code of Conduct provides the following guidance on what we expect of all individuals working on our behalf.

1. Respecting Local Culture and Values

 When traveling for MWB, please inform yourself of social customs regarding dress and appearance, contact (e.g. between men and women) in the public space as well as social rules around such things as courtesy, home visits, gift-giving, etc., and respect them. Please refer to your direct supervisor/program manager for guidance.

 Please do not ask questions, or start or join discussions about politics, religion, sex or personal relationships. These are usually the most volatile subjects and frequently extremely sensitive.

 Be sensitive to differences in material wealth – most of our projects take place in poor communities (don’t bring expensive electronic equipment with you, etc.)

 Do not inquire about people’s personal lives or histories, unless they themselves open the subject. Many people involved in our projects have painful histories and traumatic stories; respect their privacy to share these (or not to) on their own terms.

 Do not make any promises of future help or give anyone money; if you want to do something to support the local community or specific individuals, please refer to your supervisor/program manager.

2. Personal Behavior: Rock ‘n’ Roll allowed, sex and drugs are not!

Even though music can and should be fun, please remember that you are not on holiday or on your own time, but working in an MWB program. Therefore, please respect these rules:

 No use of drugs under any circumstances;

 Alcohol only where culturally appropriate, and where so, only in moderation- no drunkenness,
under any circumstances;

 No sexual activities with minors (under 18) or program participants;

 Behave modestly (e.g. no loud or raucous behavior).

3. Safeguarding Our Participants


 Treat participants with respect regardless of age, race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, disability or other status.

 Acknowledge the work of local partners and participants, and represent your own contribution honestly and modestly.

 Be aware of particular risks or vulnerabilities of participants and be aware of your position as someone with power or authority.

 Be aware of situations which may present risks (for example, being alone with participants, taking film/photo or interviewing for work purposes/reporting). You may only proceed if the situation is within the boundaries of this policy and after obtaining clearance from management and the participants.

 Plan and organize the work, workplace or visit to manage risks.

 As much as possible, be visible in working with or visiting participants.

 Foster and ensure a culture of openness to enable any issues or concerns to be raised and discussed.

 Ensure accountability amongst staff, trainers and volunteers to document and address poor practices or potentially abusive behavior.

 Talk to participants about their contact with staff and other participants, inform them about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior according to MWB policies and procedures and encourage them to raise any concerns.

 Report concerns or incidents of participant abuse to the designated persons and authorities. Please refer to the designated MWB program manager to clarify the reporting procedure.


 Do not develop physical or sexual relationships with participants. Do not behave physically in a manner that is inappropriate (for example, fondle, hold, hug, kiss or touch participants in a culturally insensitive way) or behave sexually. Do not sleep in the same room or bed as the participants.

 Do not act in ways that may be abusive, exploitative, physically or emotionally harmful or act in ways which places a participant at risk of this.

 Do not spend time alone with participants away from others including taking a participant away from the project alone or having meetings alone. If privacy is needed, other staff member(s) must be aware and a door must be left open.

 Do not condone, or participate in, behavior of participants which is illegal, unsafe or abusive.

 Do not use corporal punishment or otherwise physically assault participants.

 Do not act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade participants, or otherwise perpetrate any form of emotional abuse.

 Do not discriminate against, show unfounded differential treatment to, or favor particular participants.

 Do not let participants do domestic or other labor which is inappropriate given their age or developmental stage, which interferes with their education, or which places them at risk of injury.

 Do not allow a participant to be systematically neglected and do not fail to protect them from any harm that you are aware of.

 Do not abandon your professional distance by taking on a personal caring role such as by becoming a personal donor or a godparent.

4. Photographs & Video

 Do not take any photos, videos or audio recordings without the express permission of the program manager. You are however welcome to share any media that has already been shared on official MWB [or program partner] platforms.

 Do not make promises to the participant in return for photos/videos.

 Take images of participants that are dignified and respectful and that do not present them as victims, vulnerable or submissive.

 Ensure that images could not be interpreted as sexual or condone any other situation of abuse.

 Protect the safety and privacy of participants and their families by not using identifiable images in the media or internet, or using them in any way which reveals their location.

5. Representation

We are grateful for your participation in our work, however, please bear in mind that you are not authorized to speak on behalf of MWB unless given express permission by MWB’s director. Please refer press and other inquiries regarding MWB’s work to program managers, regional representatives or MWB’s director. When referencing your affiliation with MWB on social media and other public platforms, we ask you to convey a modest image (no references to sex, alcohol, drugs, etc.) and not make statements that endorse or denounce a particular culture, religion, or political orientation.

6. Anti-Corruption

It is MWB’s policy to conduct all of our work in an honest and accountable manner. We maintain zero-tolerance for bribery and corruption and are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity. As part of your role with MWB, you agree to protect the organization’s assets and resources and not use the organization’s equipment to view, download, create or distribute inappropriate material.

7. Sanctions & Complaints

Any breach of this Code of Conduct can result in one or more of the following actions taken by the relevant program manager, regional representatives or the director: a warning; an immediate termination of your stay at the project location; the withholding of part or all of any agreed-upon payments for your services; the decision by MWB not to employ or include you in its project work in the future; and, in the case of serious breaches, criminal prosecution. Any extra costs involved (e.g. earlier return flights, lodgings, etc.) will be your own responsibility and not covered by MWB.

If you suspect that a breach of this policy has occurred or may occur, you can lodge a complaint at any time to your direct supervisor/program manager or Laura Hassler, MWB Director (+31 (0) 20 330 5012 /[email protected]). Your report will be treated confidentially.


Information on Stichting Musicians Without Borders' Public Benefit Organization status (Dutch: ANBI status)

Stichting Musicians Without Borders

Chamber of Commerce registration number: 34107061

RSIN number: 809384322

Post/visiting address
Tolhuisweg 1
1031 CL Amsterdam

Email address
[email protected]

Telephone number
+31 (0) 20 3305012

Musicians Without Borders’ Articles of Confederation

Statuten (Nederlands)

MWB Articles (English)

Mission & Goals

MWB Media Kit

Strategic Plan


Annual & Financial Report

Annual Report 2018

Financial Report 2018

Board of Directors
Johan Dorrestein, Chair
André Buitenhuis
Laila Abid
Eduard Nazarski
Jeske Remmers
Leslie Snider

Human Resources policies
Musicians Without Borders’ human resources policy is as follows:

  • The foundation is not affiliated with a collective agreement, but accepts the guidelines of the collective labor agreement (CAO Welzijn) in principle as a standard for determining salaries;
  • The ability to follow these guidelines is however dependent on the availability of sufficient (raised) funds;
  • In any case, the level of salaries will never be higher than as indicated in the collective agreement (CAO Welzijn)