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WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
Using music to bridge divides, connect communities,
and heal the wounds of war and conflict.

Music is the language of emotions: it can communicate what words sometimes cannot. As such, music can be shared by people of different cultures, backgrounds and languages without and beyond words.

Empathy is the glue that holds human relationships together: whether at the personal level, the family, the clan, the religion, the nation, or these days, our global communities.

Music creates empathy, because music is something that is shared by every human being on earth and when we share music, we instinctively recognize that common humanity. You might say that we are music: from the rhythm of our heartbeat, our breath or our walking or dancing step, to the perception of tone everywhere in our lives, to the melody of our voices: music is in our bodies and in our spirits.

As musicians, leaders, and shapers of music communities worldwide, we have the power to build empathy, to combat fear, to resist the culture of war, and to be peace makers.

Core Values
  • We use music as a tool for bridging divides and promoting social change.
  • We strive to increase empathy among all participants.
  • We strive to cultivate a culture of nonviolence.
Principles of Our Work
  • EQUALITY: Everyone is welcome, everyone is honored, everyone can make music.
  • SAFETY: The group is a safe place for everyone.
  • CREATIVITY: Using the creativity of individuals and as a group we can experience the connecting power of (shared) ownership in music.
  • INCLUSION: Music provides a neutral space, where people from different backgrounds can meet through their common love of and engagement in music-making and are not defined by their differences.
  • QUALITY: We strive for a high quality of music-making, as this leads to a higher sense of connection and empathy.
Musicians without Borders Trainers

Musicians without Borders trainers are men and women who collectively have a broad range of training skills and experience in working with children, youth and adults in fragile (post) conflict environments. Besides musical expertise, key qualities for our trainers include:

  • An ability to honor all participants, whatever their level of musical competence, and to stimulate and value musical progress – both of the group and its individual members – based not on arbitrary standards, but on the group or individual’s willingness to enter the shared musical space and move creatively within it.
  • Sensitivity to the overlapping dynamics of the participants’ context – such as traumatic past experiences, physical or psychological health issues, domestic or community problems, stress or depression – that may influence participants’ ability to engage in the process. Trainers must be prepared for complications and be able to navigate the complexities they encounter or intuit when not completely known or understood. This requires a high degree of flexibility and improvisational talent on the part of the trainer.
  • A sense for the right moment to ‘step back and let them shine their own light’, the ability to be a leader who encourages leadership and guides the process of empowerment, whose ego is sufficiently satisfied by the success of his/her teaching, rather than needing to be the central point of attention.