A capacity audience in the Regina Peruggi Room welcomed Ramzi Aburedwan, founder of Al Kamandjâti, the members of the Dal’Ouna Ensemble, and special guest singer Lina Sleibi to Marymount Manhattan College.
The evening began with a brief presentation by Ramzi about the work of Al Kamandjâti, a nonprofit organization that offers music lessons to Palestinian children and invites them to perform in orchestras throughout the region and in several European countries. As Ramzi explained, the organization focuses on children in refugee camps and in villages on the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Southern Lebanon. The overall goal of Al Kamandjâti is to help children discover their cultural heritage, develop their creative skills, and prevent them from being drawn to violence.
Following this discussion, Ramzi introduced the members of his ensemble along with guest singer Lina Sleibi. They entertained the audience with a lively array of musical selections.
In his introduction, Dr. Peter Naccarato, Professor of English & World Literatures, noted that in 2017 Ramzi and Al Kamandjâti was awarded the the Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award. He quoted from the citation, which states in part: “Music breaks down the mental borders and allows us to elevate to a higher calling and helps to foster in us an ability to ‘hear’ the vision of the ‘other’ and to understand that a common relationship exists. It is precisely through these types of involvement that we will see a change in the thinking of people leading one day to a common understanding and realisation of a common destiny for all the people of the region.”
The evening’s performance surely reinforced this message for audience members, including many MMC students who were inspired both by Ramzi’s work and by the beautiful music. Click here for a sample.
Audience members also had the opportunity to buy copies of the book Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land by Sandy Tolan. The book chronicles Ramzi’s journey and how he worked against the odds to create something lasting and beautiful in a war-torn land.
This event was made possible by the Office of Academic Affairs’ ongoing support of the Conversations on Diversity & Social Justice Series with additional support from the Division of Humanities & Social Sciences and the Division of Fine & Performing Arts.