Musical Dialogue as a Tool for Conflict Prevention

Dr. Ori Leshman

Music plays a central role in the lives of each and every one of us. It has the power to impact and enrich our lives with more meaning and greater quality – to weave a connecting thread between ourselves and others, to transport us back to unforgettable moments in our past, to console and encourage us in times of crisis, to make us happy and give our lives significance.

Music has the ability to connect diverse populations and communities, break down barriers, bridge gaps and create dialogue. It can be a powerful tool to express and transcend the pain caused by violence, racism, poverty, war, and injustice.

Music reflects our emotions, concerns, thoughts and aspirations. Through our music and, to a large extent through the music of the “other”, we meet ourselves as well. This can lead to a process of better understanding of ourselves and our culture while enabling a renewal of attitudes and openness towards other cultures.

This activity can help in the development of empathy between different parties and it constitutes an important contribution in the path towards reconciliation and building a climate of peace.

This is a joint project by Dr. Ori Leshman (“Music for Life”), Mr. Aviad Meitar & the Daniel Pearl International Journalism Institute (DPIJI), school of communications, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.

Objectives of the workshop

The workshop is designed to achieve several aims simultaneously:

    • To create a situation in which music will contribute not only to our cultural perspectives, but also promote social values and bring people together.
    • To facilitate participants to better comprehend themselves and the “other” through music.
    • To bring different people, groups, cultures and faiths within the Israeli population closer together through music. Doing this will improve the quality of our lives and the lives of those around us, and strengthen the bonds between us and between our neighbors and ourselves.
    • To create a platform that will enable the participants to join forces in creating and working together.
    • To open up dialogue between representatives of different countries, including Israelis and residents from Arab nations, as a mode of building communication and understanding between them.
    • By playing music and singing together, watching movies, listening to different music styles, attending lectures and engaging in classroom dialogue, participants will search for solutions to problematic events and conflicts, employing the models they have learned about in the workshop.
    • A fundamental goal of the project is to initiate social and cultural processes and programs by the participants during and after the conclusion of the workshop.
    • These activities will include professional guidance by Dr. Ori Leshman and the development of social processes among the participants themselves.

The workshop will consist of 13 sessions.

Pick A Music

An important element of the workshop and its implementation is the use of the Pick A Music website and its application (app), which is an integral part of the model and its unique character.

This new platform was developed specifically to bring meaningful music to the largest and most diversified audiences possible and contribute to their quality of life.

This website is the joint creation of a group of musicians, writers, poets, intellectuals and leaders in various fields who have come together to share the music that shaped and influenced their lives.

Using this site will enable continuity and nurture projects with the help of the participants leading the change. In that manner, this workshop will function as a “laboratory” for them.

Using this site/ application (app), we will be able encourage participants to develop and report on their various initiatives, to get feedback from other members of the community, to converse through video chats with other people that are already involved in these kind of initiatives and encourage joint ventures between the members, and so forth.

Ori Leshman