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Kim’s Corner: Finding Harmony in Music and Peacebuilding

4 April 2012 No Comment

Kim Weichel

-By Kim Weichel

I just returned from an inspiring trip to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. We participated in the Women as Global Leaders Conference at Zayed University with women from throughout the region who spoke passionately about advancing the role of women in leadership. We met Emirati students, business and professional women, professors, and media personalities. After the conference we met with women in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha (home of the Education City), including a number of Qatari college students at Qatar University.

What struck me at the conference and in all of our meetings was one basic principle – that our similarities as women are far greater than our differences. Yes there were diverse cultural, regional, and religious traditions; yes we spoke various languages; yet the fact remained that a common theme united our hopes for our lives, our families, our communities, and our world. What has surprised and concerned me is that we often start with how we are different, and if we focus only on the differences we can develop assumptions, stereotypes, and judgments that lead to conflict rather than harmony. Harmony is a core principle in our work at Peace X Peace.

And harmony reminds me of another medium that unites us: music. Music crosses language, regional, and cultural divides and for me is the language of the soul. I heard diverse musical styles in the UAE and Qatar, as I always do when I travel, yet I could immediately listen with interest and curiosity. I felt connected with the music and it spoke to me in a way that words can’t describe. When I sing or play music, which I enjoy doing, I feel a soulful connection that goes beyond time and place. I am connected with all that is.

Poetry is like that too. When I write poetry I feel no boundaries or constraints. I can use language to express ideas and feelings in a creative way, as expressed in the poem below, which again reminds me of our common humanity:

We Are One

I am in you and you in me

I am the flower blooming

And the wind blowing, and the bird soaring

And the earth spinning

We are all one

I see in you what I see in me

We are mirrors for each other

In this moment I have no face, no race

We are souls walking a human path together

We have been together forever it seems

I can be me because you are you

When I let my light shine

I give you permission to do the same

And together we can fly

Beyond our wildest expectations

We are one, connected on many levels

Bonded by our common humanity

Living in a spirited earth

The joy of life washes over us

Where you and I are one.



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