“The United Nations has designated the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, made up of musicians from Israel, the Palestinian territories and other parts of the Middle East, as a Global Advocate for Cultural Understanding,” writes Lisa Schlein in Thursday’s (3/3) Voice of America. “The orchestra was co-founded in 1999 by Argentine-Israeli conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said as an instrument of peace and tolerance. Within the orchestra, music is seen as a vehicle of cultural understanding.… Barenboim, who has been a U.N. Messenger of Peace for nine years, said the orchestra would not spare any energy in fulfilling its mission.” Said Barenboim, “Music is an example of the necessity of dialogue, because the instruments play one against the other sometimes, and always peacefully.” Said an Israeli violinist in the orchestra, Guy Braunstein, “The acceptance of what we do with the instruments is important. It should be escorted by the acceptance that we are equal, with and without the instruments.” 

Posted March 7, 2016