By Sharon Brassey-Brierley on

National Youth Orchestra of Iraq

On July 19th, Hellgurd Ahmed a violinist from the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq contacted us. He asked if we would be interested in helping support them in an upcoming tour to the USA.

It was through Hellgurd’s friendship with University of Nijmegen Bio-ethicist and photographer, Professor Norbert Steincamp and the “Förderverein für eines Nationalen Irakisches Jugendsinfonieorchester” that Hellgurd had learned about our foundation. In June, Professor Steincamp via Wil van Dijk, a colleague at Bonn University and Rudi van Dijk’s sister, received an email about the Foundation. He noticed that the goals of the two organisations ‘peace through music’ were compatible.

In 2009, National Youth Orchestra of Iraq founder, seventeen year old pianist Zuhal Sultan told the British Arts Council “I want to encourage our young people to establish a dialogue with one another in music.” On its Aix-en-Provence concert webpage the NYOI is described as “a fantastic living example of peace and reconciliation by Iraqis, for Iraq and for the world.’ Zuhal pointed out, “I want to unite young Iraqis from all over the country, who come from different ethnic and religious backgrounds and who have been separated from one another by the conflict.’ She added that it is important to “realise that we have it within ourselves to be strong and creative and, most importantly, to celebrate our identity as Iraqi musicians together.”

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