27.03.2011 - ODG

Artists for Peace Perform for Director-General at World Heritage Site in Manila

© UNESCO/Cynthia Guttman - The Direcor-General of UNESCO with the EarthSavers Dream Ensemble, UNESCO Artist for Peace, in the courtyard of San Agustin Church, Manila, Philippines, 26 March 2011.

In a stirring appeal to protect the planet and put an end to violence, children and youth with special needs belonging to the Earthsavers Dream Academy staged a performance in the courtyard garden of San Agustin church, a World Heritage Site, during a evening hosted in the Director-General’s honour by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, in Manila on 26 March 2011.

The EarthSavers Dream Ensemble was designated as a UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2003 for their contribution to ending all forms of violence and to raise public awareness about the environment through the performing arts. The Academy works with children who are victims of armed conflict, affected by natural disasters, living in urban slums or carrying a physical and mental disability. Led by a blind young singer, the choir sang as the players, including one of the lead roles in a wheelchair, performed a tale of destruction and reconciliation.

“After seeing the Earthsavers, I can think of nothing more powerful than the healing power of art and culture,” said the Director-General, showing visible emotion. “When everything disappears culture is what stays and it is at the heart of what I have humbly called new humanism. You have extraordinary diversity in the Philippines, and I can think of no better place to share concerns about the quest for peace and dialogue through culture and the arts.”

On another note, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2009, performed a capella a rich repertoire of songs in Renaissance style, ideally suited to the historic setting.

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