January 2019 - Turkey

Bridging the cultural gaps through Music and Dance. An Initiative led by the Youth to the young people of Turkey

“Whenever we share our music, we share our emotions, our fears, and the challenges that bring us together”  RET Youth Orchestra and Choir member.

Trained in leadership and communications, RET empowered eleven young participants coming from Belize, Ecuador/Colombia, Venezuela, Burundi, Chad, Kenya/Somalia, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey founding the RET Youth Ambassadors Group.

The first meeting of the RET Youth Ambassadors Group was held late October 2017 in Mardin, Turkey. The young participants were able to identify the main challenges they face in their communities and suggested prospective solutions having in mind a foremost goal of advancing and maintaining peace, stability and quality education in crisis-affected countries in order to realise the potential of all young people.

  

What started as a social action project led by the youth and aimed at promoting cultural cohesiveness has now become a substantial reality of the impact of positive social change with the Inauguration of two diverse, intercultural music and dance ensembles in Turkey; The RET YOUTH ORCHESTRA AND CHOIR and the RET YOUTH DANCE COMPANY.

The latter introduces Syrian and Turkish amateur musicians and dancers coming originally from within RET language training and youth centres in southern Turkey. Under the umbrella of the RET YOUTH Ambassador Group an initiative was born aimed at explore music beyond the limits of cultural boundaries; A project led by the youth to the young people from the host and refugee communities in Turkey, using the art, music and dance as a tool to disseminate a culture of peace harmony and promoting social cohesion.


RET, committed to making this youth initiative substantial beyond the limits of real borders signed a five years’ partnership with the high-status “Haute école de musique Genève – Neuchâtel” (Geneva HEM) (2018-2022).
Through an intense and profound artistic exchange, fifteen International musicians, vocalists and dancers from the “Haute école de musique de Genève” HEM led by Professor Francis Biggi visited Turkey to coach, practice, inspire and perform alongside RET’s young 35 musicians and dancers. Together they celebrated the uniting power of music in an Inaugural performance last October in Mardin.
Music and dance proved to be one of the ideal tools to bridging the cultural gaps and promoting social cohesion amongst young people from the host and Syrian refugee communities in Turkey, coming from so many diverse backgrounds and cultures.The impact of any artistic expression through the arts, music or dance has a potential social function; it can definitely create a sense of belonging, improving social cohesion and spreading cultural cohesiveness.

This is music beyond the limits of cultural boundaries, this is how RET youth, our actors of the present and the actors of the future are empowered to embrace a culture of peace and harmony and become the actors of positive social change in their respective communities.
Behind every melody a RET musician plays, there is a vulnerable story; yet, there are beautiful dreams, hopes and aspirations of a better future. We, all, have a role to play in that.
Let us give them the opportunity to dream high.

Testimonies from RYOC and RYDC members:
“It is a beautiful journey, this entire musical collaboration and exchange, between the expertise of HEM and the personal life stories of the Orchestra members; we got resilient, united and seeking harmony in our music and lives.” Ozan Aslan, RET Youth Orchestra and Choir Trainer.

 “Young people can relate to music; music is a universal language.” RYOC member.

“When I close my eyes and start moving, I feel my soul wanders in other realms.” RYDC member.

“When I dance, I break all the walls imprisoning my body and mind.” RYDC member.

You can now support a youth to pursue Music or Dance Education by
contacting us on ArtsScholarshipFund@theRET.org
RET recently opened a Music and Dance Centre in Mardin,Turkey in an effort to empower youth and increase awareness of peace and non-violence in the community.

About HEM:
HEM “Haute école de musique Genève – Neuchâtel” (Geneva)”  covers a historical and stylistic fields of music ranging from mediaeval music to contemporary creation, as well as non-European music. A prominent cultural institution in the region, the Geneva HEM is an internationally renowned artistic and teaching community and is part of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland HES-SO.

Updated, January 3rd, 2019