Musical Ambassadors of Peace featured in 2020 United Nations catalogue of model “Music As Global Resource” Projects

This acknowledgement of our project for refugees in El Cajon as a model for world peace is founded on the teamwork of our Musical Ambassador Christine Stevens of Up Beat Drum Circles in collaboration with our Musical Ambassador Dilkhwaz Ahmad of  License to Freedom which arose from Cameron and Kristina’s initial connection with the local Iraqi refugee community. The San Diego-based Center for World Music later joined the project. Our Musical Ambassador from Iran, Ari Honarvar, has most recently assumed the leadership role in El Cajon.

COUNTRY United States of America

PROJECT TITLE Shifaa Women’s Empowerment Drum Circle

  • Cultural adaptation and integration into new society promotes well-being, and • Creative expression of women sharing poems strengthens healthy networking

PROJECT OUTCOMES . Community building between Muslim and Christian Iraqi women, Healing from the wounds of war, from loss and abuse and • Drumming singing and dancing become ritual sources of healing

DESCRIPTION This project is run by Up Beat Drum Circles in collaboration with license to Freedom, Musical Ambassadors for Peace, and The Center for World Music. Its purpose is to train refugee women from Iraq to lead drum circles for empowerment healing Ishifal, cultural adjustment and community building across divisions of religious groups. Many of the women are survivors of abuse from their husbands and have survived the war and numerous refugee Camps The Center for World Music produced the series “Songs and StoriesRefugee Artists in San Diego,’ was designed to give a voice to a silent population in Southern California The central goal was to create bridges between San Diego’s public with its growing refugee population and their various cultures. More than 20 refugee performers displaced from Congo, East and Central Africa, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Syria were brought to audiences across San Diego. The series culminated on World Music Day and also observed World Refugee Day The final gathering titled “Transformation through Rhythm Word included Shiffa: Iraqi Refugee Women’s Drum Circle Shifaa shared songs, thythms, and dance not as a performance, but as an invitation to engage in a shared unity through sound The series demonstrated the capacity of music to create community, bridge differences and heal trauma

HOW MUSIC ACHIEVES THESE OUTCOMES Musical activities • Drum Circles an evidence-based protocol for cultural sharing and wellness is used, based on the work of Health RHYTHMS • Entrainment of rhythms for community building and . Cultural sharing of songs, dances, and rhythms maintains connection to the culture of home

NEEDS ADDRESSED The project was created to help refugee women adapt to America using the dances and rhythms from their culture, and help build bridges across religious groups. The project helps the women have the support of other women

“Songs and Stories: Refugee Artists in San Diego’ was a series of events designed to give a voice to a silent population in Southern California, Federal partnerships with local humanitarian organizations rightly prioritize basic needs such as housing, health and jobs. Yet, there are needs just as fundamental to all human life that remain a daily struggle for these families: the need for community, a sense of belonging, and the opportunity to speak their voice and be heard in their new home. Music and storytelling are vehicles through which the participants communicate their struggle, longing, resilience, and hope.

WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE TO THIS PROJECT Many of the women suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and have symptoms that are hard to treat without language skills and talk therapy or talk therapy groups are not typical in the Arabic culture. Through the use of an evidence-based protocol inter-woven with cultural rhythms and traditional Sufi poetry, dramatic change in mood states, community building and bonding amongst the women are evidenced in exchange of contact information sharing of food, hugs, and intergenerational healing Some things noticed are • Consistent attendance: • Leadership being exhibited . Women bringing their poems

Women bringing their children • Sustainable new leaders

Positive impact on home-life, and . Women taking drums to picnics and family gathering


Scientific evidence of the benefits of group drumming for mind, body, spirit: Empowerment of women:

SOURCES OF FUNDING Foundations and private donations

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