Maestro Andrea Bocelli, Founder of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation was hosted at the UNESCO General Conference and called for the strengthening of arts education in support of children in vulnerable regions: "Beauty will save the world" he said, echoing Dostoevsky’s famous formula, before singing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" in UNESCO's main plenary hall in front of delegates from accross the world.
The Andrea Bocelli Foundation and UNESCO signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on music education projects as an empowerment tool that will be developed and announced in the coming months, starting with Mali. The initiatives will build on UNESCO's experience in implementing educational projects for psychosocial support in countries affected by disasters and conflicts, in line with the Seoul Programme for Arts Education.
The importance and role of arts education for inclusion and social cohesion were at the heart of a round table organized for the occasion entitled "Symphony 2030: Creative Arts Education for Inclusion", with the participation of Andrea Bocelli Foundation leadership, practitioners, artists, educators and policy-makers, at UNESCO Headquarters.
The signing of the agreement with UNESCO extends the programme launched the same day by the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF) "Voices of the World", which aims to strengthen psychosocial support for disadvantaged children living in vulnerable regions, beginning in the Middle East. Through the creation of regional choruses and other educational activities, ABF aims to provide participants and their communities with opportunities for empowerment through music, strengthening their skills, stimulating their creativity, fostering collaboration and offering them more opportunities for success in life. As with all educational projects carried out by the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, the effort is strategically aligned with Goal 4 (Quality Education) of the United Nations Programme for Sustainable Development to 2030, for which UNESCO is the lead agency. More specifically, the programme seeks to support the Goal’s target 4.7, which stresses the importance of offering learning tools that promote inclusion and underscore the world’s cultural diversity and richness, thus preparing children and youth to become Global Citizens.
Maestro Andrea Bocelli, Founder of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, said: "The Andrea Bocelli Foundation has been working tirelessly since 2011 to provide individuals and communities with opportunities for empowerment to individuals and communities who are in difficult circumstances, to overcome obstacles and to achieve their potential. He added: "Through Voices of the World, the positive psychosocial effects of music education will provide valuable opportunities for young people currently living in some of the most complex regions of our time.
The Voices of the World program has been in development since 2014 through the work of a multidisciplinary team that designed an innovative methodology for social inclusion and personal self-expression through music education.
In January 2016, ABF established the Voices of Haiti project by introducing music education in 30 schools supported by the local partner, the St Luc Foundation (including 5 ABF-Fondation St Luc schools). Out of a group of 12,000 students enrolled in schools, ABF then selected 60 of the most talented boys and girls to form the first Voices of Haiti choir. The result is a multi-year training project for 60 students (aged 9 to 15) that provides the necessary tools to stimulate creativity and personal development. The choirs, always active, includes activities that include weekly half-day seminars, lectures, rehearsals, music therapy, leisure activities and even meals. As a result of their efforts, the young singers performed before the United Nations General Assembly (2016) and in the Vatican at an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis (2017).
On the other hand, in Italy, ABF worked to introduce best practices in music education as a part of the official curriculum for schools constructed by the Foundation following the 2016 Central Italy earthquake (Sarnano 2018, Muccia 2019, Camerino 2020). Most recently, in November 2019, even the Centrozerosei pre-kindergarten school in Maestro Bocelli’s hometown of Lajatico (Tuscany) adopted this very same methodology.
For more information on the Voices of the World project, visit the Andrea Bocelli Foundation website(link is external).