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Foreword: The Window of Music
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THE WINDOW OF MUSIC

Plácido Domingo | Grammy-winning Musician

Music is a window to a world. It is a pier into the soul, a stepping stone into the river of life. Music puts accomplishment in our hands. It teaches us to laugh and to cry, to grow and to give, to celebrate and to mourn, to speak and to listen, to be true to others and to ourselves. Music enables us to go beyond our own reality, but also to be human, and to share our humanity.

As I recall the turning points of my life, I remember the musical leaders who helped me to dream, the times when I took a chance, when I believed that it could be done, when I strived. And although each of these journeys is part of me, each equally belongs to a mentor who helped me to see these paths within myself—who let me learn on my own when I needed to, and who showed me the way when I needed a guiding hand.

I am grateful to those unsung heroes — the guides and teachers — who opened the world of music to me and continue to open it to others. For they create worlds, and they will always be my mentors.

MUSIC INSTEAD OF VIOLENCE

Luis Almagro | Secretary General, Organization of American States

Extraordinarily high rates of violence over the past decade have hindered the economic and social growth of many countries, in particular because it affects youth, the backbone of any society, in disproportionate ways. The Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) are aware of this problem, and therefore have doubled their efforts to combat it, including the creation of a network that fosters the exchange of experiences, information, best practices, data and points of view on violence prevention. The creation, maintenance and update of this network have been entrusted to the Organization’s General Secretariat, through the Department of Public Security (DPS).

Violence is a multidimensional problem: its origins are social, economic and cultural, as well as its consequences. Like the problem, our approach to prevent it should also be multidimensional and comprehensive, and it has to include models that are open minded and adaptable, with creative strategies that instead of guns use novel instruments such as books, soccer balls and, why not, violins.

Evidence of the effectiveness of alternative violence prevention strategies has been accumulating over the years. Playing in an orchestra, for example, or singing in a choir, improve a young person’s life skills, which brings a series of benefits such as self-control, social conscience, responsible decisions, and other important protective factors from violence. A musically active child has also fewer chances to develop aggressive behaviors or drop out of school, which are huge predictors of violence.

At the OAS we strongly support the goal of Music In Action Journal to increase the existing knowledge we have on the power of music to transform the lives of children and youth. That is why we are pleased to host it in our Inter-American Network for the Prevention of Violence and Crime, managed by the DPS.

We are committed to support the development of investigative initiatives like this one through our newly created network, and in this particular case, to also shed a light on a growing movement of music for social inclusion born in the OAS Member States, which has the potential to improve the future of the most vulnerable members of our society.


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