Courageous Citizens:  

Today's effective diplomats

25 March 2015


"To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did." 

~ Anonymous

"God doesn't overtly act in the Book of Esther.

People do."

Rabbi Arik Ascherman (Purim, 2014)

"Things don't change; we do."

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

"When the leaders get stuck and they're no longer able to effectively lead, that's when the people lead."

Steve Kalishman

Director, Citizen Diplomacy Initiatives

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Leading in
Israel, Palestine, and the U.S.
Citizen Diplomacy Initiatives --
- is based in Gainesville, Florida.
They unrelentingly continue creating three-way U.S. - Israel - Palestine sister-city relationships, expanding travel, guiding tours, promoting trade, and maximizing the unifying forces of music and sports.

SUPPORT them and LEARN more with e-mail to Steve Kalishman at
VIEW their documentary film-in-production:


When The People Lead

Trailer - 29 January 2015

4-1/2 min video

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Building Community
Among Palestinians
Al Kamandjati --
-- makes music accessible to children in Palestine and Lebanon.
It is an unlikely, true story of growing up, citizenship, and nation-building in difficult times.

Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan, a child from a Palestinian refugee camp, confronted an occupying army, got an education, mastered the viola, dreamed of something much bigger than himself
Through his charisma and persistence, he continues inspiring scores of others to work with him to make that dream real.

Ramzi founded the Al Kamandjati music centers that continue  transforming the lives of children--as Ramzi's life was transformed--through music -- in the West Bank, Gaza, and in refugee camps in Lebanon.
READ the new April 2015 book:



The Power of Music in a Hard Land

Sandy Tolan

Bloomsbury Publishing, April 2015, 480 pages


SEE MORE about this and other earlier stories of music's power to unify and create community:


Music humanizes and connects youth

in Middle East, worldwide


Beginning July 2015, author Sandy Tolan will tour with Ramzi Aburedwen and the Dal'Ouna Youth Ensemble.
FOR TOUR DATES watch Tolan's page at

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Musical People
Composing Their
Iranian-Israeli Future
Mahan Esfahani and Avi Avital
are an unusual musical partnership.
Esfahani is Iranian and plays harpsichord, and Avital is a mandolin player from Israel. They started working together in August 2014.
The pair agree that is it not politics that has brought them together, but a love of music that transcends their nations' differences.
By playing side by side "we're practicing the dream, the actual reality we want to live in," says Avital.

Mahan Esfahani: "The best composers depict the world as they'd like to see it.
"If you have the spark, with discipline that can lead to a lot."


The Iranian and Israeli who make chamber music together

BBC News Magazine -- 27 February 2015

3-1/2 min video


Across the ocean in North America was a similar collaboration with yet different musicians:


In Toronto, Iranians and Israelis make music, not war

Israeli-Iranian Musical Initiative, a unique collaboration of

composers from two enemy states, will debut at Toronto's Alliance Francaise Theatre.

Haaretz -- 25 March 2015

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A Town's People
With Communication Tools
Creating Their Preferred Community
Eighty diverse youth and adults
become more human and grew closer in the central valley of California, U.S.A.
In pairs, they learned to tell their personal stories, uninterrupted and heard with a new quality of deep listening for the sake of learning.
In the beginning, a Palestinian and a Jew from an experienced 13-year-old Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue served as exemplars, pre-recorded on DVD told their own stirring personal narratives, and reflecting back to each other.
That two Dialogue exemplars are in video at
The complete Facilitator's Guide is at

The Fresno citizens reveal their hopeful amazement at having experienced a new way of communication for life.
The 29-minute film is a useful tool to help dissimilar citizens in any school, city, or nationbegin to dispel incorrect stereotypes and assumptions about the other, freeing their energy for better learning and building healthy relationships together.

Although the exemplars focused on the Palestinian-Jewish relationship, the principles demonstrated in this film are universal and for all ages and places.
This Fresno, California public evening can be replicated anywhere on Earth, as a first step to building true community.



Streaming online - 29 minutes

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This message is on the Web at
Hundreds of other success stories are preserved at