Chapter Spotlight: Greater Philadelphia Area
Celebrated on September 21st, the International Day of Peace represents humanity’s commitment to peace and progress in peace-building. The theme for this year was Shaping Peace Together, and its message called for solidarity and international cooperation — especially as an unprecedented global pandemic proves to humanity the need to work together in order to defeat a common enemy that has threatened well-being across the globe.
As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary, millions of people worldwide virtually gathered together with their communities to recognize and honor the International Day of Peace. Part of their commemoration, UNA Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter hosted an event to premier the music video for “Calma”, a song that encapsulates what it means to find inner peace and how to transform those feelings onto a global scale. Chapter president Manisha Patel describes her chapter as a global community whose responsibility it is to engage their local community on global issues. Manisha explains that the song and its powerful music video resonates the ideals and meaning of peace, making “Calma” the perfect song to premier on Peace Day.
“Calma” was a joint effort created by Jordanian singer and songwriter Farah Siraj, German composer and guitarist Andreas Arnold, and American-Lebanese handpan pioneer Adam Maalouf. When asked about the inspiration for “Calma”, Andreas said the song came to him in a moment where he felt overwhelmed in both a personal and global sense. On his quest to achieve personal peace, Andreas also realized the importance of global peace in strengthening and restoring oneself and the world around them. Farah, Jordan’s Musical Ambassadress, has performed on prestigious world stages including the United Nations, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Nobel Prize Hall. In addition to her musical career, she is also a humanitarian who focuses on human rights and raising awareness about the consequences of violence. Remnants of her humanitarian work can be found in her music, as she uses her platform to call attention to current world issues.
“Everyone wants peace and everyone loves the idea of peace” Manisha explains, “but it’s much more complicated than that. It’s not a black and white issue of just peace and war, there’s personal peace, community peace, and the desire to make the world a better place to live.” Breaking it down into three categories, Manisha describes peace as something that must be recognized and achieved on a personal, local, and global level. UNA Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter works to enhance understanding of global issues by showing how they relate to the community at a local level. One example of how the chapter strives to achieve peace in their community is by engaging in interfaith dialogue and interacting with different communities around Philadelphia in order to maintain peaceful connections and become more accepting of each other. They also work to uphold peace in their community through the use of art to display complicated emotions. “Art and music like ‘Calma’ are so important because it’s a creative way to bring up an issue, and sometimes it’s easier and more effective to share your emotions through this medium than through words alone” says Manisha.
Manisha goes on to explain that achieving peace is essential to the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals. Poverty, hunger, and gender inequalities are just three of the many issues that are affected by lack of peace. To do their part in making the world a more peaceful place, the chapter actively engages with students and schools in their community to create and work on peace programs. UNA Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter will continue to work with Farah in future events as a way to promote peace, engage youth members, and amplify voices that need to be heard.
The music video for “Calma” can be found here.