Here is the second aspect which led me to Palestine/Israel.
My relationship to the Barenboim-Said project, an initiative that includes the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra of Jews and Arabs, conservatories in Nazareth (Israel) and Ramallah (Palestine, West Bank), and a "School of Listening" under-development in Berlin.
Daniel Barenboim is a genius pianist and conductor of the opera and a major symphony of Berlin. I was lucky enough to ask him a few questions when he was guest conducting at the La Scala opera house in Milan.
The other founder of the Barenboim-Said project was the late Edward Said, a professor of Comparative Literature at Columbia. His expert studies 'Orientalism' and 'The Question of Palestine' have opened my mind to a way of thinking representation beyond aesthetics.
I spent time with the orchestra last summer and participated in a Pilot Program for the School in Berlin. The conservatories were an obvious hat trick. As the major aspect of my Global Conversation work, I am making a short film about music education at these and other sites (more to come soon). Beyond documentary footage, I intend to use sound and videos from Palestine/Israel in a less journalistic way as a part of the film.
One conservatory is in Ramallah, the de facto seat of Palestinian government. The other, the 'Orpheus Music education Program, is in Nazareth. Though this Israeli city is populated largely by Palestinian Israelis, the conservatory aims to promote musical dialogue with Jewish teachers and students as one of its foci focus of the program.
It is possible to view the conservatories insistence on "promoting social change" as normalization of conflict and occupation. The terms of negotiation between the Israelii citizens and their government and the International Palestinian diaspora are not even. The relationship, and implied obligations, between Israeli Palestinians, Green Line Palestinians (West Bank and Gaza), and Refugees across the Middle East.
I am open to addressing these concerns around Palestinian Nationalism in my work but, in my core, I believe that the realm of music and art in children's lives is sacred. I am very supportive of the project for this reason.
I also think that sharing the beauty of Classical Music is providing an option, not colonizing aesthetics. Unlike the visual, no one owns musical traditions.
Barenboim and Said wrote a book together "Parallels and Paradoxes". Here is a 2002 interview they gave. Being NPR, the production and questions are annoying. However, it gives good background: