Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Music for Peace

Project #
Timor-Leste (East Timor)
Luther College
  • Natalino Guterres

Music for Peace

Timor-Leste is one of the world’s newest democracies and poorest countries, still recovering from a long struggle for independence from Indonesia, a struggle that destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of its citizens. Natalino Guterres, a Timorese native and student at Luther College, was inspired by the opportunity of a Projects for Peace award to promote reconciliation and peace in his country through young people and music.

Natalino worked with Movimento de Adolescentes e Crianças (MAC), a nonprofit founded in 2001, with the goal to unite young people from different communities and backgrounds, using music and art to promote conflict resolution. Over the course of eight weeks, Natalino collaborated with MAC leaders and volunteers, purchased a full band of musical instruments, secured instructors, and promoted the idea of a “Concert for Peace” to be held at the residence of the president of Timor-Leste, Nobel laureate José Ramos Horta.

The “Concert for Peace” was held on August 13 to an audience of thousands, including President Ramos Horta and his wife, various government dignitaries, and the American ambassador to Timor-Leste. The 200 children presented music with themes of peace, reconciliation, and understanding while a large screen projected images of local children and their own words on peace in their country. Publicity for the event was extensive and covered by local newspapers, radio, and television. The concert was aired on national television twice during the week after the event. A powerful message to end violence and build peace was delivered.