The International Yehudi Menuhin: intercultural dialogue and social justice through the arts

By Marianne Poncelet, CPS Global Partnership Community

I had the great honour to meet Yehudi Menuhin in 1991 through one of my fairy tales, for which he kindly wrote a preface (« Romuar, a child from the earth and from the sky »).

Together we created the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation in Brussels, Belgium, to contribute actively to intercultural dialogue and societal inclusion through the creative arts, by enabling co-creation and exchange of emerging musicians and artists, including from lesser-known minorities and by promoting and implementing the use of the creative arts to educate children of all backgrounds, supporting them as well as their families to take part in an emerging partnership social system movement, in which children are recognized as key to building a more equitable, more sustainable, and safer future.

Since then, the Foundation has produced a European brand of high-level multicultural concerts touring in Europe and presenting stage concepts that involve various artistic forms in an innovative way. The Foundation has also established an informal artistic education network in Europe entitled the MUS-E programme (600 artists from all disciplines and all cultures working in over 400 primary schools and reaching over 30,000 children a year through their art). The aim of the MUS-E programme, currently active in 11 countries in 2019, is to foster social inclusion of all children through the practice of the arts at school, awakening their creativity and awareness towards beauty.

The Foundation’s artistic, educational and cultural actions are unique in their development and are mutually enriched by daily practice from artists in schools, their multicultural experiences, the on-stage celebrations of the richness of cultures and reflections on cultural diversity.

These actions make it possible to manage an ever increasing multiculturalism on a daily basis in Europe and contribute to integrating young people and developing their multiple identities.

The IYMF brings together artists, children, teachers, project leaders, partners and cultural experts who share the vision and ethics of the great humanist violinist Yehudi Menuhin who once wrote: “we live in a period of time when change is required for survival. Growing controversy and confrontation must be abandoned in favour of complementarity, solidarity and reciprocity”.

Marianne Poncelet is the Executive Vice President of the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation, Brussels, Belgium. Marianne also writes fairy tales for children and has published several books in French, Spanish and Hungarian.

Photo by Vincent Albos from Pexels

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