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The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington has sent its small ensemble, Potomac Fever, on a State Department-sponsored diplomacy tour to promote LGBTQ rights in Ukraine. This tour came about due to the success of our Cuba concert tour last summer. Earlier this year, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine called us up and said they loved what we did in Cuba, and would like us to bring that kind of diplomacy to Ukraine — a country that is deeply in need of unity on LGBTQ and other issues.
My experiences in Ethiopia have been, in a word, wonderful. I quickly discovered I share a common thread with the majority of the people here: that of our national pride and a love for the beautiful game of soccer (futbol). I have oft said the game of futbol shrinks the world; it is a common language spoken in just about every corner. This has been no different in Ethiopia.
A woman named Ghoson, sitting in front of a dark gray backdrop, begins to cry. Behind the film set, where she agreed to tell her story, awaits the refugee camp in Leros, Greece, that she is squatting in, biding her time until she will try to make her way further into Europe. [...] These visceral snippets of suffering and heartache are some of the stories chronicled in “Refuge,” a documentary film released Wednesday by production company Magna Carta.
Book Aid International, a charity that supports literacy by increasing access to books, is returning to Sierra Leone. The charity, which ships around a million books each year to libraries in sub-Saharan Africa, sent a shipment of 38,000 brand new, carefully-selected books to Freetown to help the country rebuild after the Ebola crisis.
March 2015, an Australian researcher published a statistic that drew both laughs and gasps in the business community there: Fewer large Australian companies were run by women than by men named Peter. The damning statistic prompted some introspection in the Australian film industry in particular, where women represent 17% of directors, a number that hasn’t budged since 1970.
Colleges in the U.S. are opening their doors — and their financial aid — to Syrian refugees. Over the past year, at least a dozen schools have promised to cover full or partial tuition for Syrian refugees who are accepted for enrollment. They join a coalition of more than 60 colleges that have started providing scholarships to Syrian students since the country’s civil war began in 2011.
In a message marking the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), highlighted that celebrating cultural diversity is a way of recognizing that “the wealth of cultures is the constitutive power of humanity and an important asset for peace and development, the promotion of which is inseparable from the observance of human rights.”
Among other projects, he founded Cuatro Puntos, the ambitious chamber music collective that has toured around the country and the globe in recent years as part of its declared mission of musical diplomacy and cross-cultural understanding. The group has also sponsored workshops here in Hartford called Chamber Music for Peace, with the goal of helping young musicians learn how to engage in their communities.