CAIRO: Politicians, humanitarians, celebrities and students gathered in Cairo’s grand Opera House Thursday night to celebrate local and international efforts for building bridges of peace and understanding. First Lady Suzanne Mubarak was on hand to debut a new national initiative for peace, called “Together Toward a Peaceful and Safe Society.
The program, set to officially kickoff April 25, in sync with Sinai Liberation Day, works to establish a network for cross-cultural dialogue. Under the umbrella of a global initiative called “We are the Future, headed by Thursday’s guest of honor, American producer, singer and songwriter Quincy Jones, Mubarak said the priorities are empowering women, establishing channels for communication and working with children. “This allows us to reflect together on the meaning of peace, said Mubarak. “Peace means different things to different people. To some, it is the absence of war and violence. To others, it is a place where rule of law is respected. Jones’ “We are the Future initiative began in April 2004, some 18 years after he launched his historic “We are the World campaign intended to raise funds to help famine relief efforts in Ethiopia. This latest campaign is designed to secure a better future for children around the world. “What some teenagers spend on ice cream every month could educate every child in the world, said Jones, adding that approximately $12 million is needed to make “We are the Future a reality. The “We are the Future program includes children’s centers in six cities. Kigali, Addis Ababa, Asmara, Freetown, Kabul and Nablus, have all experienced civil conflicts in the past decade. The centers not only provide education, but also offer health services and techniques for water purification, as well as the tools needed for acceleration in the arts. The Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement is just one of dozens of local organizations acting as enforcers in this global initiative. Celebrities and politicians from the around the world have taken part in spreading the good word, including U2 lead singer and humanitarian Bono, South African activist and former President Nelson Mandela, actress Angelina Jolie and many others. Jones says “love sings louder than hate. Mubarak quotes Plato in her attempt to demonstrate the power of such a bold initiative: “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything; It is the essence of order and lends to all that is good, just and beautiful.