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Music For Life International & Founder George Mathew to Receive 
The Robert and JoAnn Bendetson Award for Public Diplomacy from 
Tufts University Institute for Global Leadership
Medford, MA - Music For Life International and The Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University are delighted to announce that Music For Life International and Founder/Artistic Director George Mathew have been named recipients of the 2016 Robert and JoAnn Bendetson Award for Public Diplomacy. The Bendetson Award is part of the Bendetson Public Diplomacy Initiative, an effort to bring key global policymakers and officials to Tufts to share their experiences and perspectives with students and to create conducive environments in the search for common ground. The other 2016 recipients of the Bendetson Award include the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, a survivor of the Srebrenice Massacre during the Bosnian Civil War, and the Chief of Staff to the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees.

The award citation reads "The Robert and JoAnn Bendetson Public Diplomacy Award is presented to Music for Life International and George Mathew, Artistic Director, in recognition of your distinctive and inspiring concern for human rights and your musical contributions in helping to protect and uplift the world's vulnerable populations."

IGL Founder and Director Sherman Teichman added, "Music For Life International, under the inspired direction of George Mathew, has not only lifted our spirits, but has galvanized action to empower distressed communities. George melds great artistic sensibility with indomitable passion and tenacity to help people in need."
The Institute for Global Leadership established the Robert and JoAnn Bendetson Award for Public Diplomacy in the aftermath of the Institute's "Iraq: Moving Forward" - a three-year effort to create the potential for a non-sectarian Iraq after Saddam Hussein's fall. The award was created to "recognize public officials, intellectuals, and activists who have distinguished themselves in their efforts to bring about reconciliation and to redress inequities and iniquities in the world."
The Robert and JoAnn Bendetson Award for Public Diplomacy will be presented to George Mathew and Music For Life International at Tufts University's Cohen Auditorium on the Medford Campus on Wednesday, February 17th at 7 PM, during IGL's 31st Annual Norris and Margery Bendetson EPIIC International Symposium, "Europe in Turmoil" (supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York). Mr. Mathew will present a lecture/recital with Tufts Professor of Music John McDonald, entitled "Beethoven and the Future of Europe" featuring the Egmont Overture and excerpts from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. 

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Music for Life International (MFLI) is a New York based social enterprise that was established to create social impact in a variety of sectors through music. MFLI presents musical concerts and related programs to promote the awareness of major international humanitarian crises and other public interest issues around the world. MFLI takes its name from the legendary MUSIC FOR LIFE concert organized by Leonard Bernstein in 1987 at Carnegie Hall. 
Indus Valley Chris Lee
Photo: Chris Lee, 2011. Used with permission

MFLI's global humanitari
an concerts at Carnegie Hall have included Beethoven's Ninth for South Asia (2006), Requiem for Darfur (2007), Mahler for the Children of AIDS (2009), Beethoven for the Indus Valley (2011), Shostakovich for the Children of Syria (2014) and The Scheherazade Initiative (2015). These concerts, presented in Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, have brought together distinguished musicians from over 100 leading international ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, MET Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, the Emerson, American and Brentano String Quartets, and students, graduates and faculty of The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Curtis Institute of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Columbia University, Tufts University, Yale University and others. Music For Life's next major humanitarian concert project Music For Vision (2016-17) is a global initiative with the visionary organization HelpMeSee which is dedicated to eradicating cataract blindness worldwide.

The Tufts Institute for Global Leadership's longtime engagement with Music For Life International has included substantial support for MFLI's humanitarian concerts dedicated to Pediatric AIDS; to recovery after the devastating 2010 floods in Pakistan; and for its ongoing efforts on behalf of the Syrian refugee youth and children; and to ending violence against women and girls. In February, 2014 George Mathew and MFLI artists Mark Kuss and Nabih Bulos spoke and performed at the IGL's 29th Annual Norris and Margery Bendetson EPIIC Symposium, entitled "The Future of the Middle East and North Africa."

MFLI's collaborations have included HelpMeSee, Doctors Without Borders, Acumen, Refugees International, American Pakistan Foundation, American Jewish World Service, Catholic Medical Mission Board, Questscope, Tufts University Institute for Global Leadership, and United Nations agencies such as UNICEF, UNDP, UN Women, UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.  

MFLI residency at Za'atari Refugee Camp in Jordan
In recent years, MFLI's activities have expanded beyond New York and Carnegie Hall to include performances in Panama, Jordan, Washington DC and New Delhi, India. SHOSTAKOVICH FOR THE CHILDREN OF SYRIA at Carnegie Hall in January 2014, resulted in a weeklong residency of performances and education workshops at Za'atari Syrian Refugee Camp in Jordan by a distinguished group of artists from the MET Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, New World Symphony, and the Jordanian National Orchestra. This residency was partially facilitated through a grant from the Tufts University Institute for Global Leadership.
MFLI's most recent undertaking is Ubuntu-Shruti, a professional training orchestra in New York City, of young empowered musicians and distinguished mentors creating inspired music and programming dedicated to immigrants, community, and education through music. Ubuntu-Shruti made its first appearances at the 2010 and 2011 New Year's Eve Concerts for Peace at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Their next season will include a major orchestral collaboration with Hindustani Music legend Ustad Amjad Ali Khan featuring the US premiere of his Samaagam Concerto for Sarod and Orchestra. Learn more at 

George Mathew
Photo: Chris Lee c. 2011
Singapore-born Indian conductor, George Mathew, founder and Artistic Director of Music for Life International has emerged as one of the leading forces in the classical music world bringing symphonic music to focus on global humanitarian issues and crises at the beginning of the 21st Century. In recent seasons, he has made appearances in the US, India, Jordan, Panama, Morocco, and South Africa as conductor and ambassador for transformative action through music.The SCHEHERAZADE INITIATIVE was Mr. Mathew's sixth global humanitarian concert at Carnegie Hall since 2006. Mr. Mathew is a thought leader and has spoken on music and social impact around the world at such venues as the TEDx and INK conferences, UNDP, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, Singapore, and UNICEF Panama. He delivered the 2011 S.T. Lee Distinguished Lecture on Social Justice and Public Policy at Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg. Mr. Mathew is a graduate of Amherst College, the University of Minnesota and the Manhattan School of Music. Learn more at 

The Tuft University Institute for Global Leadership is an incubator of innovative ways to educate learners at all levels to understand and engage with difficult global issues. It develops new generations of effective and ethical leaders who are able and driven to comprehend complexity, reflect cultural and political nuance, and engage as responsible global citizens in anticipating and confronting the world's most pressing problems. Learn more at 

The IGL's Bendetson Public Diplomacy Initiative brings policymakers and officials together to discuss their shared experiences, such as in its program on "Iraq: Moving Forward" in 2007 that explored next steps in Iraq with high level participants from Iraq, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Guatemala. Working with the political and military leaders of the ANC, former Apartheid government figures, and with leaders of the IRA and Provo military and political groups, the Public Diplomacy Initiative convened meetings over several years with all elements of the Iraqi political spectrum, excluding Al-Qaeda. It worked for three years to encourage and create the "Helsinki Principles," which formed the foundation for non-sectarian elections in Iraq. The meetings were hosted by the Conflict Management Initiative, an NGO founded by Nobel Laureate, IGL Dr. Jean Mayer Award recipient, and former President of Finland the Honorable Martti Ahtisaari. 
Music for Life International
P.O. Box 20574, New York, NY 10011