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Bank Urban Age Award goes to child musicians

ISTANBUL-Hürriyet Daily News | 11/5/2009 12:00:00 AM |

The third Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award went to “Music for Peace,” an urban intervention scheme in the form of a community music project based in Edirnekapi

The third Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award has gone to “Music for Peace,” an urban intervention scheme in the form of a community music project based in Edirnekapi, one of Istanbul’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The project spreads messages about urban living through children’s musical and social skills, and also acts as a model for similar initiatives in other urban areas.

The “Music for Peace” project provides free music education to local school children from ages 7 to 14 and has recently completed a new facility for music training and performances for talented teenagers in the heart of their community.

The $100,000 award was presented at Sabancı Museum in Istanbul on Wednesday by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, in the presence of Dr. Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank.

The jury members included Chair of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ; Çağlar Keyder, professor of sociology; Behiç Ak, architect, author and cartoonist; Han Tümertekin, architect; Anthony Williams, former mayor of Washington D.C.; Enrique Norten, founder of TEN Arquitectos; and Rick Burdett, London School of Economics professor and director of The Urban Age, who was acting as chair of the jury.

Speaking after he presented the award, Ali Babacan said: “Some 75 percent of the Turkish population is currently living in cities and urbanization is increasing each year. We see, however, that there are really important problems in terms of unplanned housing in Istanbul.

“The civil initiative is a very important issue in development projects. The government tries to do everything it can but we see that civil initiatives are an incentive,” Babacan said.

Meanwhile, a group called the “Sulukule Workshop” that protested the Urban Age Award explained their reason for not applying to the contest in a written statement Thursday. “Awarder Deutsche Bank, or DB, is among the major actors in the mortgage crisis, which triggered the global economic crisis,” said the statement, also holding the DB responsible for the post-crisis measures that caused many people to lose their houses in the United States. “We care about the people who lost their houses in the United States and the people who lost their houses in Sulukule,” said the statement. With the urban transformation project supported by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, houses where locals, mainly Roma people, were living were demolished.

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