MasterPeace activists pick Istanbul to ‘build bridges’

MasterPeace activists pick Istanbul to ‘build bridges’

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
MasterPeace activists pick Istanbul to ‘build bridges’

The Masterpeace movement is asking people to stand up for dialogue, Ilco van der Linde (L) tells the Daily News. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

A global peace-building initiative called “MasterPeace” is set to organize a concert in Istanbul on Sept. 21, 2014, featuring artists from several conflict zones all over the world to perform on the same stage for peace.

Iconic Turkish songwriter Sezen Aksu has already confirmed that she will be on the stage in Istanbul, which will be one of the hubs of the peace-building effort.

“We believe that social change can come through the people’s involvement, and our focus is especially on dialogue and development because during conflicts, both sides repeat their truths, they start to shout louder and louder, and we don’t have enough people to build bridges,” Ilco van der Linde, the founder of MasterPeace, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

MasterPeace is a project running in mostly African 30 countries; there are currently 50 local MasterPeace clubs around the world, but the target is to reach 400 clubs by 2020 “to be an antenna for conflicts all around the world,” van der Linde said.

After six years of hard work as global CEO of Dance4Life, van der Linde passed on his duties on to someone else and started traveling again.

He was in Kenya with his wife and three daughters in January 2008 when post-election violence there resulted in hundreds of casualties.

Van der Linde said it was now time for another initiative to strive for peace by building bridges, adding that Istanbul was one of the most suitable places in the world to attain the goal.

“We need more bridge builders that have to stand up for the common ground; this movement is asking people to stand up for dialogue,” he said. MasterPeace clubs form an active, engaged, alert, positive and intercultural network of peace-minded and action-oriented people.

Peace is an issue that could not be left to institutions, van der Linde said, adding that people must take the initiative on a local level.

Organizers plan to do a launch in the second week of June with the project’s ambassadors and musicians, he said.