ICMEP Brings the World to Fort Wayne: Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Jerusalem, South Africa, and the UK

For 17 years, the mission of Indiana Center for Middle East Peace has remained the same – “We are a voice of conscience for peace, justice, human rights, and intercultural encounter.” Every one of our board members, and all our many supporters and friends throughout the years focus like a laser beam on these core values in their personal lives and in our work together at ICMEP.

And yes, while ICMEP is known being a leading voice in our region because of its focus on issues of justice and human rights in Palestine and Israel, this year, 2022, we are bringing the world to Fort Wayne.

Next month, Tuesday, May 24, 6:30pm at Plymouth Church, ICMEP welcomes – free and open to the public – Syrian refugee and concert violinist, Mariela Shaker, to share her story and music. Mariela is a Syrian violinist who fled war-torn Aleppo on a 2013 US music scholarship. She was granted asylum and US citizenship. She received the Daily Point of Light Award from President George H.W. Bush, was named Champion of Change for World Refugees by President Barack Obama, and was given the Spirit of Anne Frank Center’s Promisekeeper Award.

Mariela has performed worldwide, in London, Jordan (at the invitation of Queen Rania), at the Beyond Borders conference in Scotland, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, and more. She has performed for various United Nations agencies, and throughout the US – at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center for World Refugees Day, and at the Lincoln Center. Finally, Mariela has also worked with Cate Blanchett, Ben Stiller, and Meryl Streep to fundraise over a million dollars toward supporting Syrian refugees. 

ICMEP offers this program with partial support from the Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District and Jerry and Diane Mackel.

ICMEP also invites you to be a Partner for this program for $100 (which includes an invitation to the Reception for Mariela on Monday evening, May 23, and mention at the concert.

And ICMEP’s global emphasis continues. Already in 2022, ICMEP has:

  • thanks to Board Chair, Terry Dougherty, hosted Nowruz and Eid celebrations for the new Afghan immigrants in our community; 
  • welcomed an Iranian children’s book author, Golbarg Bashi (“P is for Palestine”);
  • hosted an Earth Day environmental justice conference featuring Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and Malik Yakini, a leading spokesman at the intersection of urban farming and racial justice.

 This fall, ICMEP welcomes:

  • from Jerusalem, Jeff Halper, founder of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions and a leader of the One Democratic State Campaign; and
  • from the UK, Garth Hewitt, singer/songwriter/ troubadour/activist and Honorary Canon at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral in East Jerusalem. 

And finally:

To remember the December 26, 2021 passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, we’re flying in Rev. Edwin Arrison from Cape Town, South Africa, for ICMEP’s annual Gala. The Archbishop’s friend, colleague, and partner in the anti-apartheid movement, Rev. Arrison, like Tutu during his life, works for Palestinian civil, political, and human rights.

We at ICMEP remain so grateful for all our many friends and supporters for these 17 years. And committed to our core values, we want nothing less than the transformation of hearts and a moral revolution, the full realization of what Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, calls “interbeing,” so that justice and peace might finally prevail and Martin Luther King, Jr’s “beloved community” might finally become a reality.

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