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Using music to teach peace to children of war topic for BYU lecture May 22

BYU alumna founds programs in Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Uganda

The Brigham Young University College of Fine Arts and Communications will host BYU alumna Liz Shropshire, who will speak Monday, May 22, from 2-4 p.m. in F-201 HFAC on her experiences using music to teach peace to children of war.

Admission is free, and the public is welcome.

With a degree in music composition and theory, Shropshire traveled to Kosovo as a volunteer with the Balkan Sunflowers Organization in 1999. While in the city of Gjakove, she organized and taught a short-term music program in a local secondary school and a transit shelter camp. Later Shropshire traveled to the cities of Peje and Kline where she worked as a music therapist with a different organization.

Shropshire founded the non-profit Kosovo Children’s Music Initiative in January 2000 with hopes to establish musical education and performance programs to improve the welfare of children and communities in Kosovo. KCMI provides free musical instruments, musical instruction, and performances for children in war-torn Kosovo. So far, KCMI has reached more than 8,000 children.

"Our goal is for these children to know that they have the power to make their own choices, and that the path of peace brings happiness and security, that weapons do not equal power and that violence is not the answer," said Shropshire. "Sometimes a song can give us the strength to turn away from that which is wrong. Our goal is for these children to become instruments of peace."

In addition to Kosovo, Shropshire has expanded their program to Northern Ireland and Uganda.

In 2004, she began the Peace Through Music Northern Ireland project. This project focuses on bringing together war-traumatized children from segregated communities for music classes and concerts. In 2005, she founded Child Song Uganda to work with children rescued from kidnappers who forced them to become child soldiers.

Among her many responsibilities, Shropshire also supervises the daily operations of the Shropshire Music Foundation, established in 2000 to provide funding for all of these programs.

Writer: Valerie Housley

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