By: Juliette Touma and Bertram Chambers, UNDP Iraq
To mark International Peace Day in Iraq, the world famous Iraqi musician Nasseer Shamma gave his first performance in Baghdad for over 20 years at the National Theatre. His appearance was the main attraction at a music concert that UNDP organised for the first time in Iraq.
The event attracted a large, enthusiastic audience of about 2,000, half of which were Iraqi youth. People travelled from every corner of the country to listen to the beautiful and hugely popular music.
One participant said “I have been waiting for the return of Nasseer Shamma to Iraq for many years. The organisers of this event could not have chosen a better occasion to welcome him back to Baghdad so we can celebrate a new beginning for Iraq together.”
A member of the Youth Development Organisation, a UNDP partner said, “there are no words to describe this evening's event; it took us to another world." “This is a very special event as it has pumped life back in our hearts after all the sadness and pain we've been through."
On choosing Shamma to perform at this special concert for peace in Baghdad, Peter Batchelor the UNDP Country Director in Iraq said, "in addition to performing around the world and winning a number of international music prizes, Shamma is widely known and respected as a man of compassion who has for years been a dedicated advocate to peace and putting an end to violence and turbulence in Iraq.”
“I am delighted to be back to Baghdad Al-Salam, the city of peace to play at a concert at the invitation of UNDP in Iraq. Tonight’s concert sent a message of memories, love and hope for a better future and peace in Iraq,” Shamma said after the concert.” “This concert paid tribute to those who lost their lives during the conflicts that Iraq has endured over the past 30 years, including the victims of the 2003 attack against the United Nations. I also played music dedicated especially for the heroes of the Arab revolutions.”
On the occasion of his return to Baghdad and the International Peace Day concert Shamma played a number of music pieces including “Glow”, “Far away from sadness”, “Bader Shaker Al-Sayyab” and “Good morning Baghdad.”
The concert had a significant political implication as the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Gyorgy Busztin explained, “For the first time and on the occasion of International Peace Day , representatives from all 14 political blocs in Iraq have endorsed a statement committing themselves to peace and ending violence in Iraq.”
The concert took place as Baghdad prepares itself to host events of the 2013 Capital of Arab Culture where the Ministry of Culture is planning a series of cultural activities including music, poetry, theatre, cinema and books.
On the first partnership with UNDP Iraq, Mr. Nasser Taher Al-Hmoud, the Deputy Iraqi Minister of Culture said at a press conference before the concert; “We thank the United Nations for this great initiative as it proves that Baghdad is re-establishing its presence as an Arab capital capable of hosting cultural activities of such a volume.”
For Press Conference with Nasseer Shamma on International Peace Day, please see:
For more information and media queries please contact Ms. Juliette Touma, UNDP Iraq, firstname.lastname@example.org, +962-79-826-34-37