Montserrat Figueras and Jordi Savall are named “Artists for Peace”
The Catalan musician Jordi Savall and his wife, the soprano Montserrat Figueras, have been named UNESCO “Artists for Peace” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), an honour they share with other artists such as the flamenco dancer Joaquín Cortés, the Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil, María de Medeiros and the Chinese actress Gong Li.
The title, which is granted for a period of two years, was conferred on the couple on 17th June in Paris at a ceremony attended by the Director General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura.
UNESCO Artists for Peace are “figures of international standing who, thanks to their influence, charisma and high profile, lend special value to the Organization’s message and programme. In the words of UNESCO, “we invite these outstanding artists to raise public awareness of the actions proposed by the Organization in this context.”
Earlier this year, Jordi Savall was appointed European Union ambassador for intercultural dialogue. This distinction, together with the title of “Artist for Peace” that he shares with his wife Montserrat Figueras, marks the culmination and recognition of his work over more than 30 years on behalf of neglected and marginalised musical traditions and cultures such as those which flourished Spain before the Christian reconquest, as well as the musical dialogue between East and West.
UNESCO believes that the world’s cultural richness lies in the expression and sharing of its diversity. Each individual culture draws nourishment from its own roots, but it is only through contact with other cultures that it truly develops. Exchange on equal terms, together with a dialogue between civilisations, cultures and peoples that is based on mutual understanding and respect and the equal dignity of cultures, are the indispensable condition for social cohesion, reconciliation between peoples and peace between nations.
In their work, Montserrat Figueras and Jordi Savall champion “music’s power to transform human beings. Music understood as an essential language common to East and West until the 15th century. In the current climate of conflict and rampant violence, music and art still offer two open doors. We must use them to restore an atmosphere of respect and understanding and do all that we can to change the culture of war of the last 6,000 years for a true culture of Peace. Beauty, as Dostoyevski said, will save the world.”