touch, the leading mobile telecommunications and data operator in Lebanon, managed by Zain Group, has partnered with One Lebanon Association to introduce the One Voiceinitiative led by ONE LEBANON Founder & president Tania Kassis and its Academy professional choir teachers. The project seeks to provide professional choir sessions to students with no access to music in four public schools in Beirut.
The initiative was officially launched at an event held at the Grand Serail under the patronage of Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri and in the presence of Minister of Telecom Mr. Jamal Jarrah Minister of Information Mr. Melhem Riachi, many ambassadors, ONE LEBANON Founder & President Tania Kassis, touch CEO Emre Gurkan, ONE LEBANON public figures supporters such singers Anthony Touma and Nicolas el Osta as well as ONE LEBANON board members and volunteers.
President Riad el Solh Secondary School, Gebran Ghassan Tueni Secondary School, Chiah mixed english School and Martyr Abdel Karim Khalil English middle school are the four public schools representing Beirut’s confessional diversity that were selected to participate in the program. Students selected are being provided with one-hour choir sessions on a weekly basis during school hours all along the 2018/2019 academic year. The four groups comprise an average of 30 students per group where two groups are allocated to ages 7-13 years and two groups are allocated to 13-16 year-olds. This partnership, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, is fundamental to providing youth in Lebanon with innovative and fun ways to learn.
ONE LEBANON’s goal being to initiate, develop and support projects that encourage citizens to live together harmoniously in a peaceful Lebanon, it seeks to promote through this project respect for diversity, both individual and collective, and seeks to uphold ethical integrity among the Lebanese Youth.
Tania Kassis, Founder & President of ONE LEBANON commented, after exposing all the psychological and health benefits of group singing “Science is proving that we bond best when we are making music with each other. Singing in a group offers us a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. It helps us feel that we are needed by the larger community and prepare the youth to become agents of change. It also certainly involves cooperation as well, and cooperation increases trust between individuals and increases one’s chances of future cooperation, which are important factors in human evolutionary success and societal stability.
Research shows that group singing seems to shift our focus from our own narrow view to that of our common humanity and people exposed to group singing have been shown to be more generous, more ethical, and more helpful towards others.
I deeply believe that this initiative will have a very positive impact on the kids and teens that we will target, as it will bring different people together, overcoming differences while giving them a good music education. This activity can become a real passion to many of them and will help us discover great talents and also prepare potential artists or music teachers.”
Emre Gurkan, Chief Executive Officer of touch commented, “One Voice is a high-profile initiative tailored to young people in Lebanon, who are the country’s future and possess the potential to express themselves in extremely creative ways. Our partnership with ONE LEBANON and Tania Kassis Academy is an earnest attempt to provide underprivileged children with the same opportunity to express themselves to the best of their ability regardless of their social and economic situation, in a nurturing environment. Along with One Voice we shall continue to expand this partnership, paving the way to a sustainable cultural experience for young people across Lebanon.”
After the speeches, around 120 students from the four selected public schools offered a small performance of meaningful songs. The performance ended with Tania Kassis joining the One Voice choir on stage to sing together her hit song “Trabak Ya Lebnan” written and composed for her by Elias Rahbani.
Tania Kassis Academy, supervised by Tania Kassis herself, offers a unique opportunity for students from all ages and backgrounds to perform in various concerts and TV shows with other established artists. The youth also has the opportunity to join bands, record in professional studios, and be exposed to a wider audience.
The One Voice project falls under the education focus of touch’s corporate sustainability program, Positive touch, where the driving belief is that every child deserves a decent education and access to arts and culture in a bid to receive a well-rounded education. This view is also in-sync with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal number four, which relates to ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes life-long learning opportunities for all.
The One Voice choir members will perform for touch employees at the beginning of 2019 as well as at a joint event set to take place in June 2019.