Daniel Barenboim is an acclaimed conductor and pianist who gave his international debut performance as a solo pianist at age ten. Since then he has worked with orchestras all over the world. He is particularly well known as the Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a position he held from 1991 until June 2006.

In 1999, he co-founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together young musicians from Israel and the Arab countries to promote dialogue and unity of purpose between the various cultures of the Middle East. This orchestra performed a ground-breaking concert in Ramallah in 2005, and played at the United Nations and Carnegie Hall in New York in 2006. Recently, Mr. Barenboim has initiated a project for music education in the Palestinian territories, including the foundation of a music kindergarten and a Palestinian youth orchestra.

Focus Area: Peace and Tolerance

Dialogue and tolerance are vital to maintaining world peace and unity. In 2005, the United Nations launched the Alliance of Civilizations initiative to advance mutual respect for religious beliefs and traditions. The Alliance represents a committed international effort to bridge divides and overcome prejudice, misconceptions, misperceptions and polarization. Culture also plays an important role in conflict or post-conflict situations as a vehicle for reconciliation through cultural heritage. Throughout history, peoples have exchanged cultural experience, ideas, value and good through art, trade and migrations. UN programmes have been established to encourage intercultural cooperation and dialogue among especially those countries which are in a period of transition or post-conflict situation with a view to strengthening social cohesion, solidarity and peace in the region.