My deepest gratitude to all of you who made this possible.
As Nelson Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, I had the honor of performing a Concert for him in the Stockholm Concert House together with Cyndee Peters, Eric Bibb, Elise Einarsdotter and Svante Henryson. Nelson Mandela came backstage after the Concert to greet the musicians, He shook our hands and said our music was very encouraging. His hand felt warm and rough after many years of hard work in the limestone quarry at the Robben Island prison.
Nelson Mandela’s dream of a multi ethnic Rainbow Nation is mirrored in this Celebration Suite that was commissioned for the 20th Anniversary of Democracy in South Africa. It incorporates musical elements from South African Freedom Songs, Folk music, Jazz and Western classical tradition. The power of music serves as a harmonizing connection between cultures that words alone cannot make.
The young musicians of the MIAGI Youth Orchestra come from all ethnic and economic backgrounds and belong to the born free generation as they have not suffered the oppression of apartheid. To see and hear them play together is deeply moving and inspires hope for a better future where the rainbow of humanity work together peacefully. After three successful tours in South Africa and Europe the orchestra showed their appreciation by giving me a South African name: Jabulani = Happiness.
That name feels like medicine for a melancholy Swede like me.
MIAGI Youth Orchestra in South Africa
Since its inception in 2001, the Non-Profit-Organisation MIAGI – Music Is A Great Investment, offers a wide range of skills and creative arts training opportunities equipping young South Africans to advance their life prospects.
MIAGI established educational centers and programmes, the MIAGI Youth Orchestra and many smaller MIAGI music formations unite young talents through excellence, creative cooperation and innovation across ethnic and social borders embodying the ideals of Nelson Mandela. MIAGI’s patrons are the violinist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Maxim Vengerov and President Martti Ahtisaari, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Until his passing in 2018, José Antonio Abreu, the founder of El Sistema, was also one of MIAGI’s esteemed patrons. In 2020, a documentary film about MIAGI’s work with the name An Unfinished Symphony was world premiered by The Nobel Prize and National Geographic. www.miagi.co.za
The Swedish Fulbright Alumni of the Year 2019: Anders Paulsson
The award, given out by the Swedish Fulbright Alumni Association, honors a distinguished former Fulbright Scholar whose life’s work has served to further the mission of the Fulbright Program. In Senator Fulbright’s words, “to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs and thereby increase the chance that nations will learn at last to live in peace and friendship.”
Previous prize winners includes top diplomat Hans Blix and Swedish former Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson.
With Risa Rosenberg WWF, US Ambassador Clifford G. Bond and Silvia Ulloa chairwoman of the Fulbright Alumni Association.
A great honor to be selected as Fulbright Alumni of the year 2019 for my musical international bridge building of reconciliation and biosphere stewardship. My acceptance speech: