Gedenk, the not-for-profit organization formed by Grammy award-winning musician and humanitarian Miri Ben-Ari, has teamed up with the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to create the Gedenk Award for Tolerance as part of the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Miri Ben-Ari for the first time talks about how music helped her break her silence by sharing her personal story with the Huffington Post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miri-benari/music-and-the-third-metric_b_4173197.html.
Five national Scholastic Award recipients will be selected to receive the special award, which includes $1,000, for their original work of writing or art. The goal is to encourage young people to use literary and artistic outlets for self-expression while considering their roles in creating a more tolerant world. Students are asked to create original written pieces or works of art that reflect upon the lessons learned from the Holocaust and other genocides and attempt to raise awareness of the importance of increasing tolerance to safeguard a peaceful society.
According to Ms. Ben-Ari, currently CEO of Gedenk, “We are pleased to collaborate with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards on this campaign. It’s not easy to encourage young people to learn about atrocities such as the Holocaust, but this unique and creative approach has engaged them to embrace tolerance.”
Coinciding with the Scholastic Awards campaign, Gedenk is celebrating the launch of their newly designed website, GedenkMovement.org. The site is a hub of information and a nexus for young people to explore the themes of Gedenk’s mission of tolerance. The site will feature forums, blogs, video content, and interactive dialogue that encourage visitors to become a supportive community and share how they have fought back against intolerance. Gedenk is a word that means, “remember” in Yiddish. In that spirit, site visitors can contribute to the virtual memorial by adding a name and message in honor of anyone who endured a form of genocide.
Gedenk was established in 2006 to promote awareness about how ignorance, bigotry and hatred have and can ultimately result in genocide, even in a civilized society. The Jewish Holocaust began with commonplace acts – simple acts of intolerance, prejudice, and bigotry between neighbors, such as those that many of us are used to seeing and ignoring every day. Gedenk strives to empower young people, giving them the tools to stand up for themselves, their peers and their community against intolerance of all kinds.
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program is the longest-running, most prestigious recognition and scholarship initiative for creative teens. The Awards program and the Gedenk Award for Tolerance are open to any public, private, parochial or home-school student in grades 7-12 in the U.S., Canada, and American schools abroad. Submissions are now being accepted and the deadlines vary slightly by region, from mid-December 2013 through mid-January 2014.
Gedenk is excited to team up with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers after similar partnerships have successfully helped carry Gedenk’s mission on a global level. In 2011, Gedenk partnered with MTV/Viacom and Public Interest, to launch three public service announcement campaigns titled “The Holocaust happened to people like us” which received extensive coverage from the major networks. The Scholastic Awards have supported and encouraged the creativity of teens for 90 years, and in 2013 received more than 230,000 submissions from students everywhere. Collectively with Gedenk this special award will recognize and celebrate the exceptional vision and impact of the youth of today.
About Miri Ben-Ari, a Grammy Award-Winning violinist/producer, originally from Israel, has helped sell millions of records by collaborating with other Grammy award-winning artists such as Kanye West, Jay Z, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, Britney Spears, Maroon 5, Donna Summer, Janet Jackson and Armin Van Buuren. Her album “The Hip Hop Violinist“/ Universal Records features many of these collaborations. Ben-Ari has been the face of many promotional campaigns, including; Reebok‘s “I Am What I Am” global print and TV advertisements, Vodafone, Pepsi , Coca-Cola and now Harman Kardon (products include headphones and home theatre systems). Miri Ben-Ari is the founder and chairman of “Gedenk”and a “Goodwill Ambassador of Music” at the United Nations. Her yet to be titled forthcoming album will be released in 2014. For more information about Miri Ben-Ari visit: www.miribenari.com