WASHINGTON, DC – The Embassy of Greece to the USA and Sephardic Heritage International in DC (SHIN-DC) launch Cosmopolitan Journeys through Greek Music. The inaugural event on May 6, 8-9 PM EDT, will feature leading Greek and Iraqi musicians, and Dr. Ali Al Mayahi, Iraq’s Cultural Attaché to the USA.
The event dedicated to Greek, Sephardic, and Iraqi music will be the first-ever occasion for an Iraqi government representative to participate in a Jewish-themed event. The event comes ahead of the 80th anniversary of the Farhud (a Nazi-inspired pogrom in Baghdad that brought to an end over two millennia of vibrant Jewish life in Iraq), observed each June 1 as a UN-designated International Farhud Day.
The May 6th program will be virtual, consisting of a live conversation among Greek musician Spyros Koliavasilis, Iraqi musician Laith Alattar, and Sephardic musician Asher Shasho Levy. They will discuss melodies that are shared in their respective traditions, and demonstrate the connections between the respective traditions through musical performances.
SHIN-DC Director Franz Afraim Katzir stated: “The launch of Cosmopolitan Journeys through Greek Music is consistent with Greece’s actions to build friendship, peace and prosperity. Our engagement with Iraq aims to create a space where artists, nations and communities can build goodwill through culture and musical traditions that are shared from the Mediterranean to the Gulf.”
On February 11, Greece hosted the Foreign Ministers of Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, France, and UAE at the Philia Forum, with the purpose of building “friendship, peace and prosperity from the Mediterranean to the Gulf.” More recently, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias emphasized Greece’s aim to “promote peace and prosperity” when Iraq’s Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens last month.
Two of the parties at the Philia Forum – Bahrain and the UAE – have recently normalized relations with Israel by signing the Abraham Accords last summer. Egypt, also a party at the forum, was the first Arab country to recognize Israel over 40 years ago. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, in turn, stated on April 2nd that normalization with Israel would bring “tremendous benefit” to the region.
In March, the Israeli and Moroccan embassies in Washington hosted a joint Mimouna celebration, organized in partnership with SHIN-DC and the Smithsonian Institution. This was the second joint event that the Israeli and Moroccan embassies had organized together with SHIN-DC. The first groundbreaking event in January, following the path of the freshly-signed normalization, hosted Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla, who shared the story of his Greek Sephardi family’s Holocaust experiences. The Embassy of Greece to the USA also participated in that momentous event.
SHIN-DC is a non-profit, cultural diplomacy organization focused on celebrating Sephardic and underrepresented Jewish cultural heritages worldwide.
Those who would like to join the upcoming event should register to receive the Zoom link free-of-charge at: www.shindc.org/shinsbn/Cosmo/.