By Liaqat Ali, Pakistan

The general elections campaign in Pakistan was at its peak when I left for the DC Symposium. The emergence of a comparatively new political party, Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI), changed the landscape of election campaigns and political gatherings in Pakistan making music an important part of political gatherings. PTI won the recent general elections and is now ruling the country.

When I returned to Pakistan, the most trending video showing a minority Christian artist playing the national anthem of Pakistan on one instrument tabla “drums” was viral on the independence day of Pakistan. The minority Christians face persecution in Pakistan but the language of music sent a strong message to peace-haters about the power of music and love.

During the course of DC Symposium I was looking for the same power of music and the beats of love. The organizers did a great job by scheduling the sessions like the music chart with notations where every speaker was contributing in the music like an instrument. The VIP briefing by Jason Ladnier was more like the innovations in the music of peacebuilding based on the stability of beats and music chart lines. The sessions were majestic where soft angelic voices showed the importance of negotiation and mediation while some presenters highlighted conflict diagnosis and resolution in a breathy “pillow-talk” voice. Their passions to deliver and teach trained us the devotion to practice daily the music of love because peacebuilding is not an event rather a process. The presenters wrote very simple lines and notations building our skills to simplify the complex processes. The lecture room was more like a classic urban design where people enjoyed their personal spaces while appreciating to gather at a public place for the special rights: the right to peace. I can still remember the community kitchen at the back where everyone, despite cultural differences, enjoyed the same eats and drinks as the sounds of cups and coffee making the music of peace and harmony.

Music of neuroscience was the best one. Music teaches us to be calm and in control while enjoying it. It gives a view about emotional intelligence and how to master in building peace. The art of making music is very easy if one feels it and dives into it to understand the minute details, but the process of making music is not as glamorous as the music is.

The only thing all participants knew was the language of music. At the end, the participants had their own music and dance as we celebrated the lessons of music learnt. I think IPSI missed a session on music and peace because they knew about the ubiquitous power of music. It does not need a separate session. It is a universal language and everyone understands it even if there are no instruments to play. I love the music of peace learnt in DC Symposium.