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December 11, 2018

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Journalist left important legacy

Colleen O'Callaghan-Miele

Colleen O'Callaghan-Miele

This past weekend, I attended The SGI-USA (Soka Gakkai International) presentation of The American Victory Orchestra in a celebration of Daniel Pearl World Music Days.

This celebration of Hot Classical to Cool Jazz performed by American Victory Orchestra was conducted by Patrick Scott and the mistress of ceremonies was Sherry Beall. The performance took place at the location of its conception, the World Peace Ikeda Auditorium in Santa Monica.

This year, 1,133 Daniel Pearl World Music Days took place in more than 60 countries around the world where music was ringing the earth for sanity and humanity.

The concert was beautiful and the purpose for the performance was educational, captivating and soul searching.

The world has come to know Daniel Pearl as the journalist who was kidnapped and barbarically murdered by terrorists in Pakistan four months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Daniel Pearl should be a reminder that this world is not void of terrorists and extremists who hold no value for the life of other human beings.

He should also be remembered by the world for who Danny — as he was affectionately referred to by his family — was and what he brought to this world.

Danny was born on Oct. 10, 1963. He grew up in Los Angeles, where he displayed an insatiable curiosity for music, academics and sports. Music was an essential expression for Danny and led him to become a fixture in several bands around the world, where he jammed on the electric violin, fiddle or mandolin.

He graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a major in communications with Phi Beta Kappa honors.

In 1991, he was hired by The Wall Street Journal and worked in Atlanta, Washington, Paris and London, where his assignment was to cover the Middle East.

Danny met Mariane in 1998 and the couple married a year later. They moved to Bombay, India, in 2000. Danny was the Wall Street Journal's South Asia Bureau chief.

Danny's skill as a foreign correspondent was apparent not only in his entertaining pieces that shed light on other cultures but also in investigative stories that uncovered the truth from the rubble of war and devastation.

In May 2002, Mariane Pearl gave birth to their son, Adam.

Danny's parents, Judea and Ruth, their family and friends created the Daniel Pearl Foundation to carry on his legacy, using music and words to combat the root causes of the hatred that took his life.

The mission of the foundation grew out of a shared concern by Professor Akbar Ahmed, chair of Islamic Studies at American University, and Danny's father about the deterioration of relationships between Muslim and Jewish communities around the world and their strong belief that reconciliation between these two Abrahamic faiths can be achieved through frank and respectful dialogue.

In 2003, the American Jewish Committee invited Judea Pearl and Ahmed to lead a public dialogue in Pittsburgh.

The conversation was to be about the divisions between Muslims and the western world and between Muslims and Jews. The event had a profound impact on those in attendance and was covered widely in the U.S., Arab and Pakistani press. Due to its success, this personal yet public dialogue now continues in cities across America and abroad.

Ahmed and Pearl have been invited to continue their program all over the world. The conversations, which are never the same twice, cover issues from theology, history and ideology to politics and current news, and encourage audience participation.

Two organizing principles guide the conversation: No issue is taboo and respect at all times. Ahmed and Pearl believe these open and honest dialogues are essential to the future of humanity.

It is their hope that their public dialogues will carve a path of legitimacy and inspire the communities who participate in them to continue the conversation at the grass-roots level.

The purpose is to promote cultural and religious tolerance, and to combat cultural and religious hate so that at the end of the day, humanity will prevail, hatred will be dissolved and peace will triumph.

Colleen O’Callaghan-Miele, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2653 or [email protected].

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