Seeds of Peace Fellow, 2016


Transforming Nile water conflict through citizen collaborations.

How have you impacted your community?

As an applied ethnomusicologist with a background in hospitality experience design, I am constantly exploring new ways to cultivate communities that are conducive to learning, making, and experiencing music.

In 2009 I founded Zambaleta, a community World Music school offering the most diverse curriculum of music and dance classes in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2011, I initiated the Nile Project to bring together artists from the 11 Nile countries to collaborate on music that inspires transboundary citizen dialogues and cooperation contributing to the sustainability of the longest river in the world.

My GATHER initiative, The Nile Project, aims to transform the water conflict in the Nile Basin by inspiring, informing, and empowering Nile citizens to collaboratively cultivate the sustainability of their shared ecosystem. Through an innovative approach combining cross-cultural musical collaborations, youth leadership development, and a collaborative network focusing on food sustainability, the Nile Project seeks to address the cultural and environmental challenges at the root of the Nile conflict in order to shift the world’s longest river from a divisive geo-political discourse to a uniting conversation.

Over the course of the Fellowship, the Nile Project toured the United States for four months and reached 50,000 university students and audience members through concerts, workshops, panels, and master classes. Meanwhile, its university program supported 24 student leaders from six universities in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Egypt. These students established Nile Project clubs on their university campuses where they recruited a total of 180 student members to engage in local community projects aiming at Nile sustainability.