Mark Johnson and Whitney Burditt, the Founders of Playing for Change, were presented with the 2009 Human Security Award on October 22, 2009.
“Playing for Change”
Featuring a keynote address by Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke Burditt, founders of Playing for Change and recipients of the 2009 Human Security Award.
Mark Johnson and Whitney Burditt, the Founders of Playing for Change, received the 2009 Human Security Award on October 22, 2009 for their efforts to create a multimedia movement to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. In addition to their inspiring music and films, the Playing for Change movement is building music schools across the globe to foster music, education and collaboration. Playing for Change has been featured on PBS, CBS, The Tonight Show, ABC World News, NPR, Larry King Live and the Playing for Change band launched their first world tour in the Fall of 2009.
The Human Security Award recognizes the remarkable efforts of people working to empower and protect the world’s most vulnerable communities.
Video of 2009 Human Security Award ceremony at UC, Irvine
About Playing for Change
Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world.
We built a mobile recording studio, equipped with all the same equipment used in the best studios, and traveled to wherever the music took us. As technology changed, our power demands were downsized from golf cart batteries to car batteries, and finally to laptops. Similarly, the quality with which we were able to film and document the project was gradually upgraded from a variety of formats– each the best we could attain at the time-finally to full HD.
One thing that never changed throughout the process was our commitment to create an environment for the musicians in which they could create freely and that placed no barriers between them and those who would eventually experience their music. By leading with that energy and intent everywhere we traveled, we were freely given access to musicians and locations that are usually inaccessible. In this respect, the inspiration that originally set us on this path became a co-creator of the project along with us!
Over the course of this project, we decided it was not enough for our crew just to record and share this music with the world; we wanted to create a way to give back to the musicians and their communities that had shared so much with us. And so in 2007 we created the Playing for Change Foundation, a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation whose mission is to do just that. In early 2008, we established Timeless Media, a for-profit entity that funds and extends the work of Playing for Change. Later that year, Timeless Media entered into a joint venture with the Concord Music Group through the support of label co-owner and entertainment legend Norman Lear and Concord Music Group executive vice president of A&R John Burk. Our goal is to bring PFC’s music, videos and message to the widest possible audience.
Now, musicians from all over the world are brought together to perform benefit concerts that build music and art schools in communities that are in need of inspiration and hope. In addition to benefit concerts, the Playing for Change band also performs shows around the world. When audiences see and hear musicians who have traveled thousands of miles from their homes, united in purpose and chorus on one stage, everyone is touched by music’s unifying power.
And now, everyone can participate in this transformative experience by joining the Playing for Change Movement. People are hosting screenings, musicians are holding benefit concerts of every size, fans are spreading the message of Playing for Change through our media, and this is only the beginning. Together, we will connect the world through music!
We would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their support of our research, education and public service on human security issues: