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Laura Hassler grew up in a multicultural, artistic community in New York, a child of two professionals in the international peace and nonviolence movement. Active in US civil rights and peace movements from an early age, she studied cultural anthropology and music at Swarthmore College, combining academics with activism and music.
During the 1970s she worked for the Friends (Quaker) Peace Committee and the Committee of Responsibility on Vietnam in Philadelphia, for Thich Nhat Hanh’s Vietnamese Buddhist Peace Delegation in Paris, and the US Fellowship of Reconciliation in New York.
In 1977, she moved to the Netherlands, where she developed a career as a musician, linking music to social causes. She specialized in cultural diversity in the arts, founded a world music school and worked as a diversity consultant to arts institutions while teaching singing and leading vocal groups.
Part of a large network of socially conscious musicians, Laura mobilized this network to collectively launch Musicians without Borders in 1999. Today, still drawing largely on the talents of this ever-broadening network, Musicians without Borders has become one of the world’s pioneers in the use of music to bridge divides, build community, and heal the wounds of war.
Laura is currently director of Musicians without Borders and sings with one of the organization’s musical ambassadors, Fearless Rose.