A Cultural Bridge between Schools in Budapest, Hungary

Picture of A Cultural Bridge between Schools in Budapest, Hungary

A delegation of students from the American International School of Budapest, Hungary visited the Kolozsvar School in Budapest with John Farrell. The visit was coordinated by the U.S. Embassy Cultural Attaché Carolyn Glassman and her assistant Monica Vali, with cooperation of BoPH advisor and board member Joe Giulietti.

US Embassy  Cultural Attache Carolyn Glassman (2nd from Right) and assistant Monika  Vali (far right) join John Farrell in presenting BoPH tee shirt to  administrators at Kolozsvar School in Budapest.Pictured Right: US Embassy Cultural Attache Carolyn Glassman (2nd from Right) and assistant Monika Vali (far right) join John Farrell in presenting BoPH tee shirt to administrators at Kolozsvar School in Budapest.

At the time Joe was also a fourth grade teacher at AISB. He has since moved to the Netherlands to continue his work teaching and spreading messages of peace and love.

Joe and his students at AISB participated  in BoPH projects for three consecutive years, including the Songwriting Project, The Quilt Project and the Storytelling Project. Joe’s class also had weekly Skype conferences with their Bridges Partners Mr. Ken Buescher’s class in Danbury, CT in  the USA. Other teachers at AISB are continuing BoPH projects.

Mr. Giulietti, his students, and John Farrell did an assembly program at Kolozsvar School. They taught the Hungarian students to sing some songs in English and in sign language. The Hungarian students reciprocated by singing songs in Hungarian for John and the AISB students. There was a precious “aha” moment when the two groups were singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” together. The melody of “Twinkle, Twinkle” is said to have been composed by Mozart when he was a young boy of 6 or 7. It is also the melody many English speaking children use to learn the letters of the alphabet. The “aha” moment came when the Hungarian students began to sing a popular Hungarian song to the same melody. It is a children’s song sung at Christmas time. This was a poignant reminder of how much music, laughter, and song breaks down barriers.

Another highlight of the visit was when the entire assembly made a huge circle in the gymnasium and sang the Carol Johnson’s wonderful song “Love Grows” together. At the end of the song everyone held hands while singing

So let me take your hand my friend
We’ll each take the hand of another
Hand in hand we’ll reach round the world
To our sisters and our brothers

Love grows one by one,
Two by two, and four by four
Love grows round like a circle
And comes back knocking at your front door”

During the visit, the students from the two schools also played together on the playground, and the adults shared a meal in the school cafeteria. It was a magnificent day spent sharing music, laughter and goodwill, a day that everyone will remember for a long time.