Abigail Klein Leichman
September 27, 2016, Updated September 26, 2016

Rana Choir, a mixed Jewish-Muslim-Christian women’s chorus from Jaffa, received a 2016 International Hrant Dink Foundation award in the category of inspirations, September 22 at the Istanbul Lütfi Kırdar International Convention and Exhibition Center.

Hrant Dink was an award-winning Turkish journalist of Armenian descent who was assassinated in Turkey in 2007 by a Turkish nationalist because of his public stance regarding Turkish recognition of the Armenian genocide.

The foundation established in his honor grants awards to “people and organizations working for a world free of discrimination, racism and violence, and through their initiatives inspire and encourage others to support their cause and ideals,” according to a press statement.

The 20-woman Rana Choir operates under the umbrella of Inspiration Global School for Art, Leadership and Social Change as part of the Topaz Center for Innovative Social Entrepreneurship. The women perform across and Israel and abroad under the baton of Mika Danny.

“It’s a great honor for us to receive this award because the other groups and people honored by the foundation did such courageous and inspiring things. It feels good to be in their company,” Danny tells ISRAEL21c.

The award organizers said Rana Choir “proves the power of shared creation and song to foster intercultural dialogue and to form deep human relationships despite political differences, and with their singing are voicing their call for peace.”

Among the other award recipients were a group in Ghana advocating against female genital mutilation; a Syrian refugee Olympic swimmer who jumped out of a sinking refugee boat on its way to Greece and pulled the boat for four hours toward the shore; a couple from Iraq who rescue Yazidi women kidnapped by ISIS, and athletes, teachers, and civil servants from Croatia and Slovenia who organized a volleyball game across a wired fence erected to prevent immigrants from crossing over.

In January 2017, Rana Choir will appear in nine concerts across Israel with the Andalusian Orchestra.