Louise Pascale

Louise Pascale

Dr. Louise Pascale, Professor in the Creative Arts in Learning Division at Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, has worked nationally and internationally for over 25 years in the field of arts and education.  She has focused her research on investigating the ways in which singing and music making impact cultural reference, community building and education.  She’s committed to providing opportunities for children and teachers to experience the joy of music, opening up possibility for everyone to sing, make music and build strong learning communities.

Motivated by a long-held passion and concern for preserving traditional music, Dr. Pascale has spent the last ten years as founder and director of the Afghan Children’s Songbook & Literacy Project.  The Project began in 2006 when Louise, working alongside a team of Afghans, published the songbook, Qu Qu Qu Barg-e-Chinaar: Children’s Songs from Afghanistan, which was based on a songbook she created while in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan from 1966-68.   In 2002, Louise became aware of the severe music censorship that was imposed on the people of Afghanistan.  Due to over twenty years of war and oppression in Afghanistan, these children’s songs were almost completely eradicated from Afghan culture.

Currently there are 50,000 copies of two songbooks – Qu Qu Qu Barg-e-Chinaar and Awasana See Sana both of which have accompanying Teacher’s Guides. They’ve been distributed to elementary schools, orphanages and family centers across Afghanistan and embraced not only as a music text but a support for basic literacy.

The Afghan Songbook Project has been recognized nationally and internationally as an important contribution to building literacy as well as preserving culture in Afghanistan.  Louise was recently recognized for her work by the Canadian Women for Afghan Women (CW4WAfghan) and was honored with the prestigious Champion of Education for Afghan Women and Children Award.  More information about the songbook can be found on the Louise’s TEDx talk – Returning Music to the Children of Afghanistan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1UWvPJ5WcU and on the BBC World Outlook Interview: Giving Afghan Children Their Songs Back: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p040p10w