While My Guitar Gently Weeps, The Beatles (with Eric Clapton)

Chosen by Gregory Pasche, Coordinator of Professionalizing Activities

‘The song is empathetic and humble, yet at the same time observative and assertive. With hope that sleeping love can be awakened to avert suffering.’

Talkin’ Bout a Revolution, Tracy Chapman

Chosen by Clotilde Pégorier, Head of Education

‘Released in 1988, during rock’s ‘summer of conscience’, Talkin’ Bout a Revolution is a powerful political indictment of the widespread inequality and injustice that plagues society. Laced with anger, but also laden with hope, the song’s lyrics urge listeners to challenge the status quo and to take a stand for a better, and more just, world. Chapman’s voice is raw, beautiful, and pulses with emotion, forcefully underscoring the urgency of her message on the need for positive change.’

Where is the Love by the Black Eyed Peas

Chosen by Revaz Tkemaladze, Teaching Assistant

‘The line 'children hurting, hear them crying' is a reminder how wars affect the most innocent and vulnerable.  'War is going on, but the reason's undercover' resonates to many conflicts when states will attempt to justify their wars on false grounds.  The way forward is to stop discrimination which only generates a cycle of hate. The song is a reminder about the values of humanity, fairness, equality and unity. We only have 'one world' and it is our shared responsibility to care for it.’

Where is the Love by the Black Eyed Peas

Chosen by Victoire Berrebi, Project Assistant at the Geneva Human Rights Platform

‘This song came out in 2003, however, lyrics are still relevant today, especially with the ongoing conflicts. Maybe LOVE was the solution all along?’

Where the Streets Have No Name, U2

Chosen by Jonathan Andrew, Research Fellow

‘Visiting schools in Glasgow with the Red Cross I would play a DVD video to teenagers of humanitarian action on the ground, helping people in their time of need. U2’s ’The Streets Have No Name’ was the soundtrack. The children would sit in silence – so absolutely moved, touched by the images.’

Where the Streets Have No Name, U2

Chosen by Maud Bonnet, Executive Director

‘Throughout human history, people have segregated themselves. In some places, a person’s religion, social or ethnic origins for example dictates where they live and notably on which street. This song imagines a place where such division between people won't take place, while not being the same, being only human!’

You Make Me Blue, Licia Chery

Chosen by Christophe Golay, Senior Research Fellow

‘A singer from Geneva. A song about the colour of the United Nations, which should bring peace, but doesn't.’

Sono Il Tuo Sogno Eretico, Caparezza

Chosen by Stefania Di Stefano, Project Officer at the Geneva Human Rights Platform

‘This is one of my favourite songs ever and I fell in love with it well before I knew I would end up writing a PhD thesis on freedom of expression. The song tells the stories of Joan of Arc, Girolamo Savonarola and Giordano Bruno, who were all labeled as ‘heretics’ because of their ideas and met their deaths defending them. To me, it's a powerful reminder of how freedom of expression is a necessary foundation for any democratic society, an enabler for the exercise of any other right, and a powerful tool against abuse of power. And of how, sometimes, we all have to be ‘heretics’ if we want to defend human rights.’

Nothing But Thieves, Overcome

Chosen by Lotte Walstra, Assistant to the LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

‘‘When we shake off the darkness and harness the light [...] we shall overcome, as we've done before.’ This is what I wish for everyone who feels trapped in the dark. Let the light win in 2024.’

Blowin' in the Wind, Bob Dylan

Chosen by Eugénie Duss, Research Fellow

‘Because yesterday's struggles are today's struggles and tomorrow's successes.’

Little Room, The White Stripes

Chosen by Romain Allamand, Events and Executive Assistant

‘I choose this song because it perfectly encapsulates the humility one must (or should) have and nourish for continued success in the service of a good cause as well as in all life’s endeavour.’

Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms

Chosen by Nathalie Mivelaz Tirabosco, Head of Communication and External relations

‘This song is a classic and even though the years have passed since I first listened to it, it still moves me. It says it all: the absurdity of war, our shared humanity and that we are fools to make war.’

InsideOut by iO

Chosen by Felix Kirchmeier, Executive Director, Geneva Human Rights Platform

'This is not exactly a human rights song, but it became one for me as it was playing everywhere in Fiji during our recent treaty body follow-up review pilot. So to me, it's the soundtrack of a mission where the rubber of human rights standards hits the road of implementation.'

© Geneva Academy

Home Back, Jinjer

Chosen by Alina Kondratiuk, Assistant to the Master in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

‘Choosing 'Home Back' as a representation of my connection with International Humanitarian Law, I am drawn to the song's portrayal of the human cost of conflict and the urgent need for compassion and justice.’

Taro, Alt-J

Chosen by Francesco Romani, Research Fellow

‘A poignant piece inspired by the lives of Gerda Taro and Robert Capa – two of the XX century's greatest war photographers, partners in life and work, who both died while covering conflict (the Spanish Civil War and the First Indochina War respectively).’

They Dance Alone, Sting

Chosen by Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy

‘The haunting and dark melody of this Sting song evokes the tragedy of enforced disappearances and the impossible grief. One cannot remain indifferent in the face of the pain of the survivors and the beauty of this song.’

Irhal, Ramy Essam

Chosen by Erica Harper, Head of Research and Policy Studies

‘As we watched the Arab spring unfold from our home in Jordan, my daughters were learning this song in preschool. It written by a young Egyptian musician who bravely played it in Tahir square, with tens of thousands of youth singing along. At the time it was confronting to hear the girls chanting ‘leave leave’ at the breakfast table and in the car  … but in retrospect, it was our first insight into the unbreakable solidarity that connects the different Arab states as they, too often, weather crisis.’

This song isn't on Spotify, but you can watch it on YouTube here.

Spirit Bird, Xavier Rudd

Chosen by Domenico Zipoli, Project Coordinator at the Geneva Human Rights Platform

‘I choose ‘Spirit Bird’ by Xavier Rudd as a call to challenge social norms that perpetuate inequality and environmental degradation. It advocates for a kinder, more respectful society that values all cultures and the environment, while emphasizing the need to recognize and respect indigenous peoples as essential for a more inclusive, peaceful world.’

The Creator Has a Master Plan by Pharaoh Sanders

Chosen by Anna Greipl, Researcher

‘This song is an encouragement to all of us to pursue our 'master plan' for peace harmony and unity among all people in the world. It is also a reminder of the importance of love, respect, and collective effort along our path towards that better world.’

You can find here a version of this song that Ana composed in her mother tongue ‘Patois d’Evolène’

A Few Words in Defense of Our Country, Randy Newman

Chosen by Tim Young, Communication Officer

‘Randy Newman may well be the greatest satirist in song left in the USA. He’s so good that some people forget that his songs are tongue in cheek and take them seriously. This one is 15 years old but is still as (in)appropriate as ever when you consider how the USA sees itself … just remember that it’s not serious and you’ll enjoy it even more!’

We are the World

Chosen by Ana Kilibarda, Assistant to the Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict

‘We are the ones who make a brightest day, so let`s start giving!’