by Fernando Quintero
In the never-ending quest for world peace, acclaimed violinist, conductor and humanitarian Yehudi Menuhin has found common ground in the universal language of music.
Menuhin was honored March 14 for his distinguished contributions to international understanding at International House's 65th anniversary celebration and awards ceremony.
Looking out into an audience of mostly students at a brief lecture before the award ceremony, Menuhin recalled his days as a youngster studying music in England.
"I grew up, as you are growing up, with an understanding and curiosity of a variety of people and cultures," he said, while a steady rain played its own concerto outside the Home Room at International House.
"The most important thing I've learned in my visits to the great schools of the world--Berkeley, Cambridge, Sorbonne, Harvard-- is that students are being taught to work together and appreciate one another. That gives me great hope."
Formerly president of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Music Council, Menuhin served as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1992 and has received numerous global honors.
He pioneered musical exchanges between Russia and the United States at the height of the Cold War, introduced Indian music and musicians to the West, and currently serves as music director of the highly acclaimed Asian Youth Orchestra.
Beginning with his orchestra debut in San Francisco at the age of seven and then conducting his own and other orchestras around the world, Menuhin's talent and humanitarianism have earned him great respect and admiration.
A citizen of the world, Menuhin speaks several languages and is founder of the International Music Academy in Switzerland.
Menuhin said he believes the world governed harmoniously is an attainable goal of humanity and emphasized the need for creative exchange among different groups and nations as a way of "belonging in spirit to a wider circle."
In addition to Menuhin, other honorees included Chevron Corp. executive and International House alumnus J. Dennis Bonney and the Fleishhacker family, long-time International House supporters.