International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

ICTMD Executive Board solidarity note on behalf of Prof. David Mc Donald’s freedom of expression

In the context of manifestations for the end of violence in Gaza happening in campuses around the world, the ICTMD Executive Board urges the concerned institutional authorities to assure the freedom of expression in peaceful manifestations of their respective academic communities and makes public its solidarity with Prof. David McDonald, a life member of the ICTMD and Chair of the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, who was physically forced to a short detention on 28 April 2024, during a Bloomington campus demonstration, and was officially subjected, alongside tens of other academic community members, equally  deterred, to a one-year-long ban from the university campus.

A well-respected and award-winning scholar, highly committed to applied research for social justice, Prof. McDonald has authored books and articles focusing on topics such as music as a resource for resilience in Palestine and in the Palestinian diaspora, music and violence-related trauma, among others (see a detailed list here). He presented papers in the ICTM-SEM Forum (Limerick, Ireland, September 2015) as well as in the 46th ICTM World Conference (Lisbon, Portugal, July 2022), and contributed a chapter to vol. 1 (Methodologies, Institutional Structures, and Policies) of the Forum-related, double book essay collection Transforming Ethnomusicology (Oxford University Press, 2021). Having such an internationally-acknowledged academic and world social justice advocate among the manifestants sufficiently characterizes the otherwise peaceful IU episode as a demonstration of freedom of expression, a hallmark of any higher learning institution, in the face of which the ICTMD Executive Board urges the concerned IU authorities to immediately lift the campus ban and any other sanctions pending upon the demonstrators.