– “It’s all about creating heart connections”

For the past thirty-three years, Ilco van der Linde (1963, Netherlands) has been driven by his passion to bring people together, regardless of color, faith or cultural background. Music, art, media, events and informal education always play a central role in his campaigns. Directly as well as indirectly, millions of people are reached for the social causes he promotes. “It’s all about creating heart connections.”At the age of fifteen he established ‘Bevrijdingspop’ in Haarlem; a pop concert to celebrate the Liberation Day, the Day on which Holland celebrates the end of the Second World War. Ilco decided to use this day to involve young people in fostering human rights and diversity. Fifteen years later, he coordinated fourteen festivals throughout the Netherlands. With around one million visitors, it has grown into the largest annual themed youth event in Europe.

Bevrijdingspop was crowned as the ‘Best Dutch City Marketing Event’ in 2004. And in 2010, Ilco received the Silver Medal for the City of Haarlem from the city’s Lord Mayor. In 2008, all Bevrijdingspop-festivals together were awarded ‘Best Dutch Event’.In 2002, as co-founder and international director, he established dance4life. After ten years the dance4life program is now active in 30 countries and adopts a contemporary approach to involving hundreds of thousands of youngsters in pushing back HIV & Aids. Top DJ’s and the best media companies are involved. dance4life received the MTV Award in 2006 for ‘Most Innovative European HIV/Aids commercial’ and in 2009 it was crowned with the AfriComNet Award for ‘Best Multi Channel Strategy on HIV/Aids in Africa’.

After traveling with his family through 51 countries in Africa and the Middle East Ilco in 2009 felt the need to start the most heartwarming peace initiative ever: MasterPeace. Within 10 years MasterPeace will be able to mobilize several millions of people to use their talent and energy for what it calls the 3D-approach: Dialogue, Development, Disarmament. By 2020 MasterPeace will have recruited 400,000 new peace-builders who work for intercultural dialogue within at least 400 troubled communities worldwide. “MasterPeace is the ‘Just Do It’-campaign for peace.”

My reason to be part of World Women Global Council is the mutual message we share of love, hope and energy. Its within our sharing of this energy via different  goals and avenues we aim to change the lives of  the people whose resilience  inspire us and  they become our inspiration in holding the circle of life. I am honored to join the circle of wwgc.

Ilco runs MasterPeace together with the former director of dance4life Egypt: Mohamed Helmy. Within three years MasterPeace has already become active in 25 countries, including (former) conflict areas as Sierra Leone, North Uganda, Kenya, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan and Colombia. Here you can find some stories of creative ‘MasterPeacers’ working for peace within their own communities. MasterPeace has a board of directors with members from 4 continents, 7 Founding Partners, 17 Media Partners, 37 Collaborative Partners, a European office in The Netherlands and it’s Central Office in Cairo. Thousands volunteers and artists are already involved. All of them working towards the first global apotheosis of the bridge building and inspiring MasterPeace campaign: MasterPeace in Concert, on the International Day of Peace, 21 September 2014. On that special day MasterPeace will organize the most heartwarming peace concert ever next to the Pyramids in Cairo. Artists from all the major conflict areas of the world will perform together on one stage, as a tribute to Dialogue, Development, and Disarmament. The concert will be globally broadcasted, but if you want to attend the concert you can’t buy tickets, you first have to do something for peace building: globally or within your own community.

In January 2011, MasterPeace  was  awarded the ID Award by 1,000 Dutch business leaders during the Big Improvement Day (BID), and was described as ‘The Most Innovative Idea of The Year’.Since September 2012 Ilco is also regular blogger for The Huffington Post and Washington Post on his favorite topics: positivity, youth empowerment, diversity, peace and disarmament.

You can follow Ilco via his blog, via twitter and via MasterPeace  twitter, facebook or website. And don’t forget to check out our mesmerizing mini-documentary on WWGC site.

Go to our Video on home learn more and how you can get involved!