Music, Learning, Solar Power and Peace


26NOV-11DEC 2004


Sustainable Energy Musical Goodwill Amabassador Tour

  • US State Department Sponsored Outreach Program

  • Connecting with the International Community Through Music and Learning Workshops

  • Solar Powered Stage Provides a Real Time Demonstration of How Easy It Is To Set Up and Use Solar Energy

For the past four years, the U.S. State Department Cultural Affairs Office has been working with a group of scientists and musicians led by UCLA Ph.D. student T.H. “Taha” Culhane, an Iraqi-American sustainable development instructor living in Egypt. The State Department sponsors tours to foster good relations between our country and the countries of the Middle East, through an innovative "Musical Goodwill Ambassador Program," that uses a festival atmosphere to allow transfer of ideas and technologies with the objective of bringing peace and prosperity to developing countries.
To accomplish this, Taha and his brother Michael have embodied these ideas in a musical group called “Circus Guy,” which use cultural events as the common bond from which to build constructive dialogue. The group tours internationally, performing classic American folk and rock songs and World Music to bring Americans, who are both musicians and scientists, to the Arab world several times every year. 

In 2004, on their 8th tour from November 26th through December 11, Circus Guy covered Egypt, from Alexandria to Zagazig. The timing of the tour coincided with Egypt's first World Conference on "Energy for Sustainable Development: Technology Advances & Environmental Issues" held December 6-9, in Cairo, Egypt. 
The theme of the Circus Guy Goodwill Tour was "Renewable Energy For Sustainable Development".  Three of the concerts were completely powered by the sun and the wind.  At the other concerts, clean energy and water purification technologies were on display. In addition to the performances, Taha (lead singer and guitarist for Circus Guy) and violinist/engineer Ted Stern (a photovoltaic research and development scientist ) presented formal papers on Technology Transfer and new solar electric and solar thermal technologies at the World Conference. They also conducted workshops at local schools and science centers.

The Goodwill Ambassador tour was filmed by James Dean Conklin, renouned film-maker and animator. His film, Solar Circus, can be previewed at the Greenheadmedia website.