Lots of people talk about using the arts to connect societies, to let people everywhere grasp how much we all have in common. But Quincy Jones does more than talk. So the news that the legendary producer is launching a new project in this region, while wonderfully welcome, is somehow no surprise.
Jones must have a closet or two full of Grammy Awards - he has won 27 of them in his five-decade career - but is best-known, we dare say, as the producer of Michael Jackson's album Thriller and of the 1985 benefit single We Are the World, which united more than 40 star singers to raise money and awareness against famine in Africa.
His new project will be an Arabic-language version of his 1990s hit Tomorrow (A Better You, A Better Me), featuring numerous stars of Arabic music, including the UAE's own Hussein Al Jassmi. Lebanon's Majida El Roumi will write the Arabic lyrics. The local promoter Badr Jafar calls the line-up "an unprecedented summit of Middle Eastern talent".
It gets better: proceeds from the single, the video and the planned behind-the-scenes documentary will go to "help finance educational arts and culture scholarships and projects for children in the Middle East and North Africa", says the project's promoters.
It's hard to imagine a more positive, charming and downright cool way of supporting such worthwhile goals. Thank you in advance, Quincy.