Next Level: Orientation

Meridian International Center is pleased to announce that it will be partnering with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on cycle 4.0 of Next Level. Teams of four American hip hop artist-educators – in collaboration with local organizations and musicians – will be sent to Azerbaijan, Burma, Egypt, Morocco, and Vietnam. There they will facilitate workshops and master classes along with formal and informal live performances. The goal is to promote the mutual sharing of knowledge, values, perspectives and respect between local populations and American artists.

From July 9-11 2017, Meridian International Center hosted the Next Level 4.0 orientation on our campus. American MCs, DJs, beat makers, dancers, and graffiti artists shared creative perspectives and engaged in conflict resolution activities. The orientation culminated in a live performance in front of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, where the artists' skills were on full display to the public. The artists will travel overseas throughout the year to engage in cultural diplomacy initiatives that encourage creativity and problem solving through hip hop.

Next Level offers a unique opportunity for overseas residents to develop their creative portfolio. They are guided by American artists in four hip hop forms — beat making, dancing, DJing, and rapping — with secondary instruction in beatboxing and graffiti art. Participants are offered feedback and the opportunity to collaborate in live concerts and at public events, showcasing the cultural exchange that has taken place in the workshops. All activities are planned and executed with the purpose of promoting mutual understanding among people of different cultures, regions, generations, and personal identities. The program aims to deepen the international network of hip hop artists and infuse artistic expression with the ideals of entrepreneurship and conflict resolution.

Since 2013, 85 artists have participated in the program. Next level has organized successful exchange programs in Algeria, Bangledash, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Tunisia and more. In 2017-18, the program will continue with visits to Azerbaijan, Burma, Egypt, Morocco, and Vietnam.

Explore our photos from the Next Level Orientation below, and be sure to follow along with the global journeys of these incredible artists on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using #NextLevel.

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