Celebrating Jazz Ambassadors with the U.S. Diplomacy Center

Celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month, Meridian partnered with the U.S. Diplomacy Center to produce a panel discussion and musical performance at the Meridian curated "Jam Session" photo exhibition, which is on display at the U.S Diplomacy Center until May 31. Panelists discussed the essential role of cultural diplomacy during the height of the Cold War when prominent American jazz musicians including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughn toured around the world as Jazz Ambassadors, connecting people through their powerful music when the world needed it most.

The program began with opening remarks from the director of the U.S. Diplomacy Center Mary Kane and Meridian CEO and President Ambassador Stuart Holliday. Featured panelists included Dr. Penny Von Eschen, Humanities Professor of Cornell University; Jay Raman, head of the U.S. Department of State’s cultural programs division; and Kenny Wesley, an American songwriter, pianist and vocalist. Topics of discussion ranged from current State Department cultural diplomacy music programs to personal experiences participating in exchange programs from Bolivia and Peru to Colombia and Madagascar.

To close out the program, the Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education (FAME) Jazz Ensemble performed a spectacular jazz concert for guests. Meridian International Center is proud to partner with the U.S. State Department to promote cultural diplomacy to foster cross-cultural communication and understanding.

Project summary

Celebrating Jazz Ambassadors with the U.S. Diplomacy Center | April 2018
Regions: Western Hemisphere, Africa
Countries: Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Madagascar
Impact Areas: Cultural Diplomacy
Program Areas: Convening
Partners: Public Sector