cultureXchanges Podcast

About the Podcast:

cultureXchanges is a podcast at the intersection of the humanities and cultural diplomacy. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and hosted by Meridian International Center, cultureXchanges dives into the lesser-known stories of cultural diplomacy with experts and scholars from the broader humanities field.

Where to Listen:

cultureXchanges can be found on Apple, Spotify, Acast, and other platforms.

Episode 1:


Chinatowns have played an instrumental role in the urban landscape as centers of influx, community, economic activity, and cultural preservation. These communities formed out of necessity, and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 led to a boom in Chinese-owned businesses including restaurants. Today, there are more Chinese restaurants in the United States than there are McDonald’s, Pizza Huts, KFCs, Wendy’s, and Taco Bells, combined. On this episode of cultureXchanges, we speak to Lisa Mao and Penny Lee, whose documentary film A Tale of Three Chinatowns profiles Chinatowns in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Boston to look at the forces affecting each urban community and the cultural impact of Chinatown on American cities.

Read the full transcript on our blog

Episode 2:


Next Level is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Meridian International Center. Its mission is to use hip hop music, dance, and art to foster cross-cultural creative exchange in diverse communities. The program works to promote understanding and conflict transformation in these audiences, and support the professional development of artists in those communities. It also builds on the historic legacy of the Department of State’s Jazz Ambassadors, who first traveled the world in the 1950s to connect with people through music.

On this episode of cultureXchanges, Next Level Founding Director, Dr. Mark Katz is joining us to discuss the history of global hip hop and how hip hop can be a bridge for cultural diplomacy.

Read the full transcript on our blog

Episode 3:

Treasures of Tutankhamun was one of the first international blockbuster exhibitions, but its success started with an act of cultural diplomacy that initiated the immense cooperation necessary to implement the international phenomenon. The exhibition began as a clause in an agreement between the United States and Egypt dedicated to cultural exchange; Egypt agreed to send Treasures of Tutankhamun on an American tour while the U.S. aided in the reconstruction of Cairo’s opera house. On this episode of cultureXchanges, we speak to Professor of Egyptology Dr. Aidan Dodson and Dr. Fatma Ismail, Director of U.S. Outreach and Programs at the American Research Center in Egypt on why this exhibition garnered global interest and how ‘The Boy King’ took hold of the public imagination.

Read the full transcript on our blog

 Episode 4:

In 1958, at the age of 23, Texan pianist Van Cliburn won the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow with his own arrangement of the beloved song “Moscow Nights.” Throughout his career, Cliburn continued to return to the Soviet Union for many televised performances and developed a lasting relationship with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. On this episode of cultureXchanges, we speak with Maggie Estes, Director of Communication and Digital Content at the Cliburn Foundation on Cliburn’s legacy and how music plays a role in cultural diplomacy.

Read the full transcript on our blog

Episode 5:

Museums Connect was a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). This initiative partnered museums in the United States with museums abroad to help foster cross-cultural engagement and exchange. On this episode of cultureXchanges, we speak with Dr. Richard J.W. Harker, author of Museum Diplomacy: Transnational Public History and the U.S. Department of State, about this program and the role it played in connecting transnational public history with international diplomacy.

Read the full transcript on our blog

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this web page do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Project summary

cultureXchanges Podcast
Impact Areas: Cultural Diplomacy
Program Areas: Culture