U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken launched the Global Music Diplomacy Initiative, a worldwide effort to elevate music as a diplomatic tool to promote peace and democracy and support the United States’ broader foreign policy goals. The Initiative aims to leverage public-private partnerships to create a music ecosystem that expands economic equity and the creative economy, ensures societal opportunity and inclusion, and increases access to education. It will build on current public diplomacy music programs to create public-private partnerships with American companies and non-profits to use music to meet the moment, convey American leadership globally, and create connections with people worldwide.
With senior Biden-Harris Administration officials, a bipartisan cohort of Members of Congress, music industry icons, leaders from the arts and humanities, and alumni from the Department’s music diplomacy exchanges the Secretary announced the American Music Mentorship Program, the Fulbright-Kennedy Center Visiting Scholar Award in Arts and Science, and efforts to bring American music and lyrics into classrooms across the world as part of the United States’ investment in English-language learning worldwide.
In addition, the Secretary and Recording Academy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Harvey Mason, jr. awarded Quincy Jones the first-ever Peace through Music Award, a collaboration between the Department and the Recording Academy®, which recognizes and honors an American music industry professional, artist, or group that has played an invaluable role in cross-cultural exchanges and whose music work advances peace and mutual understanding globally.
Catalyzed by the bipartisan Promoting Peace, Education, And Cultural Exchange (PEACE) Through Music Diplomacy Act signed by President Biden into law last year, the launch event included live performances by American and international artists from a variety of music genres and was supported through generous private sector sponsors.
The Global Music Diplomacy Initiative Launch announcements include:
American Music Mentorship Program
- The American Music Mentorship Program, a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the Recording Academy, will bring international mid-career music industry professionals, which may include musical artists, to the United States for mentorship and networking opportunities, with an aim to cultivate a professional music industry ecosystem locally and globally, to support creative talent, and to strengthen the creative economy globally. It will leverage the networks and experience of Recording Academy professionals and members to provide international participants mentorship opportunities, boost their technical skills, and build the foundation for professional networks. The first American Music Mentorship Program will be held in the fall of 2024.
Fulbright-Kennedy Center Visiting Scholar Award in Arts and Science
- The Fulbright Program, the United States’ flagship international academic exchange program, will collaborate with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to create a new fellowship opportunity for foreign scholars. The new Fulbright-Kennedy Center Visiting Scholar Award in Arts and Science will focus on the intersections of the arts (music, dance, theater, etc.) and science, including how the arts can contribute to individual and global health and well-being, and the environment. An award competition will be announced in fall 2023, and the Kennedy Center will host the first scholar in academic year 2024-25.
Boosting English-Language Learning Through Music
- Recognizing the strategic importance of English-language learning overseas, especially for youth and underserved communities, the Department will incorporate music into its existing $40 million investment in English-language learning worldwide, including through exchanges, curriculum, and scholarships to provide access to English-learning classes for promising students between the ages of 13 and 20.
- The Department will augment broader global English-language learning by supporting Sing Out Loud, a program that provides resources for teaching English through music in collaboration with American Music Abroad (AMA), bringing music and lyrics into classrooms across the world.
In addition to the Secretary’s announcements, the Global Music Diplomacy Initiative will include vast programming around the world, including:
Arts Envoys to Travel to the Middle East, People’s Republic of China
- Herbie Hancock, along with Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Ensemble at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), will be performing in Jordan in October to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1963 Jazz Ambassador tour of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
- The Herbie Hancock tour will then travel to Saudi Arabia for a four-day Arts Envoy program – the first of its kind between the United States and Saudi Arabia.
- From November 9-18, 2023, The Philadelphia Orchestra is slated to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its historic 1973 tour of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with Ensemble Performances and Residency Activities in multiple cities in the PRC.
Ten American Bands to Travel to 30 Countries Starting in October Through American Music Abroad; AMA Academy Cleveland to Host Young Professional Musicians from Ukrainian Diaspora
- Beginning in October 2023 and representing multiple genres, Birckhead, The Beatbox House, The Invisibles, Marielle Kraft, Matthew Whitaker, Pipeline Vocal Project, Raining Jane, Sihasin, Sub-Radio, and Tap Music Project will travel to 30 countries from October 2023 through June 2024.
- In November 2023, the 2023 American Music Abroad Academy Cleveland will bring together young professional musicians from the Ukrainian diaspora and around the world for collaboration and mentorship opportunities from American instructors with a focus on cultural preservation through music. Learn more about AMA here.
Next Level to Use Hip Hop in Nigeria, Bring International Artists to the U.S. to Focus on Conflict Transformation
- In September 2023, four U.S. hip hop artists focusing on conflict transformation will travel to Lagos for a two-week Next Level Academy. In addition, 10 international participants will travel to Washington, D.C. and New York, New York for a two-week professional development program on conflict transformation through hip hop. Learn more about Next Level here.
Scaling Social Entrepreneurship Projects, Strengthening Creative Economy Through OneBeat
- From November 6-20, 2023, musicians from Ghana and Nigeria will come together to collaboratively create and discuss how music can bring people together through social entrepreneurship projects, as part of the OneBeat program. Learn more about OneBeat here.
Harmundi International Music Summit to Welcome Students from Every Continent in November 2023
- Virtually connecting more than 60 international students from every continent through music, the Harmundi Summit will provide intense music training, cross-cultural collaboration, studio recording, and live performances under the mentorship of world-class musicians and producers. The Summit, which will take place November 3-5, 2023, will be led by alumni of the Department’s exchanges, and is part of the Department’s Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund. This fund provides grants of up to $10,000 for public service projects that utilize the skills, knowledge, and networks exchange alumni gained through their exchange experiences.
To learn more about the Department’s music diplomacy efforts visit the Music Diplomacy website or contact ECA-Press@state.gov.