International Jazz Day: UN spotlights power of music to build ‘bridges of respect and understanding’

30 April 2015

The top United Nations cultural official said today that artists across the globe have been drawn to the spontaneity and freedom of expression of jazz for over a century, as musicians and music lovers the world over celebrate International Jazz Day.

“In essence, jazz is a music of peace, and this has never been so important, to fight against new forms of hatred, racism and discrimination and to strengthen humanity as a single community, sharing a past and a destiny, Said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in a message to mark the International Day today.

“Jazz means understanding others, letting them speak, listening with respect. Jazz means courage – it means standing up for freedom, in the spirit of solidarity,” she added.

Ms. Bokova said that in times of change and uncertainty, “we need the spirit of jazz more than ever before, to bring people – especially young women and men – together, to nurture freedom and dialogue, to create new bridges of respect and understanding, for greater tolerance and cooperation.

She said that on this International Jazz Day, women and men across the world are joining together to celebrate this power. This year, the event is woven into the celebration of UNESCO’s 70th anniversary, and the agency is putting out the message to people everywhere, from Paris to Sidney.

“With the support of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and jazz giant, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, live performances, jam sessions, workshops are being organized all around the world. Come join us!”


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