As the birthplace of jazz, the United States was proud to sponsor, in partnership with 31 UNESCO board members, the resolution adopted today by the Executive Board of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommending that the organization’s General Conference proclaim April 30 of each year as “International Jazz Day.” The resolution will be presented for adoption by the General Conference in November of this year.
Although its origins are in the United States, jazz has become an international art form, played and enjoyed across cultures, languages, and musical traditions. Jazz holds the continuing promise of bridging gaps between peoples, elevating our shared aspirations, and providing a common platform for our many and varied cultural traditions.
The United States has long recognized the unique power and resonance of jazz as a means of connecting people. More than 50 years ago, the Department of State launched a jazz diplomacy effort featuring American musical legend Dizzy Gillespie. In the subsequent decades, jazz has been a continuing feature of U.S. cultural engagement programs. That engagement was most recently underscored in July of this year by the appointment of jazz great Herbie Hancock as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.