Photographic Exhibition of America's Jazz Ambassadors

Jam Session: America's Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World, a groundbreaking photographic exhibition organized and circulated by Meridian International Center in Washington, DC, will be on display in the Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building between Tuesday, January 6 and Friday, January 23, 2009.

Jam Session chronicles one of America's most successful cultural diplomacy programs. Under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and others served as cultural diplomats between the 1950s and the 1970s, transcending national boundaries, and making friends for our country.

Nearly 30 compelling images of musicians visiting countries across four continents provide a unique insight into this successful diplomatic initiative. Millions of people experienced concerts and thrilled to the many styles and variations of the remarkable American art form called Jazz. The exhibit is curated by Dr. Curtis Sandberg, Meridian International Center's Vice President for the Arts, together with Professor Penny M. Von Eschen, an expert in the history of jazz diplomacy and author of Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War.

This exhibit will visit museums and cultural institutions around the United States through 2011. A second series of Jam Session exhibitions will travel the globe in a partnership between Meridian and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State between 2009 and 2012.

The images included in Jam Session beautifully capture the tempo and intimacy of the Jazz Ambassadors' tours on behalf of United States - and inspire us to consider new ways of sharing the best of America's culture with people abroad.

Meridian International Center, led by Ambassador Stuart Holliday, is a non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to public diplomacy. Meridian promotes international understanding through the exchange of people, ideas and the arts through a combination of professional exchanges, international conferences, cultural diplomacy and education programs. Proven through almost 50 years of experience, Meridian is the place where the world comes together.

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