UNESCO Invites Berklee Global Jazz Institute to Paris

Rob Hayes
April 25, 2012
The Berklee Global Jazz Institute Septet, performing at UNESCO World Headquarters on April 27, as part of the first International Jazz Day. From left: Isaac Haselkorn, drums; Zach Giberson, tenor saxophone; Caili O'Doherty, piano; Alex Hargreaves, violin; Sergio Martinez, percussion; Lihi Haruvi, alto and soprano saxophones; and Spencer Stewart, bass.

At the invitation of Herbie Hancock, the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador to Jazz, the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI) participated in the first celebration of International Jazz Day, which took place April 27– 30, in Paris, at UNESCO Headquarters; New Orleans, birthplace of jazz; and at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Some other participants included Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Hugh Masekela, BGJI faculty member Terri Lyne Carrington, and Antonio Hart, among other artists.

"The Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI) is looking forward to being part of such an important day for humanity. Global jazz has provided the cultural passport to the world to overcome distances between people," said Berklee Global Jazz Institute artistic director Danilo Pérez prior to the event.  "In our program, we encourage our students to be more active in the world, not just as a performers, but also as citizens, and this is exactly the message of the International Jazz Day."

On Friday, April 27, together with his mentor Wayne Shorter, Pérez presented a session for International Jazz Day participants on the topic "Global Jazz and Peace," live from New York City.

The Berklee Global Jazz Institute Septet performed on Friday, April 27 at UNESCO's Paris headquarters, in the Miró Rooms. Much of the Paris portion of International Jazz Day was streamed live on Paris's TSFJazz Radio.

The members of the BGJI Septet are: Lihi Haruvi, alto saxophone, (Israel); Zach Giberson, tenor saxophone (U.S); Alex Hargreaves, violin (U.S); Caili O'Doherty, piano (U.S); Sergio Martinez, percussion (Spain); Spencer Stewart, contrabass (U.S); and Isaac Haselkorn, drums (U.S).

Pérez performed at UN Headquarters in New York on April 30, as part of an evening concert that included Angelique Kidjo, Wynton Marsalis, Hugh Masekela, Shankar Mahadevan, and many others.

International Jazz Day is celebrated annually on April 30, which coincides with the celebration of April as Jazz Month in the U.S. UNESCO member states and partners (national commissions, associations, universities, relevant NGOs, schools, and institutes) were called upon to organize a series of activities ranging from workshops, round tables, cultural activities in schools, universities, and in public places, etc., as well as concerts. UNESCO and its field office network in all five continents will provide a platform for exchanges, publicizing, and promoting among its partners and its networks the activities organized in connection with the celebration.

The objectives of International Jazz Day are to encourage exchange and understanding between cultures and to employ these means for the purposes of mutual comprehension and tolerance; offer an additional and effective tool at an international, regional, sub-regional, and national level to foster intercultural dialogue and freedom of expression; raise public awareness on the role of jazz in spreading the universal values of UNESCO's mandate; promote intercultural dialogue towards eradication of racial tensions, foster gender equality and reinforce the role of youth for social change; recognize jazz as a universal language of freedom; promote social progress with a special focus on developing countries through the diffusion of jazz through new technologies and communications tools, such as Open Educational Resources (OER) and social networks; and contribute to UNESCO's initiatives that foster mutual understanding among cultures, with a focus on education of youth in marginalized communities.