UNESCO’s International Jazz Day Set For April

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The Bahamas National Commission for UNESCO held a press conference March 5 at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to announce plans for the 70th anniversary of UNESCO (2015). Pictured seated from left are Secretary-General UNESCO-Bahamas Dr. Leon Higgs; Ambassador H.E. Dr. Elwood Donaldson, and Robert Parua, officer-in-charge, UNESCO’s Kingston office. Committee members standing are from left S. Outten Alleyne, Pauline Adderley-Blenman, Athama Bowe, Deidre Bevans and Christian Justilien.

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),” said Dr. Leon Higgs, Secretary-General of UNESCO-Bahamas, who spoke on behalf of Minister of Education, Science and Technology the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald during a press conference to announce plans in observance of the anniversary.

UNESCO-Bahamas announced it will hold its 2nd annual UNESCO International Jazz Day scheduled for Thursday, April 30, in Pompey Square, downtown, Nassau. The opening session will be at 1:00 p.m. followed by continuous music from 2:00 to 10:00 p.m. A grand concert that evening begins at 6:00 p.m.

“This will mark UNESCO’s 4th International Jazz Day,” said Dr. Higgs.

This year’s event promises to be quite exciting, he added, as some of The Bahamas’ top musicians will be performing. Some of the performers are Ambasah, Paul & Tanya, Caribah, Kim Welcome, Brothers Love, Doc’s Melody Makers, Vice-Versa Duo and the Band Quartzz. The event is being promoted as a family event therefore all are welcomed. Admission is free.

Dr. Higgs said, once again, this year, a prominent Bahamian Jazz musician will be honoured at the opening ceremony. In order to cultivate an understanding of Jazz music in our young people, some of the musicians who will perform April 30 have also agreed to visit high schools and talk to students in the music departments about the history of Jazz in The Bahamas.

On Wednesday, April 29, some of the high schools will be presenting a concert from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at a venue to be announced.

Presented each year since 2012, on April 30, in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day encourages and highlights intercultural dialogue and understanding through jazz, uniting people in all corners of the globe. The celebration is recognized on the official calendars of both UNESCO and the United Nations.

“Jazz embodies the spirit of UNESCO,” said its Director-General, Irina Bokova. “It brings people together and builds peace, tolerance and understanding. It has been the soundtrack for positive change, from the fight against racism to the struggle for democracy,” said Dr. Higgs.

The designation of International Jazz Day is intended to bring together communities, schools and other groups the world over to celebrate and learn more about the art of jazz, its roots and its impact. Ultimately, it seeks to foster intercultural dialogue and raise public awareness about the role of jazz music in promoting the universal values of UNESCO’s mandate. As a language of freedom across the board, jazz promotes social inclusion — enhancing understanding, tolerance and nurturing creativity.

“Jazz is a universal language of peace and the aim of this day is to connect people across the globe with this language, observing and celebrating intercultural dialogue and understanding.” For more information about UNESCO’s International Jazz Day, visit www.jazzday.com or www.unesco.org/jazzday.