About the Author: Kristin Smith serves as a Regional Alumni Coordinator in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The U.S. Department of State has named Nestor Tedesco, an Argentine alumnus of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, as State Alumni Member of the Month. Tedesco was selected in recognition of his outstanding commitment to opening the doors of opportunity to Argentinean youth through music. His efforts enrich the lives of both Argentineans and Americans.
Tedesco came to the United States in 1999 to study cellist repertoire in Boston through the Fulbright Program. Since returning to Argentina, he has been a professional cello soloist in the renowned Buenos Aires Colon Theater and a professor of cello at the National Art Institute University.
In addition to the professional impact of his exchange experience, Tedesco was inspired by the commitment to community service that he observed in the United States. As a result, he worked to expand the music education project Zonas de Accion Prioritaria (ZAP) Program (Priority Action Zones Program), which now teaches some 2,000 children and teenagers in Argentina's poorest neighborhoods to play in 17 youth orchestras across the country. For many students, participation in one of Tedesco's youth orchestras is the impetus to seize new opportunities and avoid activities such as crime and drugs.
Since 2004, Tedesco also has trained music teachers across Argentina to start youth orchestras, thus multiplying the impact of his efforts. He has provided his students with professional and academic opportunities by organizing clinics led by American university music professors and by working with partners to offer university scholarships and international linkages. In 2008, Tedesco performed at the U.S. Embassy, with students in his Villa 31 orchestra, in honor of visiting American violinist Joshua Bell.
Tedesco notes that beyond the practical aspects of professional experience, international exchange participants “recognize different points of view in order to understand and employ them, we learn, and we learn how to learn in order to teach, and finally, we feel solidarity in the first person and discover that this is an essential element of human construction. I believe that all of this was encompassed in my Fulbright experience.”
Throughout January, Tedesco's leadership and promotion of community service will be recognized on the State Alumni website, https://alumni.state.gov, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' official website for the more than one million alumni who have participated in a Department-sponsored exchange program. Each month, the Bureau's Office of Alumni Affairs, which supports alumni as they build on their exchange experiences, confers the award on an outstanding alumnus or alumna. Learn more here.