We broke new musical ground with two innovative programs, CenterStage and OneBeat. CenterStage brings performing artists from Haiti, Indonesia and Pakistan to perform in 60 small and mid-sized cities, giving Main Street America a chance to experience international culture without stepping on a plane. Meanwhile, OneBeat brings 32 musicians from 21 countries -- including the United States -- to eight East Coast cities to collaborate and make new music together.
That tradition continues with this year's American Music Abroad, which will send twelve American musical groups to travel abroad to over 40 countries. These musical ambassadors perform and teach younger and underserved audiences in countries with limited access to American arts. The groups represent the full range of our rich musical heritage from hip-hop and bluegrass to country and jazz, to rock and even Hawaiian slack key guitar and hula!
Music diplomacy connects people around the world in a way that official diplomatic channels cannot. Our common interests, values, and passions open the door to individual conversations and broader connections between communities that are otherwise disparate. That's why, for over 60 years, the United States has sent American artists abroad to share their talent.
These programs are not just tours, but true cultural exchanges. They connect Americans to the citizens of dozens of countries and give international artists the chance to engage with communities across the United States. In every case, performers reach audiences onstage as well as offstage by hosting community gatherings, discussions, master classes, and workshops.
When you meet Americans, you meet American values, and what better way to introduce the world to us than through the universal language of music?