Designation ceremony of MS Judith Pisar as a UNESCO Special Envoy for Cultural Diplomacy
Ms Judith Pisar will be designated as a UNESCO Special Envoy for Cultural Diplomacy in recognition of her efforts to promote culture and art as vehicle of peace, sustainable development and inclusion, her dedication towards dialogue among people, and her commitment to the ideals and aims of the Organization.
Judith Pisar has devoted her career to building cultural bridges across the Atlantic. As President of Arts France-USA, an organization committed to cultural exchange between the two countries, she regularly produces concerts and festivals of American music in Paris – including tributes to Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Broadway, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
Prior to that, she served for 17 years as Chairman of the American Center of Paris, the avant-garde meeting place for French and American artists, which had been founded before World War II. In that capacity she selected Frank Gehry to design a new building in 1988 – one of his first in Europe – and asked the City of Paris to name the square on which it stands the Place Leonard Bernstein. Described by Philip Johnson as “America’s Cultural Czarina in Europe,” she has also served on the French Ministry of Culture’s Conseil Supérieur du Mécénat and as a founding signatory of the World Charter against Cancer – signed with President Jacques Chirac at the Elysée Palace in 2002.
Before marrying Samuel Pisar and moving to France, she served as Director of Music at the Brooklyn Academy, as Executive Director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and founded The Composer Speaks, a lecture bureau which brought some of the greatest composers of the 20th Century to cities and universities throughout the United States -- Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, John Cage, Luciano Berio and others.
She was educated at Vassar College, New York University and the Juilliard School of Music. She is an Officer of the French Legion of Honor and a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters
Her son, Antony Blinken, was U.S. Deputy Secretary of State during President Obama’s second term. She and her daughter, Leah Pisar, regularly narrate the libretto written by Samuel Pisar for Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony no. 3 “Kaddish,” with leading world orchestras.