Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Jazz Day

30 April

As the great Nina Simone said, "Jazz is not just music, it is a way of life, it is a way of being, a way of thinking". The story of Jazz is written into the quest for human dignity, democracy and civil rights. It has given strength to the struggle against discrimination and racism. UNESCO believes in the power of Jazz as a force for peace, dialogue and mutual understanding and this is why in November 2011, the UNESCO General Conference proclaimed 30 April as "International Jazz Day".

This Day is intended to raise awareness of the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for empathy, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people. Many governments, civil society organizations, educational institutions, and private citizens currently engaged in the promotion of jazz music will embrace the opportunity to foster greater appreciation not only for the music but also for the contribution it can make to building more inclusive societies.

  • Jazz breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance;
  • Jazz is a vector of freedom of expression;
  • Jazz reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities;
  • Jazz encourages artistic innovation, improvisation, new forms of expression, and inclusion of traditional music forms into new ones;
  • Jazz stimulates intercultural dialogue and empowers young people from marginalized societies.


"Jazz is a flourishing of beauty born of oppression – the music of improvisation and collective creation. Freedom and openness lie at its core, allowing it to be embraced by cultures all over the world, enriched by each with their own musical history and particular notes. It gives voice to the struggles and aspirations of millions of people, and stands as an incredible symbol of free expression and human dignity. It is a universal language of peace at a time of increasing discord and division."

—  Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the International Jazz Day

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