UNESCO Director-General's Message

In times of change and uncertainty, we need the spirit of jazz more than ever before, to bring people –- especially young women and men – together, to nurture freedom and dialogue, to create new bridges of respect and understanding, for greater tolerance and cooperation.

Irina Bokova, Director-General
Message for International Jazz Day, 30 April 2015

Main Jazz Day events hosted by Paris, France

“Jazz is a universal language” says Director-General Irina Bokova at the International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert in Paris

Speaking to a packed auditorium at the Global Jazz Day concert in Paris, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said that jazz crosses all borders and links all generations. She recalled that UNESCO created International Jazz Day in 2011 to honor one of the most ground-breaking cultural expressions of the 20th century, music at its most creative, most free.

“Young women and men, today, need new tools of peace that speak to the heart. This is UNESCO’s role, to help them make the most of humanity’s great diversity, on the basis of human rights, on the basis of respect, to fight all forms of hatred and discrimination”, she stated. 

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated Ms. Bokova’s message by saying: “Jazz carries meaning for all societies, and crosses all borders; it brings people together, around shared aspirations for freedom, around common dreams of dignity and rights”.