Full Frame: Cultural ambassadors promoting peace and bridging divides

Full Frame

Jazz Pianist Herbie Hancock

This week’s Full Frame examines how cultural diplomacy can be one of the most effective tools in international relations, despite being often downplayed in favor of displays of hard power. Tune in to Full Frame on CCTV America at 8:00 pm EDT on June 21, 2014. Or watch the live stream of the program here.

Guests on this week’s program have traveled the world as cultural ambassadors and join host Mike Walter to reflect on the role culture plays in bringing people together to overcome adversity.

Field notes: Living legends educate the next generation of jazz musicians at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

“Through jazz, barriers are broken,” says living jazz legend, Herbie Hancock. In 2011, Hancock was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of intercultural dialogue, putting him on the world stage to spread messages of peace and unity. Hancock’s long time musical colleague, Wayne Shorter, describes Herbie as a musician that became a “statesman.”

Famous for his musical innovation, in hits like “Watermelon Man” and “Chameleon,” Herbie Hancock is not only a jazz icon, but, as the Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz., he is also a mentor to the next generation of jazz greats here in the United States.

In its dedication to preserving and promoting jazz, The Thelonious Monk Institute partnered with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in 2012. In this program, a highly select group of gifted young musicians have the opportunity to pursue their master of music in jazz while working alongside legends. Full Frame contributor, Sandra Hughes, visits the Herb Alpert School of Music to speak with this year’s graduating class. And perhaps Diego Urbano, who is a vibraphonist from Chile, said it best when he told Hughes, “It doesn’t get any better than this. It’s the biggest opportunity I’ll ever have.”

Students at the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz

Students at the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz

Newsmaker: Herbie Hancock embodies the spirit of jazz as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

He was a child prodigy at age 11, performing piano concertos with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Six decades later, he is recognized as a pioneer of modern jazz music and one of America’s most influential cultural ambassadors to the world. This is no surprise given his long and accomplished career is music. As the chairman of Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Hancock is also passing his insight onto the next generation of influential jazz musicians.

Herbie Hancock talks with Mike Walter

Herbie Hancock talks with Mike Walter

April 30th is now International Jazz Day thanks to Hancock’s efforts to foster dialogue among cultures by encouraging diversity and human dignity. The global event is reaching billions of people worldwide – this year the event had participation from every country on Earth.

Although jazz music is uniquely American, it “makes a profound difference in all of our lives,” says Hancock. Herbie Hancock joins Full Frame’s Mike Walter to share his insights on the role music can play in bringing people closer together.

Newsmaker: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar promotes global teamwork beyond the court as a cultural ambassador

Kareem Abdul Jabbar holds the National Basketball Association’s scoring record with an impressive 38,387 career points. For Kareem, it’s no longer about winning the game, but rather about applying the values he learned on the court to the next chapter in his life – and sharing those lessons with the world. A product of the cultural shift in 1960’s in Harlem and the first person in his family to earn a degree, Kareem has worked within his own community in Los Angeles – and in countries abroad – to spread messages of teamwork, conflict resolution, all while highlighting the importance of STEM – or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – education.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

After Hillary Rodham Clinton appointed him as an American Cultural Ambassador in 2012, Kareem went to Brazil to share American values of inclusivity. Kareem Abdul Jabbar joins Full Frame’s Mike Walter to discuss the role of sports in bridging cultural gaps and what he’s done as a cultural ambassador.

Essay: The Yin Yu Tang house (Hall of Plentiful Shelter) preserves Chinese culture

Re-erected in Salem, Massachusetts in 1997, Yin Yu Tang was originally built in the year 1800 in China’s southeastern Huizhou region. The Huizhou area was known for producing merchants, who were often sons and husbands who left their ancestral homes for employment opportunities in bigger cities. Thus, Yin Yu Tang sheltered the women and children of the Huang family. Today, the home serves as a Chinese cultural relic, preserving Chinese history and culture. It also serves as a platform for US-China cultural exchange.

Yin Yu Tang House

Yin Yu Tang House

Full Frame takes a tour of Yin Yu Tang this week to see how Chinese culture is being preserved on American soil.

Tune in to Full Frame on CCTV America at 8:00 pm EDT on June 21, 2014. Or watch the live stream of the program here.