International Jazz Day


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We celebrate International Jazz Day
on April 30.



Photo credit, from top to bottom: Konstantin Aal, Jens Thekkeveettil, Florencia Viadana.

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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How to get involved

International days are celebrations and calls to action. They are for everyone to participate in. This is how you can take part in an International Day in three simple steps.


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Why are International Days important? They provide unique opportunities to transmit UNESCO values to the world.


International days also provide a unique opportunity to engage citizens on global issues, to mobilise political will and resources to address these problems, but also to celebrate and reinforce the achievements of humanity as well as remember some of our darkest times as they guide us towards building a better world.

The United Nations International Days are for everyone, all around the globe. Because they are open, you can have an important role to play in them. NGOs, universities, schools, press and more will be putting together campaigns, events, and calls to action worldwide to provide further opportunities to engage, learn, and transmit the values and knowledge associated with each International Day. They serve as an important vehicle to connect the local to the international.

At their root, UN International Days contribute to the achievement of the purposes of the UN Charter and promote awareness of and action on important political, social, cultural, humanitarian or human rights issues. International days are at the heart of the United Nations Charter. They work to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as neighbours, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.

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