Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for International Jazz Day, observe on 30 April:
Ten years ago, we launched the very first International Jazz Day in the United Nations General Assembly Hall at the initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz.
With every passing year, this has been a joyous celebration — not only of music, but also of freedom, diversity and human dignity. These are the values the United Nations works to protect and promote around the world.
Since its inception, jazz has built bridges. Its historic role in the struggle against racism and discrimination continues to unite cultures across the globe. Its rhythms and harmonies reflect the indomitable human spirit that can transcend the limits imposed by poverty and oppression. Its egalitarian emphasis on improvisation gives musicians the freedom to create as individuals while performing as part of a symbiotic community of sound. We can all share in the joy and challenge of this unique art form.
Today, amid a global pandemic, performers and workers dependent on the creative arts are suffering. It is important that we restore our vibrant societies as safely, equitably and quickly as possible.
On this Day, we are reminded how jazz can provide hope, healing and energy as we work to build a better and more peaceful world. For the past decade, UNESCO has proclaimed this Jazz Day message across the globe. On this tenth anniversary, let’s join again to celebrate the spirit and the values of jazz.