Quincy Jones Receives Inaugural U.S. State Department Peace Through Music Award

Quincy Jones was the recipient of the inaugural Peace through Music Award. Part of a new Global Music Diplomacy Initiative between the Recording Academy and the U.S. State Department, the award honors an American music industry professional, artist, or group “that has played an invaluable role in cross-cultural exchanges and whose music work advances peace and mutual understanding globally,” according to the State Department.

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The producer, songwriter, and composer was presented with the award during a special ceremony on Wednesday (September 28) held at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken—who is also a musician and has also released three singles on Spotify under the moniker ABlinken—and Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason, Jr.

The ceremony also featured performances by Dave Grohl, GAYLE, Jamie Barton, Mickey Guyton, Herbie Hancock, Christopher Jackson, LADAMA, Aimee Mann, Armani White, DJ 2-Tone, and Rakim, along with a video message from U2’s Bono

Jones first worked with the State Department in 1956 when he traveled on a state-sponsored tour of Europe, Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East with late jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie and his band as a trumpeter and music director.

[RELATED: 7 Songs You Didn’t Know Quincy Jones Wrote for Other Artists]

The Global Music Diplomacy Initiative was initiated by the PEACE (Promoting Peace, Education, and Cultural Exchange) Through Music Diplomacy Act, which was passed by Congress in December 2022. The PEACE Through Music Diplomacy Act was originally introduced in the House of Representatives by the 2022 Grammys on the Hill Honorees, Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas) and former Rep. Ted Deutch (Florida) in January 2022.

The Global Music Diplomacy Initiative features three key partnerships, including the American Music Mentorship Program, which will launch fall of 2024, along with music-focused efforts to promote English-language learning curriculums worldwide, and a Fulbright-Kennedy Center Visiting Scholar Award in Arts and Science.

“I’ve always had a deep love for music in part because it has the potential to connect cultures and tell the American story around the world,” said Blinken. “By launching this effort, we hope to expose a new generation of global audiences to what previous generations have found so compelling: our people and culture. We have no more powerful tools in our diplomatic toolkit, and I look forward to seeing and listening to the results of this initiative.”

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive

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