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Cultural Diplomacy To Tackle Today's Global Challenges

Johns Hopkins University - The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

Monday, May 8, 2017 at 4:30 PM (EDT)

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General Admission   more info Ended Free  
Media (including print, cameramen, photographers, etc.)   more info Ended Free  

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Event Details


Vali Nasr, Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies, and Fred Bronstein, Dean of the Peabody Institute, invite you to join world class violinist and UN Messenger of Peace Midori, and a distinguished panel, for a 360 degree reflection on how cultural diplomacy can help better address today’s most pressing global challenges.

Moderated by:
Kent E. Calder, PhD
Professor and Director of Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies

MIDORI is one of the most admired violinists of her generation. Beyond her performing and recording career, Midori has been recognized as a dedicated and gifted educator and an innovative community engagement activist throughout the US, Europe, Asia and the developing world. Among many honors she has received in recent years, she was named a Messenger of Peace by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and received the prestigious Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum in Davos. In 1992 Midori founded Midori & Friends, a non-profit organization in New York City that brings music education programs to underserved schoolchildren. Two other organizations, Music Sharing, based in Japan, and Partners in Performance, based in the U.S., also bring music closer to the lives of people who may not otherwise have involvement with the arts. Midori's commitment to community collaboration and outreach is further realized in her Orchestra Residencies Program, which involves week-long residencies with American youth orchestras.  Today, in addition to her performing and outreach activities, Midori serves as Distinguished Professor of Violin and holds the Jascha Heifetz Chair at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. She is also a Guest Professor at Japan’s Soai University and at Shanghai Conservatory and an Honorary Professor at the  Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music.

JEFFREY BREZ, in his capacity as Chief of NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events in the Department of Public Information, oversees relations with non-governmental organizations, the Messengers of Peace Programme, the Creative Community Outreach Initiative and Special Events.  His work in international humanitarian aid and development assistance has spanned more than a decade and covered a range of issues including children’s and women’s rights, refugee assistance, child soldiers, health, education, sustainable agriculture and food security, environmental sustainability, anticorruption and climate change.  His experience includes all aspects of strategic communications and campaign planning, social media, video and photography, development of knowledge products and events as well as global, multi-stakeholder policy consultation processes and relations with civil society. He has worked for four United Nations entities (IFAD, OCHA, UNICEF, and UNDP) and the World Bank Group, and been posted in Albania and Côte d’Ivoire.  Previously, he spent a decade working in television production, both in front of and behind the camera, on live and taped events, including numerous satellite broadcasts. He has lived on four continents and speaks English, French, Italian and Japanese fluently. He holds a Master of International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where he studied international economics and development.

ASHLEE GEORGE is the Executive Director of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP), a US-based foundation committed to investing in African youth to keep themselves safe from HIV/AIDS. Through an integrated strategy of responsive grant making and global advocacy, over 250,000 adolescents have received direct services through CTAOP-supported programs. As Executive Director of CTAOP, George is responsible for the organization’s strategic, programmatic, fundraising, and fiscal operations. In the 8 years that George has lead CTAOP, she has overseen dramatic growth of CTAOP, including increasing the foundation’s grant making, a number of grantees funded, communities served and youth engaged in CTAOP’s shared vision of achieving an HIV-free generation.  George’s career has focused on merging the entertainment industry with strategic philanthropy, working at both a global and grassroots level. George has been a part of Ms. Theron’s team for 12 years, and currently oversees all aspects of her philanthropic activities, including partnerships with UNAIDS and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as engagements through Ms. Theron’s position as a United Nations Messenger of Peace. George is committed to finding new ways to leverage the power and influence of entertainment to achieve lasting social change.  George received her MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management and has an undergraduate degree from UCLA in European studies with minors in Women’s Studies and LGBT Studies. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young children.

EVAN RYAN is executive vice president of Axios, a new media company delivering news and insights in politics, business, media, and tech. Ryan previously served under Secretary Kerry as assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, overseeing a wide range of exchange programs to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries and promote peaceful relations. From 2009 to 2013, Ryan worked in the White House as assistant to the Vice President and special assistant to the President for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement. In this role, she served as the vice president’s liaison to elected officials and constituency groups. She has worked with NGOs including Peace Players International, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict. Ryan started her career in the office of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. She graduated from Boston College, and she has a Masters in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


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