Dave Brubeck Receives the Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy

On April 8, 2008 at the U.S. Department of State, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice honored the recipients of the inaugural Benjamin Franklin Awards for Public Diplomacy. The awardees were chosen for their outstanding leadership in advancing America's ideals through public diplomacy by offering a positive vision of hope and opportunity rooted in America's belief in freedom, justice, opportunity and respect for all.

The Award

The creation of the Benjamin Franklin Awards for Public Diplomacy was announced by Secretary of State Rice in January 2007 at the Private Sector Summit on Public Diplomacy to recognize that all sectors of American society - individuals, schools, foundations, associations, and corporations - actively contribute to advancing America's ideals through public diplomacy. The awards highlight that solutions to the challenges of the 21st century will come from these sectors working together to empower, educate, and inspire key audiences such as women, youth, and educators; and to engage with under-served communities and grassroots organizations both in the United States and abroad.

This new award program is the most prestigious honor that the Department of State can bestow on American citizens who are making outstanding contributions to public diplomacy. The awards were presented in four categories: individuals, corporations, academic institutions, and not-for-profit organizations.

Individual Category Award Winner: Dave Brubeck

As a pianist, composer, cultural emissary and educator, Dave Brubeck's life's work exemplifies the best of America's cultural diplomacy. Declared a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress, his career has spanned seven decades, giving thousands of concerts and devoting countless hours to introducing the language of jazz to new generations around the world. In 2000, the University of the Pacific founded the Brubeck Institute to honor two of its most famous alumni, Dave and his wife Iola. The mission of the Institute is to build on Dave Brubeck's legacy and his lifelong dedication to music, creativity, education, and the advancement of important social issues including civil rights, environmental concerns, international relations, and social justice. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dave Brubeck's first tour for the Department of State. We recognize Dave Brubeck for offering a positive vision of hope, opportunity and freedom through a musical language that is truly American.

Winners in other categories include the following:

- Non-Profit Organization: Search for Common Ground
- Academic Institution: University of Southern California
- Corporation: Johnson & Johnson

The Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy is managed by the Office of Private Sector Outreach for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, which was established in 2005 to engage U.S. businesses, universities, foundations, and private citizens in the critical work of public diplomacy. To nominate a candidate for the Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy or to discuss potential partnerships, email us at diplomacyupdate@state.gov.