NEA Arts Magazine

Brubeck Receives Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy

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Chairman Gioa, Ann Hingston, Dave Brubeck, and Iola Brubeck smile for the camera

Chairman Gioia, NEA Director of Government Affairs Ann Guthrie Hingston, and Dave and Iola Brubeck at the Benjamin Franklin Awards for Public Diplomacy ceremony in April 2008. NEA file photo

On April 8, 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice honored NEA Jazz Master Dave Brubeck with one of the inaugural Benjamin Franklin Awards for Public Diplomacy, recognizing the pianist and composer for his civilian service to international cooperation. Brubeck’s participation in a State Department goodwill tour in 1958 launched him as a semiofficial jazz ambassador for the United States and resulted in repeated trips to Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Secretary Rice lauded Brubeck for his “patriotism, and [his] leadership in representing America by introducing the language, the sounds, and the spirit of jazz to new generations around the world.”