Come one, come all! The circus is coming to the National Mall

As the Smithsonian Folklife Festival enters its 50th year, Washington D.C. will welcome a group of international circus performers onto the National Mall this summer. A craft rich in history and diversity, the circus arts represent an industry where creativity trumps cultural divide. This entertainment industry, has served as an arena of collaborative imagination where the collective goal is to create an awe-inspiring show for the audience.

A performer at the Turkmenistan Circus Arts exchange, facilitated by the Meridian International Center, shows off her aerial abilities at a workshop between seasoned performers and Turkmen youth.

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Life in Lagos, Part II

I’m home now, typing this in a coffee shop in my neighborhood, thinking about how different life is here. We take so much for granted and we could get by with much less. But a big difference in Lagos was that I didn’t wander much — most of my experiences were through the wheels of an automobile. Our daily commute gave me a fleeting window into the street life of Lagos. Each day was a long ride through layers of traffic-ridden roads with little yellow taxicabs — called kekes (pronounced Kaykay) — Piaggio-manufactured three wheeled covered motorcycles and yellow...

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Life in Lagos – Part I

My latest journey took me to Lagos, Nigeria, the most populous city in Africa, where I worked with a community to create a collaborative public mural for the facade of a police station in Ikeja. UR4Africa, a social enterprise dedicated to fostering creativity and unique African content amongst youth and young adults, hosted me during my two week stay in Nigeria. I met Shola, the organization’s founding director, and Abraham, one of her very valued mentor colleagues, at the airport. The organization was originally ‘United Reels for Africa’ as Shola is a filmmaker and the backbone of her mission...

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Jazz Diplomacy in Thailand and Around the World

April 30th marks International Jazz Day, the worldwide celebration of America’s original art form. Although the style originated in New Orleans, Louisiana, jazz’s combination of foreign styles and influences has made its music an international genre. Since its creation in the late 1800’s, jazz has evolved into a critically acclaimed and appreciated form of music across the world. Throughout jazz’s rich history, musicians and international diplomats alike have employed the genre for its use as a vehicle of international cultural diplomacy.
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Baseball Diplomacy: World Baseball Classic 2017

The Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy, with support from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, is curating an exhibition highlighting U.S.-Japan baseball diplomacy that will debut in June. Baseball is arguably the most popular sport in Japan – the island nation is home to the largest professional baseball league outside of MLB in the United States. While the FIFA World Cup continues to be the most-watched sports event in the world, and professional basketball maintains its popularity overseas, baseball, “America’s pastime,” has been left relatively in the dark with regards to its international recognition. After being cut as an Olympic...

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