Cultural Exchange Programs

The U.S. Government funds cultural exchange programs, which bring U.S. arts community leaders and academia to Zambia, to foster cross-cultural understanding and collaboration, and to demonstrate shared values and aspirations between the people of the United States and Zambia. Visiting U.S. experts conduct workshops, give performances, and mentor young people throughout Zambia.

Programs seek to connect with Zambians who might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with U.S. professionals.

For more information about our cultural exchange programs, please email us at: LusakaExchanges@state.gov.

The American Film Showcase (AFS) program brings award-winning contemporary U.S. documentary and independent narrative films to audiences around the world, offering a view of U.S. society and culture as seen by independent filmmakers. Funded by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and administered by the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), the Showcase highlights the value of film in fostering understanding and cooperation, dialogue and debate. The AFS films explore diverse topics including civil rights, disabilities, social justice, sports, freedom of the press, technology, and the environment.

U.S. Embassies organize film screenings, discussions, and workshops in all areas of production, writing, animation, and even distribution and independent financing.

The AFS program’s objectives are:

  • To provide opportunities for international audiences to become exposed to U.S. viewpoints on socially relevant issues explored in AFS films.
  • To spread an understanding of the role of film making as a catalyst for dialogue, exploring solutions to contemporary problems, and self-expression.
  • To encourage U.S. filmmakers and film experts to learn about life and culture in selected host countries.

In November, 2019
PAS Lusaka kicked off a weeklong American Film Showcase (AFS) program in Livingstone, Southern Province, with award-winning film expert Ben Herson.  During the program launch, Livingstone District Commissioner Harriet Kawina thanked the U.S. Embassy for organizing cultural exchange programs that build skills of young people.  Herson led a workshop for 25 filmmakers about storytelling, pitching, content development, and other areas of documentary filmmaking.  He encouraged participants to use film to share Zambian stories.

 In October, 2018
PAS organized an ECA-supported American Film Showcase program with award-winning filmmaker Amanda Lipitz to advance our education and youth empowerment goals.  Amanda attended a screening of her documentary film Step with 400 students at Ndola Girls Technical Secondary School in Copperbelt Province.  Meanwhile in Lusaka, more than 200 students gathered for a screening at Kamwala Secondary School.  After the screenings, Amanda participated in a lively question and answer session during which she encouraged the students always to “show up” if they wanted to achieve their goals.  The students shared how the film inspired them and how it applies to their own situations.  The school’s deputy head teacher requested a copy of the film to show junior and senior students at the beginning and end of each academic calendar.

For more information about the American Film Showcase, please contact: LusakaExchanges@state.gov.

American Music Abroad artists represent the new generation of musical ambassadors; reaching beyond concert halls to interact with other musicians and citizens around the globe.

Each year, approximately 10 ensembles are selected to embark on a month-long, multi-country tour, where they engage with international audiences through public concerts, interactive performances with local musicians, lectures and demonstrations, workshops, jam sessions, and media interviews.

American Music Abroad activities focus on younger and underserved audiences in countries where people have few opportunities to meet American performers and experience their music first-hand. AMA bands have traveled to more than 75 countries around the world since 2011.

American Music Abroad Program

In March, 2020
The U.S. Embassy presents Hot Buttered Rum for music outreach programs in March 2020.  Hot Buttered Rum, a souped-up, left-coast string band, is the brainchild of five uniquely gifted musicians who weave their love of bluegrass, folk, jazz and soul into a riveting strain of Americana.  String bass and five-alarm fiddle merge with guitar, banjo, mandolin and drums to frame the voices of its two contrasting writers, fueling a dance party with roots in Appalachia and its branches in California. It’s a sound that’s as tough to describe as it is easy to love.  Nearly twenty years into its journey, HBR’s music, dreamed up in the backcountry of the High Sierra and the basements of San Francisco, has found its way into the hearts, minds and bodies of fans nationwide.  The band continues to tour year-round in support of its many albums and social causes.  Don’t miss the chance to see them in Zambia in March 2020.

In May, 2018
The ECA-funded American Music Abroad program with bluegrass band Crow and the Canyon generated discussions about environmental conservation in Livingstone and Lusaka.  In Livingstone, Ambassador Foote kicked off a public concert with government officials and 300 youth where he called on them to protect, preserve, and harness natural resources. Ambassador Foote underlined how wildlife and environmental conservation are key to promoting economic development in Zambia.

The Arts Envoy Program shares the best of the U.S. arts community with the world to foster cross-cultural understanding and collaboration and to demonstrate shared values and aspirations.

American arts professionals– including performing artists, visual artists, poets, playwrights, theatrical and film directors, curators, and others– travel overseas to conduct workshops, give performances, and mentor young people. Programs seek to connect with international publics who might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with American arts professionals.

In September, 2019
Embassy Lusaka hosted Step Afrika!, the world’s first professional company dedicated to the dance style of “stepping,” for a series of public performances and workshops in Kabwe and Lusaka.  In support of Zambia’s anticipated achievement of HIV epidemic control targets by 2020, Public Affairs (PAS) Lusaka leveraged Step Afrika!’s unique program to amplify messaging to young audiences of their responsibility to get tested for HIV and receive treatment if necessary.  Working off the theme “Stepping Towards an AIDS-free Zambia,” the ECA Arts Envoy program offered an innovative model for an interagency, cultural/health initiative and a groundbreaking approach to public-private partnerships.  Step Afrika!’s intricate dance combinations with clapping, stomping, and spoken word energized over 5,000 Zambians about the important role they play in realizing HIV epidemic control and ultimately an AIDS-free Zambia.

In December, 2018
To raise awareness about the importance of proper waste disposal to fight the threat of cholera and other diseases, Public Affairs Section Lusaka brought Arts Envoy Vocal Trash, a band that makes music using metal trash cans, plastic barrels, water bottles, and other landfill items.  Ambassador Foote joined Vocal Trash and several popular Zambian performing artists to raise awareness about sanitation and recycling.  The campaign helped fulfill the Mission’s commitment to the Government of Zambia’s “Keep Zambia Clean, Green, and Healthy” campaign.  The improper handling and disposal of waste is a major problem in Zambia, as trash-clogged drainage pipes cause flooding and spread disease.  The Ambassador joined Vocal Trash and Zambian artists in two concerts to raise awareness of the problem of improper waste disposal.  Music flowed inside the two high-density housing compounds of Bauleni and Matero.  Over 1,500 young people attended two concerts that amplified the Zambian government campaign to “Keep Zambia Clean, Green, and Healthy.”  The Ambassador then led a clean-up action to remove tons of trash from local community streets and makeshift garbage dumpsites.  A group of local children, who play music on homemade instruments in the streets for donations, had the opportunity to learn from the Art Envoys and meet the Ambassador.  Local celebrity artists continued the momentum by collaborating with Vocal Trash and the children to perform a specially designed theme song live on local radio stations.

DanceMotion USASM sends American dance companies overseas to connect with audiences and communities through dance workshops, lecture demonstrations, public performances, and other arts education activities.

In 2016

The Brooklyn Academy of Music was selected through an open grant competition to implement season five of DanceMotion USA.  Participating companies embarked on four-week-long international performance and exchange tours.  In connection with the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and building on DanceMotion USA’s tradition of engaging with disabled groups, this year’s program empasized outreach to people with disabilities and promote disability awareness abroad.

This program included a two-week professional development program in the U.S. for five international dance company directors and lead dancers from the countries included in the tours.