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.

Keri Chryst – vocals
Keri Elena Chryst was born in Iowa City – the heart of America’s Midwest. Singing has always been an integral part of her life getting her start in such renowned groups as the Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus and the children’s theatre troupe Kids On Broadway also in Cleveland.

In the beginning, music is largely a family affair – whether turning pages for her grandmother on the church organ bench or making her jazz début in front of her grandfather’s Cleveland area big band The Phil Nelson Orchestra at age 16.

With her first piano lessons at age 6, Keri proceeds to rack up recognition in the arts at both local and state level in musical comedies, choir and orchestra (where she’s given the tough choice between 1st chair flute or 2nd chair Sousaphone).

Age 6 also marks the start of her romance with France and the French language, when she visits Paris for the first time with her family. She can’t say whether it’s the view from Eiffel tower, or the crêpe au sucre et aux noix sampled at the foot of the Moulin Rouge, but from then on it’s “But mommy, why can’t I start learning French NOW?!”

It’s therefore no surprise when Keri enters Northwestern University in 1992 for Classical Voice and French Studies. It’s there she’s seduced by the complexities she discovers in jazz harmony and rhythm —and ever determined to rise to new challenges, she switches course mid-stream to study her new found love – jazz!

While at Northwestern she’s graced with opportunities to study and perform with jazz legends Max Roach, Sheila Jordan, Bobby McFerrin, Darmon Meader, Don Shelton and Danilo Perez. She also takes advantage of a yearlong study abroad program where she avidly soaks up all that the Parisian jazz scene has to offer.

In 1997 Keri Chryst becomes the first vocalist in Northwestern’s history to graduate with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies which she completes in parallel with a Bachelor of Arts in French Studies. A year later, she adds a Masters in Jazz Pedagogy, also from Northwestern.

In the years that follow she continues to hone her skills through in-depth study of recordings of her favorite jazz masters. Her idol Ella Fitzgerald reigns alongside the famous trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, a capella sextet Take 6, and the great jazz composers Wynton Marsalis, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington.

In 2001, Keri finally takes the big leap across the pond to make her life in “Gay Pa-ree” and pursue her other great love – French culture. She’s soon heard performing in Parisian jazz hot spots – Le Petit Journal Montparnasse, The Méridien’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Club, Café Universel, and most memorably New Morning where she has the privilege of playing with James Brown’s long-time trombonist, Mr. Fred Wesley. Festival appearances include Jazz at Maisons-Laffitte with the Black Label Swingtet in 2010 and Paris’ Jazz Pas Grave Festival with her own quartet in 2011.

But Ms. Chryst didn’t study pedagogy for nothing! In 2003, her passion for passing on knowledge and experience to others leads her to create a successful Vocal Jazz curriculum entirely from scratch for the American School of Modern Music (former Berklee affiliate) and to authoring a complete array of auxiliary workshops and courses for her own Jazz Vocal Academy International, which allows students to develop into fully rounded musicians, as well as happy and healthy singers.

In 2010, Keri chooses to leave the American School to dedicate her energies to uniting her two vocations – chanteuse and pedagogue – under one platform through the creation of several new lecture-concert series, such as The French Connection for which she teams up with French pianist Philippe Petit.

This bold decision receives its first blessing when, no less than 2 weeks later, she gets the phone call which eventually leads to a dream tour – 5 African countries in 6 months – on behalf of the U.S. Embassy’s Africa Regional Services office in Paris.

Throughout the course of these tours in 2011 and 2012 – through Swaziland, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Togo and Cameroon – Keri definitively confirms her calling through a series of successful public and private concerts, collaborations, workshops, conferences and masterclasses which she puts on with the help of her new partner, guitarist Jumpin’ Jeff Hoffman. Together they form a formidable team that fully deserves their new title as Cultural Ambassadors of International Renown.

A consummate musician in any situation, Keri’s “lighter than caramel” voice and her authentic “in the pocket” swing continue to charm audiences the world over. We invite you to keep an ear out for the release of her first solo album, The French Connection (2012), as she continues to spread her classic swing style around Europe, the U.S. and the International music scene.

Jeff Hoffman – guitar
“Jumpin’” Jeff Hoffman was born in Chicago, which seems to have left a passion for blues in his blood.

He picked up his first guitar at age 10, while growing up in Los Angeles. In these younger days, he has the privilege of studying with guitar giants Joe Pass and John Scofield.

In his college days, he slings his guitar on his back and travels throughout South America, spending just enough at the University of Sao Paolo to master Brazilian Jazz guitar styles.

Once back in the USA he spends several years in San Francisco performing and recording with artists such as Dave Garibaldi (Tower of Power), Marcos Silva (Flora Purim and Airto), Chalo Eduardo (Sergio Mendez), Claudia Gomez, Mike Spiro, and Paul Contos. Highlights of his stint in New York include a regular gig at the Brecker Brothers’ legendary club 7th Ave. South.

In 1989, Jeff ends up in Paris where his authentic American sound is immediately recognized, and he starts sharing the stage with artists such as Big Dez, Ron Baker, Sophia Nelson, Malou Bouvoir, Wendy Taylor, Manda Djinn, Sylvia Howard, Stéphane Patry, Hervé Mischinet, Larry Brown, Keri Chryst, Chris Cody, Ron Meza, Paddy Sherlock, to name only a few. His classic sound has been heard at all the major Parisian Jazz venues – The Lionel Hampton Club at the Méridien Hotel, Caveau des Oubliettes, The Divan du Monde, The Duc des Lombards, New Morning, The Bilboquet – as well as the usual festivals.

In 2002 he co-founds the group Boogaloo Baby – with Philippe Combelle, Philippe Petit and Jean-Jacques Elangué – which enjoys considerable critical acclaim. Evoking the style of the great Hammond organ based groups of the 60’s, Boogaloo Baby is responsible for the French renaissance of this most funky of jazz styles. On this project, you can hear the influence of guitar greats Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and George Benson all over Jeff’s playing.

More recently Jeff performs regularly with the Italian organist Oscar Marchioni, and in the R&B and pop oriented group Intrigo fronted by the Italian singing phenomenon Kicca Andriollo, recently signed to Universal Music.

For the past several years he has been the master of ceremonies of the now legendary jazz jam sessions at the Caveau des Oubliettes in the Latin Quarter. He considers it his mission in life to demonstrate – in a city where jazz has a reputation for being intellectual, academic, and inaccessible – that jazz also has a funky and side that grooves. He is often found at that same bar at the Sunday blues jams, cranking up his amp and burning on some shuffles.

In 2010 after many years of mainly performing jazz based music, Jeff returns to his blues roots with his new project, Jumpin’ Jeff’s Big Band Blues All-stars. Showcasing his own compositions and arrangements, he harnesses elements of jazz and big band, while invoking an earlier style when jazz and blues were much closer to each other than they are today – at its core the music is slamming, burning, hard core blues, just like it used to be.

In 2011 Jeff gets the call to join singer Keri Chryst on a 5-country tour of the African continent – this time it’s the Embassy from his native United States of America who are giving him the green light to take his own roots back to their original roots on the Dark Continent. Now an official Cultural Ambassador, he can add to his list a few more exotic locations such as Swaziland, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Togo and Cameroon.

Eclectic, and always authentic – Jeff reconciles his diverse roots mixing the fat sound of classic big band (Count Basie, Duke Ellington) with the electric guitar blasting hardcore Chicago blues. There’s always something to satisfy the tastes of both jazz and blues lovers alike. Add a little funk and soul and the recipe is explosive!

America Days in Livingstone

Event Name:  America Days in Livingstone–Music Performance by U.S. rock folk band Natalia Zukerman.

Location:  Livingstone Institute of Business and Engineering Studies (LIBES), Livingstone, Zambia.

Date/Time: February 14, 2017, 16:00–19:00.

Description:  Join U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz for a musical performance by U.S. rock folk band Natalia Zukerman who will engage Zambian audiences about themes including girls’ empowerment and resilience. This free and open to the public musical performance is part of our America Days programs to towns outside of Lusaka. For a sample of the band’s music, please go to: http://amvoices.org/ama/ensembles2016/nataliazukerman/.

The goal of America Days is to bring Americans together with Zambians through cultural exchange, such as musical programs and film screenings, so that our two countries can dialogue and collaborate on issues of mutual concern. America Days activities will also provide opportunities for Zambians to learn about U.S. educational and professional exchange programs, and about U.S.-Zambia cooperation in fields such as health, education, economic development, and other areas.

Be on the lookout for future America Days events in Chipata and the Copperbelt!

America Days in Kasama –Screening of U.S. Film “Big Dream”

Event Name:  America Days in Kasama –Screening of U.S. Film “Big Dream”

Location:  Kasama College of Education, Kasama, Zambia

Date/Time: October 26, 2016, 16:30 – 19:00 (please be seated by 16:30)

Description:  Join American Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz to watch and discuss the U.S. film “Big Dream” about young women around the world working in technology fields.  This free and open to the public film screening event is part of our America Days visits to towns outside of Lusaka.  For a synopsis of the film, please visit the American Film Showcase website here:  http://americanfilmshowcase.com/big-dream/.

The goal of America Days is to bring Americans together with Zambians through cultural exchange, such as film screenings and musical programs, so that our two countries can dialogue and collaborate on issues of mutual concern.  America Days programs will also be opportunities for Zambians to learn more about U.S. educational and professional exchange opportunities, and about U.S.-Zambia cooperation in fields such as combatting HIV/AIDS and other health matters, education, agriculture, and other areas.

Be on the lookout for future America Days events in Chipata, Livingstone, and the Copperbelt!

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 June, 2016
Film expert Kristine Samuelson led a hands-on workshop in the skills required for making documentary films. About 20 participants from across the country travelled to Lusaka to participate in the workshop where they conducted the following activities:

  • Learned about Storytelling, Developing Documentary Projects, Producing, Directing, Writing, Preproduction Planning, Production, Cinematography Techniques, Sound Recording, Editing, and Distribution;
  • Reviewed examples of a variety of documentary work and engage in class discussions;
  • Acquired hands-on experience in documentary production working with a small team of classmates to craft a short film during the workshop; and
  • Produced 5-minute documentaries which will be aired at the upcoming Lusaka Short Film Festival.

In October, 2016
American Filmmaker Kelly Cox will conduct multiple screenings of her film “Big Dream” which follows young women pursuing their big dream in the fields of science & technology. The screenings will take place students and youth in Kasama, Ndola and Kitwe.

Big Dream follows the intimate stories of seven young women who are breaking barriers and overcoming personal challenges to follow their passions in science, math, computing & engineering. From small town Iowa to the bustling streets of the Middle East, Big Dream immerses viewers in a world designed by and for the inspiring next generation of girls. Big Dream shows the struggles of these seven young women, in their own words, through video diaries and verité moments, and the self-confidence and dedication it takes for them to persevere to reach their goal. Each of these girls defy the stereotype of what it means to be an over achieving woman in any field and are wonderful role models for girls all over the world who never before had a chance to see girls just like them who will stop at nothing to achieve their Big Dream.

KELLY COX – Visiting Filmmaker
Co-founder of production company Iron Way Films, Kelly Cox has produced and directed digital series for Fortune 500 companies since 2006. She created, hosts, and directs Original Fare a food adventure series where she attempts to hunt, forage, and farm her way across the globe in search of the best ingredients our planet has to offer currently airing on PBS Food and slated to distribute internationally. She made her feature directorial debut with Big Dream. Kelly was previously selected as one of Interview magazine’s “Top 50 Under 30 To Watch” and Glamour Magazine’s “50 Women Doing Great Green Things.” She’s been a speaker at South by Southwest, Arts Presenters, Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Entrepreneurial Network, SXSW, and BlogHer Food.

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.

In 2014
The U.S. Embassy invited American vocal performing artist and Grammy Award nominee Mr. Wintley Phipps to Zambia for a series of musical presentations, music master classes and workshops. This program was part of public outreach initiatives that the U.S. Embassy launched in collaboration with the National Arts Council of Zambia to commemorate 50 years of U.S.‐ Zambia partnership, and celebrate both the 50 year anniversary of the of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Zambia’s 50 years of independence.

In 2015
The U.S. Embassy hosted American bluegrass band Henhouse Prowlers for a series of music presentations, master classes, jam sessions and workshops with various audiences including music teachers, students and musicians.

This cultural exchange program in collaboration with the National Arts Council and the Zambia Association of Musicians communicated America’s music contributions and diverse culture to Zambian audiences. Visiting American performers also had an opportunity to learn from Zambian music students and performers.

In 2017
The U.S. Embassy will welcome to Zambia Natalia Zuckerman, an all-female folk-rock trio, who will share their musical talents with women and youth audiences.

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.

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.