WASHINGTON (AFP) — US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday bestowed an award on jazz great Dave Brubeck for offering an American "vision of hope, opportunity and freedom" through his music.
Rice launched the Benjamin Franklin Awards for Public Diplomacy in January 2007 to recognize "the individuals, schools, foundations, associations and corporations" that help advance US ideals through public diplomacy.
Brubeck, a recipient in the individual category, gave a brief piano recital at a State Department awards ceremony in Washington presided over by Rice.
"I want to thank all of you because this honor is something that I never expected. Now I am going to play a cold piano with cold hands," Brubeck told the State Department audience.
The State Department said in a statement that "as a pianist, composer, cultural emissary and educator, Dave Brubeck's life's work exemplifies the best of America's cultural diplomacy."
In a seven-decade career, he has given thousands of concerts and devoted his energy to "introducing the language of jazz to new generations around the world," it said.
In 2000, the University of the Pacific founded the Brubeck Institute to build on the legacy of Brubeck, an alumnus along with his wife Iola.
It builds on his "lifelong dedication to music, creativity, education, and the advancement of important social issues including civil rights, environmental concerns, international relations, and social justice," it added.
"We recognize Dave Brubeck for offering a positive vision of hope, opportunity and freedom through a musical language that is truly American," it said.
The non-profit category award winner is Search for Common Ground, an international conflict resolution organization.
The academic category award winner is the University of Southern California, which in August 2003 established the USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School (CPD).
The corporate category award winner is Johnson & Johnson, the consumer and professional health care giant which is also the founding sponsor of Safe Kids Worldwide and provides grants and volunteers for many of its initiatives.
"Safe Kids Worldwide is a non-profit global network of organizations in 17 countries and on every continent whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury, a leading killer of children 14 and under," it said.
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