The International Jazz Day 2017 was observed across the world on 30 April 2017 with an aim to raise awareness in the international community of the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people. This year, musically vibrant and culturally rich city of Havana, Cuba was selected to serve as the 2017 Global Host City of the Day. The Day was attended by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue Herbie Hancock in Cuba.
Jazz breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance. Jazz is a vector of freedom of expression. Jazz is a symbol of unity and peace. Jazz reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities. Jazz fosters gender equality. Jazz reinforces the role youth play for social change. Jazz encourages artistic innovation, improvisation, new forms of expression, and inclusion of traditional music forms into new ones.
Jazz stimulates intercultural dialogue and empowers young people from marginalized societies. In November 2011, UNESCO officially designated 30 April as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. The first annual International Jazz Day was celebrated in Paris by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock.