Hip-hop DJs, MCs, beatmakers and dancers from around the world descended on a hotel conference room in Washington, D.C., this spring to learn how to turn their high-energy musical art into tools for empowerment, entrepreneurship and conflict resolution. The program is called Next Level, which teaches “hip-hop diplomacy” and is sponsored by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the University of North Carolina’s music department. 

Receiving the Outstanding Contribution to Photography award this year are Chinese-Japanese artist couple RongRong & inri, who are based between Beijing and Kyoto, straddling two dynamic contemporary photography scenes.

Art and politics have always been used together, and Benin-born artist Meschack Gaba is no different. He's been using his art to air his own political and social comments.

“Diplomacy and the Arts, Then and Now,” brought focus to the importance of government-sponsored tours by performers in international relations on Thursday. The seminar was sponsored by the Department of Romance Studies and the program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies Dorothy Ford Wiley fund.


North Korea today is known as the world’s most isolationist nation, an obdurate outpost of totalitarianism. [...] But the public spaces of Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya and elsewhere are dotted with reminders of a long-running  often surreal charm offensive that was waged by the North as part of the Korean peninsula’s own Cold War. Since 1969, Pyongyang’s Mansudae Art Studio has exported statues and other monuments to at least 16 African countries.

Stories about art, music and theater were a key theme in this week’s PD News roundup.