Can culture always be used as a tool for positive public diplomacy?

It’s a long way from Timbuktu to Lincoln Center, and not just geographically. For the musicians performing on Wednesday in the Festival au Désert as part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors series at the Damrosch Park Bandshell, the path from there to here has included an Islamist takeover of their Saharan homeland, followed by a religious war on music and then a French-led military intervention.