Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, addressed the High Level Segment of the 22nd Session of the United Nations High Level Segment February 26. ” If we are to live up to the lofty ambition that the Human Rights Council by its nature represents, all our nations – working together, despite our different histories – must harness that same potential for progress, that same drive to ensure for all the universal human rights that are their birthrights,” assistant Secretary Brimmer said in her statement. “That is the standard by which we all must be judged, not just in this twenty-second Council session, but in future sessions and in the years to come.” Full text

Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer and Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake welcomed the delegation from India to the Department for today’s U.S.-India Joint Working Group on UN Peacekeeping Meetings today. 2/13/13. State Department Photo.

Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer and Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake welcomed the delegation from India to the Department for today’s U.S.-India Joint Working Group on UN Peacekeeping Meetings today. 2/13/13. State Department Photo.

Inside the State Department: UNGA Week with Assistant Secretary Brimmer

"I was so pleased today to have had the opportunity to welcome Brooke Loughrin, the first ever U.S. Youth Observer to the UN General Assembly.  I very much enjoyed our conversation and I am extremely grateful to our partners at the United Nations Association of the USA who helped make the U.S. Youth Observer program a reality."-Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer 

"I was so pleased today to have had the opportunity to welcome Brooke Loughrin, the first ever U.S. Youth Observer to the UN General Assembly.  I very much enjoyed our conversation and I am extremely grateful to our partners at the United Nations Association of the USA who helped make the U.S. Youth Observer program a reality."
-Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer 

Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer responds to your questions in a live Facebook chat on U.S. priorities at the 67th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 21, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer responds to your questions in a live Facebook chat on U.S. priorities at the 67th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 21, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs addressed the United Nations Association’s Annual Conference at the US Department of State on June 11, 2012. Full Text

y Today, Assistant Secretary Brimmer will meet with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia in Washington

         In 2003, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1509, establishing the UN Mission in Liberia. More about #UNMIL: http://ow.ly/brQ8P

Assistant Secretary Brimmer Lena Seikaly Howard University’s Afro Blue

On April 22, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer, the Smithsonian Institution’s Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture Richard Kurin, and Interim Director of the National Museum of American History Marc Pachter hosted Embassy Jazz Day: Crossing Borders, Bridging Cultures. This special collaboration celebrated the American origins of jazz and its continuing appeal to people across the globe, in the context of Jazz Appreciation Month (April) and the inaugural International Jazz Day (April 30).

The program featured performances by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Howard University’s Afro Blue, vocalist Lena Seikaly, and Latin jazz artist Felix Contreras. The program also included a panel discussion on the continuing relevance of jazz.

For more information about Jazz Appreciation Month, please visit www.smithsonianjazz.org.

For more information about International Jazz Day, including upcoming celebrations in Paris, New York, and New Orleans, please visit UNESCO’s Jazz Day webpage.

All That Jazz


Performance at the Embassy Jazz Day, Bridging Cultures Crossing Divides, co-hosted by the U.S. Department of State and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, in Washington, D.C., on April 22, 2012. [Smithsonian Institution photo by Harold Dorwin]

By Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.

On an unseasonably cold and rainy Sunday, the action inside the Smithsonian’s new Warner Bros Theatre was anything but dreary. The afternoon’s celebration of jazz featured a roundtable discussion with jazz experts followed by musical performances before a crowd of diplomats and other invited guests.

I was thrilled to co-host our inaugural Embassy Jazz Day, Bridging Cultures Crossing Divides, with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History this past weekend. This occasion provided the opportunity to mark the role jazz plays in creating linkages between peoples, communities, and cultures while also enabling the next generation of jazz innovators to perform including Howard University’s Afro Blue and Lena Seikaly. This event also represented a first: a partnership between the Bureau of International Organizations Affairs and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

Jazz historian, NPR producer, and event moderator, Walter Watson, asked panelists to reflect upon the music genre’s influence upon the world. One of the Smithsonian’s jazz experts John Hasse relayed several first hand stories of the dramatic impact that jazz has played throughout the world. In South Africa, where Hasse spoke to a group of young musicians and then played Louis Armstrong for them, he was told the music changed their lives. And in Poland where a young boy, now a jazz musician, clung to jazz as an outlet for expression under the repression of the Iron Curtain. He defied silence by listening to black market recordings during the Cold War. And finally, Hasse spoke of the remarkable story of the son of a Turkish diplomat in the 1930s who used jazz to integrate a racially divided city by holding private jam sessions at the Turkish Embassy and inviting black and white musicians to jam together.

The genesis of Embassy Jazz Day began more 50 years ago after the Department of State launched jazz diplomacy, featuring international tours by American musical legends such as Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie introducing the world to jazz. It fueled an explosion in interest in American music and culture.

Now jazz has reached new diplomatic heights, punctuated by UNESCO’s appointment of music legend Herbie Hancock as a Goodwill Ambassador. Hancock helped to garner support for UNESCO’s International Jazz Day, which will be marked with celebrations and musical events in many corners of the globe on April 30. 

For more information about the Smithsonian’s Jazz Appreciation Month, please visitwww.smithsonianjazz.org. For more information about International Jazz Day, including upcoming celebrations in Paris, New York, and New Orleans, please visit UNESCO’s Jazz Day webpage. And, you can view an archived version of Sunday’s event here.

Join a Discussion on Bridging Divides: Youth, Peace, and Reconciliation

Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs, will hold a conversation with Forest Whitaker, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation, on

On Wednesday, October 26, 2011, Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, will hold a conversation with Forest Whitaker, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation, on “Bridging Divides: Youth, Peace, and Reconciliation.” The discussion will be moderated by Cheryl Benton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, and streamed live on DipNote, the Department of State’s official blog, at 2:00 p.m. (EDT).

You are invited to participate by submitting questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast. Submit your questions below in the comments section of this entry.

Actor Forest Whitaker is best known for his roles in films ranging from Fast Times at Ridgemont High to Bird. Whitaker won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan leader Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. He spearheaded the documentaries Better Angels, a film about Ugandan child soldiers, as well as Common Destiny about the power of education in promoting peace and reconciliation between communities. Mr. Whitaker’s humanitarian and artistic work earned him the UNESCO designation of Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation.

Through “Conversations With America,” leaders of national nongovernmental organizations have the opportunity to discuss foreign policy and global issues with senior State Department officials. These conversations aim to provide candid views of the ways in which leaders from the foreign affairs community are engaging the Department on pressing foreign policy issues.

note: loading more posts will reset any filters applied
More