Musical Bridges Around the World (MBAW) recently met with a number of high-ranking embassy officials and cultural attachés representing Brazil, India, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom as part of a City of San Antonio delegation to the Sister Cities International Diplomatic Gala in Washington, D.C.
Musical Bridges capitalized on the opportunity to nourish its growing relations with San Antonio Sister Cities and develop new relations where it can strengthen cultural ties. “Music resonates with everyone,” said Suhail Arastu, MBAW Director of Development. “It’s a great way to build bridges through the universal language of music and work towards world peace.”
Led by District 8 City Councilman Ron Nirenberg, the delegation also included Shahrzad Dowlatshahi, Chief of Protocol & Head of International Relations Office; Anya Grokhovski, MBAW Artistic Director and CEO; and Arastu.
“In our connected world, ideas and people cross national borders with frequency and ease, and music is often the powerful common denominator,” Nirenberg said. “MBAW is an invaluable program that helps San Antonio strengthen ties with its sister cities across the globe and reaffirms our deep international roots.”
With a unique international outlook, MBAW plans to liaise with embassies around the world to develop cultural exchange programs and share artists as part of both their programming outreach and International Music Festival. The Festival aims to put a creative spin on international news by highlighting the artistry and beauty which are often overlooked by traditional media.
“We want to continue to foster relationships with our sister cities and expand these relations to complimentary cities in other nations,” Arastu said.
MBAW has partnered with the San Antonio-Chennai Sister City organization, Anuja for city-wide Diwali, or Festival of Lights Celebration attracting upwards of 17,000 attendees. Arastu serves as the Arts & Culture Chair of Anuja SA and hopes to expand upon performing arts programming with other entities, building Musical Bridges within the Alamo City and with partners abroad.
Dowlatshahi added that the International Relations Office places great importance on building awareness about San Antonio amongst the Foreign Diplomatic Corps in the United States.
“Being able to promote San Antonio’s cultural, economic and educational assets to representatives of foreign government is always a good opportunity to raise our global profile,” she said. “At the same time, these new relationships serve to open doors that enable an organization such as MBAW to bring the world to San Antonio through their international musical programming.”
Grokhovski said MBAW was honored to join the City of San Antonio delegation as the organization prepares to lay the groundwork for its 20th anniversary in 2018, which coincides with the 300th anniversary of San Antonio.