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Cablegate: Damascus Requests Participation in the Rhythm Road American

VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0656 2611414
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 171414Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5374
INFO RUCNNAF/NORTH AF NEA AND SOUTH ASIAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000656

DEPARTMENT FOR ECA/PE/C/CU; NEA/PPD (Qiana Bradford, Pen Agnew); R;
NEA/ELA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO SY XF OEXC SCUL
SUBJECT: DAMASCUS REQUESTS PARTICIPATION IN THE RHYTHM ROAD AMERICAN
MUSIC ABROAD PROGRAM'S NEW SEASON

REF: STATE 090853

1. (U) SUMMARY: Embassy Damascus requests participation in the
Rhythm Road American Music Abroad Program during February-May 2009.
A program of "urban music" will help Post reach out to youth in a
country where over 50 percent of the population is under 20 and
Western hip hop receives wide play. Through this program, Post will
foster connections with youth alumni of exchange programs (ACCESS,
PLUS, YES, MEPI), and hard-to-reach university students, as well as
broaden Post's contacts in Syria's music and arts scene. END
SUMMARY.

----------------
PROGRAM OVERVIEW
----------------

2. (U) A three-day program in Syria for American hip hop performers
would include all or some of the following activities:

- Public concert performance, Damascus
- Club performance, Damascus
- Workshop/performance for students, Damascus
- Special event for young Department of State exchange program
alumni
- Radio interviews/performances, Damascus
- Workshops with students and teachers at the Higher Institute of
Music, Damascus
- Public concert performance, Homs
- Workshop/performance for students of the Music Education Faculty,
Al-Ba'ath University, Homs

3. (U) Any group that travels to Syria should be prepared to act as
educators as well as performers. The group should be able to talk
with youth audiences about the history of hip hop, its social
significance, and its musicality. They should be prepared to answer
the two questions: What makes hip hop unique? What makes it uniquely
American?

-----------------------------------
DAMASCUS MSP GOAL: PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE
-----------------------------------

4. (U) A program of hip hop music or similar will help Post to
reach out to a younger and larger audience than traditional music
programming. This supports the MSP goal of mutual understanding and
nurturing strong people-to-people contacts and relationships,
especially with the successor generation.

------------------------------
TIMING, LOGISTICS, AND FUNDING
------------------------------

5. (U) Post requests a program for four or five days, plus two
travel days, during February-May 2009, excluding the weeks of March
8-12 and April 19-23.

6. (U) Post will provide in-country transportation and per diem and
cover any staging costs for performances, possibly with support from
local sponsors.

7. (U) Post will be pleased to share a tour of American hip hop
performers with other Posts in the region.

CONNELLY

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