Mission & Goals
Next Level is an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in association with the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Through hip hop music and dance, Next Level fosters cross-cultural creative expression and exchange in diverse and underserved communities. We work to promote understanding and conflict resolution in these audiences, and support the professional development of artists in those communities.
Next Level brings people together and encourages greater understanding through the universality of music as a form of creative self-expression. It also builds on the historic legacy of the Department of State’s Jazz Ambassadors, who first traveled the world in the 1950s to connect with people through music.
Next Level 1.0 (2014 – 2015) coordinated a series of three-week-long exchange programs in Bangladesh, Bosnia & Herzegovina/ Montenegro, India, Senegal, Serbia and Zimbabwe, and concluded with the Global Next Level residency, which brought artists from each of those countries to the U.S.
During the exchanges, teams of MCs, DJs, beat makers, and hip-hop dancers conduct public concerts, interactive performances with local musicians, lecture demonstrations, workshops, and jam sessions with diverse audiences.
Next Level activities focus on promoting conflict resolution and interacting with younger and underserved audiences in areas with little or no access to American hip-hop musicians. Next Level programs also focus on musical entrepreneurship, conducting workshops and discussions on global music business best practices today.
Next Level artist-educators are selected on the basis of artistic quality and commitment to education and cultural engagement through an open competition.
☛ We are now accepting applications for artist-educators for 2017-2018. Click here to find out more!
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, private-sector, professional, and sports exchange programs. These international exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and emerging leaders in many fields in the United States and in more than 160 countries. Alumni of ECA exchanges comprise over one million people around the world, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 320 current or former heads of state and government.
The mission of the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is to foster creative endeavor and critical inquiry in and through music. The UNC Department of Music serves the students of the University by promoting artistic expressiveness, cultural and historical understanding, and intellectual and technical mastery; it serves North Carolina and the world through scholarship, performance, pedagogy, and composition. Through service to these constituencies, the UNC Department of Music seeks to be a leader in musical studies and a model of a productive and engaged department. In sum, the contribution of the Department is to encourage students as well as members of the broader community to lead musical lives, whether as artists, scholars, and audiences.