WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — Today, the U.S. Department of State announced it will raise the curtain June 19 on its groundbreaking cultural diplomacy initiative, Center Stage(SM), which brings performing artists from Haiti, Indonesia, and Pakistan to the United States to engage American audiences in 60 medium- and small-sized towns and cities.

On June 19, Center Stage artists will launch their month-long international exchange at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Millennium Stage, which brings the performing arts from around the world to Main Street America. This concert is free and open to the public.

The first wave of performing artists will include two music groups from Pakistan. Singer-songwriter Arieb Azhar and the rock band noori will travel to the United States and participate in a range of activities, such as performances, workshops, discussions, artist-to-artist exchanges, and community gatherings. For a full list of artists and performance dates, click here: .

Center StageSM builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power,” which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, in this case the performing arts, to bring people together and foster greater understanding.

Center StageSM is a public diplomacy initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts in cooperation with the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, and with support from the Asian Cultural Council, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. General management is provided by Lisa Booth Management, Inc.