JMI Highlight 2023: Global Music Conference for Youth Marks a Milestone in EU - Africa Collaboration

JM International together with the European Union and Music Crossroads brought the 78th JMI Global Conference to Harare, marking an important milestone in international cooperation to empower youth worldwide.

  • 5 months ago

From September 18 to 22, 2023, Jeunesses Musicales International (JMI), in collaboration with Music Crossroads (Malawi, Mozambique & Zimbabwe), hosted the 78th JMI Global Music Conference in Harare, Zimbabwe. The JMI Global is the annual coming together of the youth-music movement that is Jeunessees Musicales. It brought together 100+ international delegates from over 50 countries, marking an important milestone between the JMI, EU and our African partners, strengthening ties and fostering collaboration around music initiatives for youth.



As part of the EU’s European Networks action, the conference built on a process of collaboration around internationalisation that began with the Cyprus Culture Summit: Music 2022 in Limassol, where EACEA and JMI board met together with international stakeholders to leverage the power of music to inspire innovative thinking, foster global connections, and facilitate cross-cultural knowledge sharing, all while advancing global, diverse, and resilient cultural practices, empowering youth worldwide, and contributing to the EU’s vision for a modern, dynamic, and inclusive music industry.


For the first time in 78 years, the JMI Global was brought to Harare, Zimbabwe; made possible through the support of the European Union, together with the EU’s delegation to Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwean National Arts Council. It explored measures taken by the international music community to create more resilient and sustainable cultural movements that foster the empowerment and development of youth and children through music, bringing together leading international creative professionals and key local stakeholders to shine a light on the African music sector and dive into what can be done to empower youth through music globally.


On the occasion, JM International worked closely together with the European Education and Culture Executive Agency - EACEA to secure the presence and participation of the EU delegation in Zimbabwe, who were invited to to play an important role in the event as local representatives for the EU’s various cultural initiatives. It was during the closing concert - featuring a performance by Music Crossroads alumni Mokoomba - that the European Ambassador to Zimbabwe, his Excellency Mr Jobst von Kirchmann, stated, "This event, co-funded by the European Union, is a noble initiative aimed at empowering creative minds across Europe and Africa alike. It has brought more than 100 cultural operators and musicians from 50 countries to learn, discuss common challenges, share opportunities and best practices and most importantly, come together and showcase their exceptional work and talent. This is precisely the vision the European Union has passionately pursued as part of our unwavering commitment to fostering arts and culture in various EU policies and Plans. We view arts and culture as an integral element in sustainable development and the positive transformation of societies." He was followed by Mr. Nenad Bogdanovic (Cyprus), JMI’s newly elected President, who affirmed much of his sentiments around the necessity of international cooperation in difficult times and the role that Africa plays within the global music industry.



The event attracted several international high-level speakers from Africa, Europe and the Americas as well as performances from fantastic young artists from across the continent.


Below, you can find further information on some of those key highlights.


Key Highlights from the JMI Global 2023:

  • Speakers: Eddie Hatitye (Executive Director of Music In Africa Foundation (South Africa), Ouafa Belgacem (CEO of Culture Funding Watch (Tunisia), Walter Wanyanya (CEO Ngoma Nehosho, Zimbabwe), Paulo Chibanga (Director Azgo Festival), Tamanda Mbendera (Director African Festivals Institute), and Maria 'Vera' Chisvo (Program Director Shoko Festival, Zimbabwe), Carine Tredgold (Zimbabwean production manager and educator), Neeta Ragoowansi (Director Folk Alliance International and Women in Music, USA), Namakau Star (artist/activist from South Africa), and Giulia Annibaletti (Programs Manager at JM International).
  • Workshops: Legendary guitarist Clive 'Mono' Mukundu and renowned mbira teacher Trust Mutekwa.
  • Showcase performances: Yenge Family, the Music Crossroads Zimbabwe Choir, Ethno Zimbabwe, Sounds of Africa, Mokoomba and Mary Anibal.




The JMI-EU collaboration evolves in step with the network’s long-term strategy, strengthening creative synergies between those working to empower young people through music across the globe. The success of this endeavour, from early conceptual discussions to a fruitful collaboration, reflects the strength of creative alliances and international cooperation, in harmony with the European Union's vision for vibrant and all-encompassing cultural and creative sectors. It confirms the long-term commitment to harnessing creativity’s connective and transformative power. To that effect, this conference was followed by JMI’s YAMsession conference for live music for young audiences in Tatui, Brazil and the Imagine International Final in Brussels that brought together young musicians and cultural operators from 10 countries across the globe. These efforts have laid a solid foundation for further internationalisation of youth-music initiatives within the JMI network and its partners, with exciting upcoming events throughout 2024 including JMI activities in Lithuania, Hungary, Croatia, Germany, Cyprus, Norway, Belgium, Italy and the USA, underscoring our collective determination to continuously nurture global talent and advance non-formal music education, factors that support industry development, leading to resilience and prosperity for many thousands of young people and children worldwide.


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JM International was founded in Belgium in 1945, and today is one of the world’s oldest and largest music NGOs. Boasting 14 international music programs, JMI has, for 78 years, actively participated as a European organisation with a deeply international dimension. For more info visit www.jmi.net