Dave Brubeck on the need for cultural exchange programs


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KH: If you could write a check to start a new cultural exchange program today, because unfortunately the world still has some similar types of problems that it had in 1958. What do you think the most important aspects of a good cultural exchange program today would be? You touched on it briefly, Iola, a little bit about experts in their field communicating about that field. But, what else should it include?

DB: Well, the first thing it has to include is backing by our government financially and every other way. And, when the cultural exchange program wasn't doing too well, they asked me to go to Washington and speak to some congressmen or senators, and try to get some money flowing into cultural exchange.

And, I talked to them. And, I said, "You know, the amount of money needed to keep this going probably is less than a tip of the wing of a fighter plane." I didn't get a penny for cultural exchange. We keep spending money on things that don't help. Sometimes they hinder, and we keep spending.

And, if we only knew the importance of spending on cultural exchange, exchange of every kind, religious exchange, political, educational, that money would mean something.

And, we have so much to offer that the people in our government don't seem to connect with yet. Sometimes a few do, but not enough. I don't know where we are now with cultural exchange. I think we were further along at one time, and it's too bad.

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