WILLIAMSBURG — The Reves Center for International Studies announced that Carla Canales, Senior Advisor and Envoy for Cultural Exchange for the National Endowment for the Arts, will deliver the 2024 McSwain-Walker Lecture at William & Mary.
The lecture, entitled “The Power of the Arts as a Diplomatic Tool,” will take place on Monday, Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. in the Comey Recital Hall in the new Music Arts Center and is free and open to the public.
According to William & Mary, Canales has been praised by Opera Magazine for possessing a voice that “grabs the heartstrings with its dramatic force and musicality” and has won acclaim on leading stages around the world as a performer while also being recognized as a thought leader, advocate, and entrepreneur.
In early 2023, Canales joined the Biden Administration as the first Senior Advisor and Envoy for Cultural Exchange, a newly created position at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Canales is a 2023-24 Social Innovation and Change Initiative Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School, W&M said, and this year also marked her debut as a published author, with chapter contributions in two books on cultural diplomacy: “Soft Power and the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy” and “Cultural Diplomacy: Issues and Perspectives.”
Canales has served as a U.S. State Department Arts Envoy since 2005 and was a 2021 Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University, the youngest fellow in the history of the program to date. During her fellowship, she collaborated with Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs on a new self-created initiative entitled The Future of Cultural Diplomacy.
As a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities Turnaround Arts Program, Canales was selected by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of its 100 Leading Global Thinkers and won the Medal of Excellence from the Sphinx Organization, which was presented to her at the Supreme Court by Justice Sotomayor.
Canales is the founder of The Canales Project, a nonprofit arts and advocacy organization through which she created Hear Her Song, a musical celebration of distinguished female leaders worldwide that commissions new songs written by female composers to honor them.
The annual McSwain-Walker Lecture brings scholars, artists, analysts and other notable public figures to William & Mary to speak on topics related to how other countries and cultures interact with the United States, and how the United States interacts with them, according to the university..