Washington: In his first public appearance, newly-appointed US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday welcomed a group of young musicians from Afghanistan while he emphasised the role of music as an international language of peace.
Describing them as the ambassadors of peace, Kerry assured the young Afghan musicians that the United States will continue to work to bring peace and stability in the war-torn country.
"Music is the international language of peace," Kerry said welcoming these young performers between 10 and 21 years of age, who are currently on their first ever US tour from February 2 to 17.
"We are happy to welcome you here as ambassadors of peace. I am particularly happy to welcome you here because when I was your age, I played in a rock band," he said amidst applause from the audience.
"You can actually go to our Youtube and hear some of our music. It is called the electrics. And I still play guitar. When I go home I love to play guitar and love to see all these string instruments here," he said amidst laughter.
Kerry made an unscheduled appearance at the auditorium of the State Department headquarters.
"I do not have a lot of time to talk to you all. I had the privilege of travelling to Afghanistan many times," Kerry said in his brief interaction with the members of the Afghan Youth Orchestra.
Later he sat down for a few minutes listening to the music from the young Afghan artists.
The artists are from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) which is a source and a symbol of Afghanistan`s progress, exemplifying the restoration of rich culture in a country where the Taliban had repressed all forms of musical expression, the State Department said.
Many of the teachers at the Institute are private American citizens who have chosen to live in Kabul in order to bring the gift of music to these young children, it said.
The tour has been funded by the US Embassy in Kabul, the World Bank, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Ministry of Education of Afghanistan.