The Global Scholars Foundation of Washington, in partnership with the H Street Community Development Corporation (CDC), hosted its first jazz concert to raise awareness about the program and announce its rebranding effort.

The event featured internationally acclaimed pianist and composer Alex Bugnon and R&B and pop vocalist Kari Epps at the H St. PerformingArts Center in Northeast, D.C. Michel Wright of SiriusXM Radio served as host for the evening.

The program, formerly known as the Community Global Initiative, offers students from D.C. public and public charter high schools the opportunity to learn the language and culture of a foreign country each year. Since its inception in 2006, more than 60 scholars have participated in the program, traveling to countries including China, Brazil and South Africa.

Once completing the program, participants’ lives are changed forever, said Ken Brewer, director of the H Street CDC.

“They continue to seek additional traveling, job, program and college opportunities, and advance academically and socially,” he said. “They have made new friends from all over the world. They gain confidence and boldness in their daily lives. They set and accomplish goals and most importantly move forward with a newfound sense of purpose.”

Many students who participate in the program wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to travel abroad. Supporters such as H Street CDC, which has sponsored every facet of the program for years, allow students to so enjoy the perks of the program without acquiring financial burdens.

The concert as well as the launch of the new website and logo is an effort to gain additional supporters.

Next summer, participants will travel to Morocco. Through these experiences, students begin to understand that the world is “a big, vast, and exciting place,” said Brewer.

“They see that we share many differences with people from other parts of the world, but that those differences are unique and should bring us together as we try to understand, tolerate, learn from and teach one another,” he said.