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The 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Welcome to this year's Festival. Like its predecessors, this Festival has been years in the making and is typical in the way that programs were proposed. Mali was the first to express interest in 1998, when U.S. Ambassador David Rawson suggested that Mali be considered at some point in the future as a featured country. Two years later, then Minister of Tourism Zakaiyatou Halatine met with Festival staff and decided that Mali should be highlighted on the National Mall. A Mali National Commission was appointed, curators named on both sides of the ocean, and planning and fund-raising began. We were aware of the eminence of Malian musicians in ...

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