18 October 2000

Press Release



Forty-eight United Nations Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors -- prominent personalities from the worlds of art, music, film, sport, literature and public affairs who help publicize key United Nations issues and activities -- will meet for the first time at United Nations Headquarters on 23 October 2000.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has invited them to Headquarters in order to acknowledge their contribution to the Organization’s work and to discuss ways of raising public awareness of and support for United Nations goals and activities. The celebrity advocates speak out for the United Nations and seven of its offices, funds and programmes on issues ranging from fighting poverty, HIV/AIDS and intolerance, to improving the status of women, promoting educational and employment opportunities for youth, and protection for vulnerable groups such as children and refugees. The day-long programme will include a public forum titled “The United Nations and Celebrity Advocacy in an Age of Cynicism”. Representatives of the United Nations system, civil society and students are expected to participate in the discussion, which will be open to the media. The forum will be followed by a private luncheon hosted by the Secretary-General.

Those expected to participate include:

Messengers of Peace (appointed by the Secretary-General):

Muhammad Ali, former heavyweight boxing champion (United States); Anna Cataldi, author and journalist (Italy); Michael Douglas, actor (United States); Enrico Macias, singer (France)

Goodwill Ambassadors:

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): Danny Glover, actor (United States); Nadine Gordimer, Nobel laureate for literature (South Africa); Misako Konno, author, television personality and actress (Japan); “Ronaldo” Luis Nazario de Lima, football player (Brazil); Hussein Fahmy, actor (Egypt).

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA): Kattis Ahlstrom, journalist (Sweden); Nicolaas Biegman, former co-Chairman, Cairo Conference on Population and Development (Netherlands); Mary Banotti, Member of European Parliament (Ireland); Magenta Devine, radio and television personality (United Kingdom); Geri Halliwell, singer (United Kingdom); Waris Dirie, fashion supermodel, activist (Somalia); Safia El-Emary, actress (Egypt); Catarina Furtado, actress (Portugal); Wendy Fitzwilliam, former

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Miss Universe (Trinidad and Tobago); Lupita Jones, former Miss Universe (Mexico); Feryal Ali Gauhar, actress/film maker (Pakistan); Linda Gray, actress, environmental activist (United States); Hanne-Vibeke Holst, author and journalist (Denmark); Manisha Koirala, actress (India); Mikko Kuustonen, singer, songwriter (Finland); Mpule Kwelagobe, former Miss Universe (Botswana); Goedele Liekens, media personality (Belgium); Bui Nakhirunkanok, former Miss Universe (Thailand); Bertrand Piccard, scientist-adventurer (Switzerland); Rosy Senanayake, actress, former Miss World (Sri Lanka).

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF): Harry Belafonte, singer, actor (United States); Johann Olav Koss, Olympic champion speed skater (Norway); Mia Farrow, actress (United States); Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, television personality (Japan); Nana Mouskouri, singer (Greece); Youssou N’ Dour, musician (Senegal); Susan Sarandon, actress (United States); Vendela Thommessen, model (Norway); Sir Peter Ustinov, actor (United Kingdom).

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): Djordje Balasevic, singer (Yugoslavia); Adel Imam, actor (Egypt); Arja Saijonmaa, singer (Finland).

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): Seamus Heaney, Nobel laureate for literature (Ireland); Marian Wright Edelman, activist for children’s rights (United States).

United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP): Al Bano Carrisi, singer (Italy); Franz Klammer, Olympic champion skier (Austria); Tetsuya Komuro, musician (Japan); Letizia Moratti, television executive (Italy).

United Nations Volunteers (UNV): Takehito Nakata, volunteer/activist (Japan).

Public Forum

The public forum will focus on the influence that famous people have in drawing attention to global problems and promoting United Nations action to improve the lives of people everywhere. It will take place between 10 a.m. and 12 noon in the Economic and Social Council Chamber. Moderated by television journalist Riz Khan of CNN International, it will allow participants to examine how to increase public awareness and support for United Nations work in key areas, such as promoting development assistance to poor countries, tolerance and respect for human rights, disarmament, drug control and help for vulnerable groups such as refugees and children.

Goodwill Ambassadors have served United Nations bodies since UNICEF’s first Goodwill Ambassador, Danny Kaye, was named in 1954. In 1997, Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed for the first time United Nations Messengers of Peace -– prominent personalities not directly affiliated with an individual United Nations programme.

Messengers of Peace are distinguished men and women of talent and passion who have expressed their desire to help focus global attention on the noble aims of the United Nations Charter: a world without war, respect for human rights, international law, and social and economic progress. These appointments were intended to recognize the individual’s commitment to peace, honour and human dignity, and as a means of underlining that working for peace is not solely the province of governments.

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Progress hinges on the willingness of individual citizens to use their gifts to inspire good will.

Over the years, many prominent people have lent their names, talents and time to support United Nations programmes as Goodwill Ambassadors and celebrity advocates. There is no typical Messenger of Peace or Goodwill Ambassador. In general, however, those named are people of international reputation, outstanding in their fields, who have a demonstrated interest and commitment to the goals and ideals of the United Nations and who accept to serve as advocates, spokespersons and representatives. They are active at a variety of levels -- from the national to the global.

Media Arrangements

Media stakeouts will be arranged for coverage of the participants’ arrival at United Nations Headquarters on Monday morning, 23 October, at 9 a.m. A brief photo opportunity for the sports press is being organized immediately following the morning programme. For stakeout positions and pool arrangements, contact the United Nations Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit (see accreditation, below).

Interviews with Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors may be arranged through the following contacts:

Kevin S. Kennedy or Danielle Loff-Fernandes: (1-212) 963-2045;

UNDP: Dorothy Davis-Joseph, (1-212) 906-5312;

UNICEF: Jehane Sedky-Lavandero (1-212) 326-7269, Rita Wallace (1-212) 824-6971, Ruchira Gupta (1-212) 326-7670;

UNFPA: Corrie Shanahan (1-212) 297-5023;

UNHCR: Robyn Groves (1-212) 963-6904;

UNODCCP: Zach Messitte (1-212) 963-2710;

OHCHR: (1-212) 963-3617;

UNV: Yuko Ozawa (1-212) 906-3634)

The United Nations Department of Public Information will cover the activities. The public forum will be webcast live and accessible via the United Nations Web site at www.un.org. To obtain UNTV coverage, call (1-212) 963-7650.

Media Accreditation

Media wishing to cover events at United Nations Headquarters must have press credentials issued by the United Nations. To obtain those press credentials, journalists must submit a request for United Nations access on their organizations’ letterhead to: UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, fax: (1-212) 963-4642 (to verify receipt of fax, please call (1-212) 963-6934/7164).

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