16 March 2009
Press Release
Note No. 6192

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents





Through its newly established Creative Community Outreach Initiative, the United Nations Department of Public Information and the SCI FI Channel will co-host a panel discussion in connection with the final episode of the Battlestar Galactica television series at 7 p.m., tomorrow, 17 March in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.  The discussion will explore some of the themes that are of importance to both the United Nations and the critically acclaimed television show: human rights; terrorism; children and armed conflict; and reconciliation and dialogue among civilizations and faiths.

The panel will be moderated by Academy Award-winning actress and producer Whoopi Goldberg.  Oscar-nominated actress Mary McDonnell, Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actor Edward James Olmos, and Battlestar Galactica creators and executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick will participate in the panel.

Also participating will be Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; Craig Mokhiber, Deputy Director, New York Office, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Planning, Executive Office of the Secretary-General; and Famatta Rose Osode, Minister and Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations.

“As one of the launch projects of the Creative Community Outreach Initiative, this event will show how skilful storytelling can elevate the profile of critical humanitarian issues,” said Kiyo Akasaka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.  “Not only does it present an opportunity for creative discussion, but, more importantly, it offers a chance to deliver a message about the many harsh realities that still exist worldwide.”

The Department of Public Information’s Creative Community Outreach Initiative aims to partner with the international film and television industries in order to raise awareness of critical global issues.  Building on collaborations such as The Interpreter, Che and an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the Initiative provides film, new media, television and documentary producers worldwide with access to information about the work of the United Nations and its priority issues, offers logistical advice and assistance, and participates in dynamic special events with creative community partners.

“It’s a great honour for SCI FI to partner with the United Nations to examine these important world issues,” said SCI FI President Dave Howe.  “This event affirms Battlestar Galactica’s topical relevance in reflecting our lives today.  We are immensely proud of the work done by the producers, writers, cast and crew, and I can’t think of a more auspicious way to recognize their achievements as the finale approaches this week, than to be invited to this international stage by such distinguished hosts.”

Battlestar Galactica is the gripping saga of humanity’s last remnants and their struggle to find a new home while fleeing from their deadly Cylon enemies.  Its issues-driven topicality and command performances have garnered it numerous awards, including several Emmy Awards and the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award.  The show was recognized by the American Film Institute (AFI) as one of the most outstanding programmes of the year two years running.  The series is from Universal Media Studios, and the ensemble cast is led by Mr. Olmos, Ms. McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Tricia Helfer and Grace Park.

SCI FI Channel is a television network where “what if” is what’s on.  SCI FI fuels the imagination of viewers with original series and events, blockbuster movies and classic science fiction and fantasy programming, as well as a dynamic website (www.scifi.com) and magazine.  Launched in 1992 and currently in 95 million homes, SCI FI Channel is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies.

Please note that the event is ticketed and space is limited.  Tickets will be made available to United Nations-accredited journalists through the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit in room S-250A.

For further information on the event, please contact Joanna Piucci at +1 212 963 7346 or Katherine Regnell at +1 212 963 8278.  For United Nations media accreditation (required), please visit www.un.org/media/accreditation or contact Gary Fowlie, Chief, Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, Department of Public Information at tel: +1 212 963 6937, fax: +1 212 963 4642.

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For information media • not an official record