17 November 2002 Muhammad Ali, the world-renown boxing champion and United Nations Messenger of Peace, today began a three-day mission to Afghanistan aimed at raising awareness of the country's needs and the UN's work there.
In Kabul, Mr Ali is scheduled to meet with the heads of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) as well as and representatives from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the Afghan Administration, including President Hamid Karzai.
The UN Peace Messenger will visit a UNICEF-backed girls' school located in an area where demand for lessons is so high additional classes are being held in tents.
He will then visit a WFP-supported women's bakery which is part of a large-scale programme addressing the needs of the most vulnerable households by employing widows as bakers.
He will also visit a Boxing Club in Kabul, where photos of Muhammad Ali adorn the walls. The club offers young men the opportunity to rediscover some of the sporting prowess that once made Afghanistan famous.
The President of the Afghan Olympic Committee will accompany Muhammad Ali on a visit to the Olympic Stadium and a tour of West Kabul – an area severely damaged during the mujahadeen conflict.
Mr. Ali's trip is being sponsored by UNICEF and WFP.