Singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder’s long career has reflected his concern with humanitarian issues. A Grammy Award-winner, he has written, produced or performed songs for charities in support of disabilities, AIDS, cancer, diabetes, hunger and homelessness, domestic abuse and other causes on behalf of children and adults.

His activism has been pivotal in U.S. and world events. In 1983, he spearheaded a campaign to make Martin Luther King Day a national holiday in the United States. He also advocated for the end of apartheid in South Africa.

He has been recognized for his philanthropic efforts by the U.S. President''s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, Junior Blind of America, and the creation of the Wonder Vision Awards Program.

He was designated as a Messenger of Peace in 2009 with a focus on persons with disabilities. He has advocated for the adoption of the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or have other print disabilities.

Focus Area: Persons with Disabilities

Approximately 15% of the world’s population, of which some 80% live in developing world, have some type of physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment. Persons with disabilities are often excluded from the mainstream of society. Discrimination takes various forms, ranging from the denial of education or work opportunities to more subtle forms, such as segregation and isolation through the imposition of physical and social barriers. Changing the perception and concept of disability requires changing values and increasing understanding at all levels of society.
Since its inception, the United Nations has worked to establish the standards for equal treatment and equal access to services. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted in 2006 sets out international human rights standards for all persons with disabilities in the world.