NOTE 5699
26 November 2001


Press Release
NOTE 5699

                                                            Note No. 5699

26 November 2001

Note to Correspondents


Role of Volunteerism To Be Highlighted

The United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) are organizing an observance of World AIDS Day, to take place on 30 November 2001 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Conference Room 4.  The programme, a town-hall meeting, will follow the theme designated by UNAIDS  for this year’s World AIDS Campaign, “I Care… Do You?”, and will also highlight 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers (IYV).

The observance is co-sponsored by DPI, UNAIDS, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and United Nations Volunteers (UNV).

Han Seung-soo, President of the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly, and Louise Fréchette, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, will deliver opening statements, and there will be a videotaped message from Peter Piot, Executive Director, UNAIDS.  Shashi Tharoor, the Interim Head of the Department of Public Information, will begin the programme with welcoming remarks.

Daljit Dhaliwal, anchor of “World News for Public Television” (ITN, London) will moderate the town-hall discussion, which will focus on the initiative, engagement and power of individuals, from those working at the community, town and village levels to national leaders and international celebrities, in making a difference in the fight against AIDS.  It will build on the Call to Action of the Secretary-General and the Declaration of Commitment adopted by the Special Session of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS last June.  Key themes will be leadership, outreach to and by young people, volunteerism, and the involvement and power of celebrities as well as the media.

Participants include Nane Annan, lawyer, artist, advocate and author; Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director, UNFPA; Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director, UNIFEM; Kenneth Thomas, Deputy Director for International Affairs, White House Office of National AIDS Policy; Mathilde Krim, Founding Chairman and Chairman of the Board, American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR); Mia Farrow, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador; Danny Glover, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador; Wendy Fitzwilliam, Miss Universe 1998 (Trinidad and Tobago), Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS and founder of the Hibiscus Foundation created to heighten AIDS awareness in Trinidad and Tobago; Anick Supplice, youth activist on HIV/AIDS and UNFPA

Goodwill Ambassador for Youth (Haiti); Brigitte Syamalevwe (Zambia), national UN Volunteer working with the Greater Involvement of People with HIV/AIDS initiative; and Nicholas Fucile, focal point for the Coordinating Committee for International Staff Unions and Associations (CCISUA) and founder of the HIV/AIDS UN Hotline.

Also participating will be Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha, an Anglican priest living with HIV/AIDS (Uganda); Daniel Leyva, Programme Coordinator, Latino Religious Leadership Project; and DK and Waris, fashion designers representing Gen Om Fights AIDS in South Asia, an organization which raises funds through the fashion and music industries in the U.S. to support HIV education programmes in India; Denise Quiñones-August, Miss Universe 2001 (Puerto Rico); Debra Fraser-Howze, President and CEO, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (BLCA); Donna Futterman, M.D., Director, Adolescent AIDS Program, Montefiore Medical Center; Tony Keenan, General Secretary, Victorian Independent Education Union and former President, Federation of AIDS Organizations in Australia; Charlotte Mjele, youth activist on HIV/AIDS (South Africa); Kim Nichols, Development and Policy Director, African Services Committee; Ana Oliveira, Executive Director, Gay Men’s Health Crisis; Gennady Roshchupkin, Material Development Manager, MSF Holland (Russia); Blaine Trump, Vice-Chair, God’s Love, We Deliver; Alexander Tsekhanovich, Chief Coordinator, St. Petersburg Foundation for Medical and Social Programmes (Russia); Tom Viola, Executive Director, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; and Zeng Yi, Academician, Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine.

The programme will include a performance by a group of South African actors who are currently performing in The Lion King, and a reading by South African poet Evert Eden.

The World AIDS Day observance will be webcast live on the Internet.  Remarks made by individual speakers will be available for on-demand playback following the conclusion of the programme.  The webcast can be accessed via the special web page created for World AIDS Day at

In conjunction with the observance, the Department of Public Information has arranged a screening of “Together We Can:  Youth against AIDS in South Africa”, a documentary film by Jacqueline Fox.  The film is an independent production supported in part by DPI; it commemorates the life and death of Nkosi Johnson, a young South African boy who became a national symbol of hope, and examines ways in which schoolchildren, the Government, non-governmental organizations and the rural community are fighting to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.  The 28-minute film will be screened continuously from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in Studio 4 on the first basement level.

World AIDS Day was established on 1 December 1988 by the World Health Organization, and its annual observance was mandated by General Assembly resolution A/43/15.  Since its establishment in 1996, UNAIDS has expanded the single day’s observance into a year-long World AIDS Campaign, with World AIDS Day as a focal point.

For more information, please call (212) 963-6923 or (212) 963-7346; for media accreditation, (212) 963-6934; for United Nations television coverage, (212) 963-7650.  For television background footage, please call (212) 963-1561.

For information media. Not an official record.