Friday, April 24, 2015
The United Nations Messengers of Peace are the most highly recognized of the United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors. Currently the United Nations has over 450 goodwill ambassadors, the Messengers of Peace are among them.
The messengers are initially chosen for a period of three years, although three of the current 13 messengers, Michael Douglas, Elie Wiesel and Jane Goodall have served for more than ten years.
The Messengers of Peace scheme was instigated in 1998 as a central addition to the system of UN goodwill ambassadors and honorary ambassadors, which has been run by the different UN agencies since 1954, when UNICEF appointed Danny Kaye as its first goodwill ambassador.
Whilst the goodwill and honorary ambassadors mainly promote the work of the UN agency they are ambassador for, the messengers of peace are intended to promote the work of the United Nations in general and are appointed directly by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The 13 United Nations Messengers of Peace are now the following: Daniel Barenboim, Paulo Coelho, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Douglas, Jane Goodall, HRH Princess Haya, Lang Lang, Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Elie Wiesel and Stevie Wonder. Each UN Messenger of Peace has his/her own focus area as you can see below.
Daniel Barenboim: Peace and Tolerance
In 1999, he co-founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together young musicians from Israel and the Arab countries to promote dialogue and unity of purpose between the various cultures of the Middle East. Recently, Mr. Barenboim has initiated a project for music education in the Palestinian territories, including the foundation of a music kindergarten and a Palestinian youth orchestra.
Paulo Coelho: Poverty and Intercultural Dialogue
Through the Paulo Coelho Institute, the Rio de Janeiro native uses his global appeal to combat poverty and help underprivileged members of Brazilian society. He is also an advocate of multiculturalism through his work with UNESCO as a Special Counselor for Intercultural Dialogues and Spiritual Convergences.
Since 2009 he has been part of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s “Network of Men Leaders”, a group of influential men who work in their spheres of influence to undertake specific actions to end violence against women. The Network is part of the “UNiTE to End Violence against Women” campaign.
In 1998, he established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation dedicated to land, oceans and species conservation, as well as supporting efforts to mitigate climate change and bolster disaster relief. His foundation supports environmental causes through grant making, campaigning and media projects to inform and rally the public on specific issues. In addition to establishing his Foundation, Mr. DiCaprio serves on the board of several environmental protection organizations including the World Wildlife Fund and The Natural Resources Defense Council, as well as an Advisor on The Solutions Project, an organization dedicated to scaling up the adoption of clean, renewable energy.
Michael Douglas: Disarmament
Michael Douglas is fiercely committed to disarmament issues, including nuclear non-proliferation and halting the global trade in small arms and light weapons. He focuses public awareness on the United Nations’ efforts to strengthen peace and security by speaking publicly for greater controls on the illegal possession and circulation of small arms and light weapons. Mr. Douglas hosted a documentary filmed in Sierra Leone that was part of a United Nations/Showtime ten-part series titled “What’s Going On?” that helped bring attention to the plight of child soldiers.
Jane Goodall: Conservation
The Jane Goodall Institute is widely recognized for creating innovative conservation and development programmes in Africa, where she began her landmark studies in 1960. Her global Roots & Shoots programme supports tens of thousands of young people in nearly 100 countries with projects that help people, animals and the environment.
HRH Princess Haya: Hunger and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Princess Haya founded Tikyet Um Ali (TUA) in her native Jordan, the first Arab NGO dedicated to overcoming local hunger. TUA provides food assistance and employment opportunities to thousands of poor families. In November 2012, TUA announced a campaign to quadruple the number of its beneficiaries in a drive to eliminate hunger in Jordan and help meet the MDGs on hunger by 2015. Princess Haya also chairs Dubai’s International Humanitarian City, now the world’s largest operational center for the delivery of aid both in emergencies and for long-term development. 10 UN agencies and 40 NGOs are members of the IHC which has supported relief efforts all over the globe including East Africa during recent droughts, in Pakistan during the 2009 floods, and in Afghanistan and Darfur. The IHC has also hosted UN and NGO staff evacuated during emergencies and civil unrest.
Lang Lang: Global Education
In October 2008, he launched the Lang Lang International Music Foundation with a mission to encourage music performance at all levels as a means of social development for youth. The Foundation operates with the conviction that music, as a universal language, can help bridge cultural gaps and unite communities.
Lang Lang has been recognized for his commitment to mobilizing support for improving the lives of children around the world, most notably as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. As a Messenger of Peace, he helps raise awareness of the Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative, in particular fostering global citizenship.
Yo-Yo Ma: YouthYo-Yo Ma (born 1955) is a cellist.
Believing that music can act as a magnet to draw people together, he created the Silk Road Project in 1998 to promote the study of cultural, artistic and intellectual traditions along the ancient Silk Road trade route, which sweeps through cultures from the Mediterranean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. In 2007, he contributed music for a DVD produced in support of the Stop TB Partnership Campaign with the World Health Organization.
Midori: Youth and the Millennium Development Goals
Midori has established a record of achievement which sets her apart as a master musician, an innovator, and a champion of the developmental potential of children. In 1992, Midori founded Midori & Friends, a non-profit organization that brings music education programmes to thousands of underprivileged children each year. Two other organizations, Music Sharing (based in Japan) and Partners in Performance (based in the US), also bring music into the lives of people who may not otherwise have involvement with the arts.
Edward Norton: BiodiversityEdward Harrison
Mr. Norton works closely with the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to help spotlight the importance of biodiversity to human well-being and to ensure world leaders take appropriate measures to protect the environment.
Mr. Norton is the President of the Board of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, a community conservation organization that partners with traditional communities in East Africa to conserve key ecosystems by developing sustainable, natural resource-based economic revenues. Mr. Norton also serves on the Board of Trustees of Enterprise, which works to move families up and out of poverty and transform low-income communities across the US through the development of decent affordable housing and social service networks.
Charlize Theron: Elimination of Violence Against Women
As a Messenger of Peace, Charlize Theron focuses on the prevention of HIV and the elimination of violence against women. She founded The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) in 2007 with the mission to help African youth keep themselves safe from HIV. The Project supports community engaged organizations that use innovative and community specific programming to work with youth, bringing critical resources like access to youth friendly healthcare, sexual and reproductive health education, life skills, and psychosocial support.
Ms. Theron also filmed a series of public service announcements in support of the Cape Town Rape Crisis Center, urging zero tolerance for rape or domestic violence. Ms. Theron travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009 and 2011 to help raise awareness about the plight of women and girls victims of sexual violence.
Elie Wiesel: Human Rights
Mr. Wiesel has lent his compassionate voice to a variety of United Nations causes, such as focusing public attention on eradicating poverty and the atrocities occurring in the Darfur region of Sudan. A U.S. citizen since 1963, he continues to be a vocal advocate of human rights and world peace through The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity which he founded with his wife, Marion Wiesel, in 1986.
Stevie Wonder: Persons with Disabilities
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.
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.
This article is a collaborate research effort of Ambassadors Maria Veneke and Sonia B. Ceballos of Globcal International as its editors and authors. Quotes not cited elsewhere are based on Wikipedia sourced reference or the United Nations website.
Posted by David Wright at 5:29 PM