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Annan gives a lesson in peacemaking on children’s TV show ‘Sesame Street’

Annan gives a lesson in peacemaking on children’s TV show ‘Sesame Street’

Secretary-General with Elmo of Sesame Street
Television audiences in the United States who tuned in to the popular educational television show for children, "Sesame Street," received a lesson in conflict resolution from one of the world's leading peacemakers -- the winner of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

In a segment, which aired on Monday, Mr. Annan – the first UN Secretary-General to visit the legendary Sesame Street – mediated a dispute among muppets arguing about whose turn it was to sing the alphabet song.

Using his diplomatic skills, the Secretary-General suggested that all of the colourful characters – Elmo, Zoe, Grover, Rosita and Lulu – sing together. The spirit of compromise prevailed, and they all crooned the song in unison.

Taped in December, the episode is scheduled to be rebroadcast in the United States again in April, July, September and November. Plans are also under way to screen the show in other countries.

After the taping of the programme, the Secretary-General -- surrounded by the muppets -- was asked by a reporter about what prompted him to make time in his demanding schedule to appear on Sesame Street.

“I think it is wonderful to be able to reach the young, and reach them very early, and try to give them the spirit of the United Nations – a spirit of understanding, sharing and working together,” Mr. Annan replied. When Elmo, a furry, red character, broke in to add, “and love,” the Secretary-General agreed, stressing, “and love, and peace.”