Renowned opera singer Luciano Pavarotti and boxing champion Muhammad Ali, two United Nations Messengers of Peace, are featured in new public service announcements promoting the International Day of Peace to more than 200 million television households in over 70 countries and in some 20 languages.
"The public service advertisements promote a product we would like to see back in fashion: peace," Shashi Tharoor, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communication and Public Information, said at a press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York during which the ads were screened.
Created and produced through a joint effort of the United Nations, the History Channel - a division of A&E Television Networks - and the New York advertising agency DCODE, the ads will be broadcast worldwide on the History Channel and the Biography Channel. In the United States, the public service announcements (PSAs) will be distributed to all broadcast and cable networks by the Advertising Council with a grant from the UN Foundation.
There were two versions of both spots, with the first playing around the world starting today in the lead-up to the International Day. The second version, which would carry the message but not refer to the International Day, would spread the message of peace long after.
Established by the General Assembly in 1981, the International Day of Peace was, until two years ago, observed each year on the opening day of the UN General Assembly's session. In 2001, however, the Assembly called for the Day to be observed on 21 September each year, as a day of non-violence and ceasefire.
In addition to the PSAs, other planned activities to observe the Day include Secretary-General Kofi Annan ringing the Peace Bell, and several other Messengers of Peace, including actor Michael Douglas and Italian writer Anna Cataldi, will join Mr. Ali at UN Headquarters on Friday.
The famous naturalist, Jane Goodall, will lead children in releasing giant paper doves of peace, and there is also scheduled a concert for peace by the famous Brazilian singer and politician, Gilberto Gil, who is currently Brazil's Minister of Culture and who had just won a Latin American Grammy award.
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