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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
21 September 2007

Press Release
Note No. 6106

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents


On Friday, 21 September, the International Day of Peace – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will designate Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan, First Lady of Dubai; Israeli/Argentinean conductor Daniel Barenboim; Brazilian author Paulo Coelho; and Japanese-American violinist Midori Goto as United Nations Messengers of Peace.  They will join four other Messengers of Peace, individuals who possess widely recognized talents in the fields of art, literature, music and sports, in helping to raise worldwide awareness of the Organization’s ideals and activities.  The Department of Public Information has also created a new website for the Messengers of Peace programme: please see

Known for her commitment to humanitarian causes, Princess Haya served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Food Programme from 2005 to 2007 and travelled to Malawi and Ethiopia to draw attention to hunger and the impact it is having on both countries.  The daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, Princess Haya now resides in Dubai with her husband, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Dubai.

Princess Haya is the first Arab woman to compete in equestrian events at the continental, world and Olympic levels and is now the President of the International Equestrian Federation and a member of the International Olympic Committee.  She has worked to promote health, education and sports issues among youth in the Arab and Muslim worlds.  She also chairs the Board of Directors of the International Humanitarian City (IHC), a global humanitarian and aid hub located in an independent, free zone authority created by the Government of Dubai.  IHC aims to facilitate aid and development efforts by providing local and international humanitarian actors with facilities and services specifically designed to meet their needs.  As a Messenger of Peace, Princess Haya will be dedicated to helping raise global awareness of the Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.

The Secretary-General has recognized Princess Haya’s personal commitment to humanitarian work.  “I know you will make a compelling advocate for our shared goal of ending the suffering of the more than 1 billion people in the world who continue to live in extreme poverty,” he said.

Consenting to serve as a Messenger of Peace, Princess Haya said she was honoured to accept this responsibility.  Referring to her work with the first-ever food aid organization in the Arab world, Tkiyet Um Ali in Jordan, conceived by her late mother Queen Alia and realized after her death by her daughter, Princess Haya said, “I consider it my inherited duty to help relieve the plight of people who suffer the devastating effects of poverty.”

Mr. Barenboim, acclaimed conductor and pianist, has been a musical virtuoso since his youth when he gave his international debut performance as a solo pianist at age 10 in Vienna and Rome.  Well known as the Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a position he held from 1991 until June 2006, Mr. Barenboim has received worldwide praise for his work with a number of other orchestras, including the Orchestra of the Berlin State Opera.

In 1999, he founded together with the Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together young musicians from Israel and the Arab countries to enable dialogue between the various cultures of the Middle East.  This orchestra performed a ground-breaking concert in Ramallah in 2005, and played at the United Nations and Carnegie Hall in New York in 2006.  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.  As a Messenger of Peace, he will continue to promote peace and tolerance through the shared language of music.

In his consideration of Mr. Barenboim’s service to humanity, the Secretary-General wrote, “I am convinced you would be a persuasive and powerful Messenger of Peace given your role as the co-founder of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.”

While previously scheduled commitments will preclude his attendance at the International Day of Peace observance, in response to the Secretary-General’s invitation, Mr. Barenboim said, “Music teaches us to express ourselves to the fullest whilst simultaneously listening to the other.  I will do my very best to carry this message to all the corners of the world.”

Mr. Coelho, world renowned author of The Alchemist, uses his universal appeal to help underprivileged members of Brazilian society through his Paulo Coelho Institute, which he founded with his wife, Christina Oiticica.  He is also an advocate of multiculturalism through his work with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a Special Counsellor for Intercultural Dialogues and Spiritual Convergences.

A political activist since his youth, Mr. Coelho will continue to promote intercultural dialogue as a Messenger of Peace.  The native of Rio de Janeiro has enchanted readers from around the world for years and gathered numerous international awards for his works, which have been translated into more than 65 languages.

In selecting Mr. Coelho for this designation, the Secretary-General said, “Mr. Coelho’s talent as a writer and his exceptional ability to touch the lives of men and women across boundaries and cultures would make him a powerful Messenger.”

While previously scheduled commitments will preclude his attendance at the International Day of Peace observance, Mr. Coelho said he was honoured by the designation.  “I gladly accept this responsibility and am committed to do my best to work towards a better future for the current and next generations.”

Ms. Goto, the Japanese-American virtuoso violinist, made her historic debut at the age of 11 over 25 years ago, and since then she 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.  Her commitment to community collaboration and outreach extends to her work with young violinists in master classes all over the world.

In 1992, she founded Midori & Friends, a non-profit organization in New York, which brings music education programmes to thousands of underprivileged children each year.  She has since established four additional organizations, in both the United States and Japan, with similar missions.  As a Messenger of Peace, she will help to promote the Millennium Development Goals and build upon her commitment to youth.

When considering Ms. Goto for this designation, the Secretary-General said he was convinced that she would be a compassionate and creative Messenger of Peace, given the tremendous contributions she has made through Midori & Friends and her other organizations.  He commended her for inspiring young people through music, and for utilizing music education as a compelling way to build a sense of community.

While previously scheduled commitments will preclude her attendance at the International Day of Peace observance, Ms. Goto said, “I am very pleased to have been invited by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to become a United Nations Messenger of Peace.  This is an opportunity to champion the United Nations' Millennium goals in a meaningful way.  I look forward to being an advocate for the cause, working both through my own community engagement organizations and in collaboration with United Nations programmes.”

The other Messengers of Peace and their areas of focus are:  Jane Goodall, the environment; Michael Douglas, disarmament and peace and security; Yo-Yo Ma, youth; and Elie Wiesel, human rights and the Holocaust.  Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti was a Messenger of Peace for nearly a decade before his death in Modena, Italy, on 6 September.  Mr. Douglas, Ms. Goodall and Mr. Wiesel will also attend the International Day of Peace observance.

For more information:  please contact Kimberly Mann, chief of the Advocacy Unit, at 212-963-6835, or Paula Green, at 212-963-0047, or visit the website at

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For information media • not an official record

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