[humantraffic-vn] CELEBRATED ARTIST TO BE NAMED UN GOODWILL AMBASSADOR FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING
vern.weitzel at gmail.com
Wed May 13 11:01:29 EST 2009
Subject: CELEBRATED ARTIST TO BE NAMED UN GOODWILL AMBASSADOR FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Date: Tue, 12 May 2009 18:00:07 -0400
From: UNNews <UNNews at un.org>
To: <news8 at secint00.un.org>
CELEBRATED ARTIST TO BE NAMED UN GOODWILL AMBASSADOR FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING
New York, May 12 2009 6:00PM
The United Nations anti-crime arm will today name acclaimed American painter
Ross Bleckner as Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking at the opening
of an art exhibition displaying paintings by former child soldiers and abducted
girls from Uganda.
Mr. Bleckner, the first artist to be honoured as a UN Goodwill Ambassador, has
been appointed to spearhead the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) “Blue
Heart” campaign against human trafficking.
Launched in March, the initiative aims to raise awareness about the millions of
victims and rally support to combat this modern form of slavery.
The star-studded induction ceremony will take place tonight at UN Headquarters
in New York at the opening of the “Welcome to Gulu” exhibition, which Mr.
Bleckner curated on behalf of
<"http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/press/releases/2009-11.05.html">UNODC and the
International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims.
Proceeds raised from the sale of the some 200 paintings, as well as some of Mr.
Bleckner’s own portraits, will benefit children from Gulu in northern Uganda who
created the works.
In recent years, Gulu and other areas of northern Uganda, have been plagued by
rebel groups snatching, recruiting and conscripting thousands of children,
forcing the boys to be killers and girls to be sex slaves.
In January, Mr. Bleckner joined UNODC and the International Criminal Court’s
Trust Fund for Victims on an official mission to Gulu, assisting in the
rehabilitation of former child soldiers and abducted girls through art therapy.
“Art is one of the most powerful advocacy tools to raise awareness and move
people to take action,” said UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa. “A
painting says a thousand words.”
Mr. Costa noted that appointing Mr. Bleckner as UNODC Goodwill Ambassador, as
well as opening the exhibition at the UN, “provides a unique opportunity to
implore others to join us in our fight against conscription of children, and
other forms of human trafficking and modern day slavery.”
The head of UNODC stressed that Mr. Bleckner’s “extraordinary commitment to the
plight of trafficking victims will move people to take action against modern day
Among the hosts joining Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the opening will be
Academy Award-winning actors Mira Sorvino, who is also a UNODC Goodwill
Ambassador combating human trafficking, Rachel Weisz and Nicolas Cage.
Other celebrities in attendance will be actors Alec Baldwin, Candice Bergman and
Ashley Judd; designers Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Rachel Roy; artists Jeff
Koons, Chuck Close and Brice Marsden; as well as Russell Simmons, Darren
Aronofsky, Terry George, Karenna Gore Schiff, Cynthia McFadden and Deborah Roberts.
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news
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