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World Orchestra for Peace to promote UNESCO’s message through music

By UN

3 August - The United Nations cultural agency has selected the World Orchestra for Peace, an ensemble of musicians from more than 40 countries, to help promote its message and programmes and raise public awareness of its work on key issues.

The orchestra “symbolizes so well the multicultural and ethnically diverse world that we live in today,” Director-General Irina Bokova stated in a letter announcing the designation of the group as an Artist for Peace for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“Each member of your talented Orchestra represents the universal desire to spread cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace. This kind of message is central to UNESCO's efforts to build durable peace in the world.”

Made up of musicians from more than 70 international orchestras, the World Orchestra for Peace was founded in 1995 by the late Sir Georg Solti for a special concert in Geneva to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UN.

The group comes together on special occasions to promote peace and celebrate reconstruction, and is conducted by Valery Gergiev of Russia, who was himself designated a UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2003.

The orchestra will received its designation at a ceremony at Royal Albert Hall in London on 5 August, which will be followed by a concert later that day to celebrate its 15th anniversary.

The roster of internationally-renowned personalities from the arts who use their influence and prestige to help promote UNESCO's message include Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil, Canadian singer Celine Dion, Spanish dancer Joaquín Cortés, Cameroon musician Manu Dibango and Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid.