West-Eastern Divan Orchestra Designated United Nations Global Advocate for Cultural Understanding

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today designated the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra as a United Nations Global Advocate for Cultural Understanding.  The designation took place at an event at the United Nations Office at Geneva, attended by the Secretary-General and by the world-renowned conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim, the Orchestra’s co-founder and a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

“The work of the Orchestra is testimony to the power of music to break down barriers and to build bridges between communities,” said the Secretary-General.  “I am delighted that the Orchestra has committed to help us in our work towards creating a more peaceful, inclusive and united world.”

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations will support the Orchestra in its mandate as Global Advocate to promote tolerance, understanding and unity among peoples of different cultural and religious identities.

Guided by the principles of the United Nations Charter, the report of its High-Level Group and the priorities of the Secretary-General, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, established in 2005 as the political initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, works towards promoting peaceful and more inclusive societies.  The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations seeks to address the root causes and drivers of violent extremism.  Since its inception, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations has become one of the leading United Nations global platforms for intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation.

Co-founded by Mr. Barenboim and the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said in 1999, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra unites young musicians from Israel, Palestine and several Arab countries to promote intercultural dialogue through music.  The Orchestra has performed at the main international festivals and music centres, as well as at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations in New York, and the Human Rights Council Room in Geneva.

“We are very honoured by this gesture of the Secretary-General and look forward to our intensified cooperation with the United Nations on bringing our message that music is not only a question of personal enjoyment, but is universal, and therefore, can connect people,” said Mr. Barenboim.

United Nations Global Advocates, Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors advocate on behalf of the United Nations on a variety of priority issues.  Their widely recognized talents in the fields of art, film, literature, music and sports, enable them to raise worldwide awareness of the Organization’s ideals and activities.

Through their public appearances, contacts with the international media and humanitarian work, they expand public understanding of how the United Nations helps to improve the lives of people everywhere.

For further information, please contact Nihal Saad, Chief of Cabinet and Spokesperson for the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations at e-mail:  saadn@un.org.

For information media. Not an official record.