INT’L DAY OF PEACE AND ITS MESSENGERS
UN General Assembly introduced the third Tuesday of September as the International Day of Peace in 1981. The day was changed to September 21 in 2001.
The day is ascribed for seeking ceasefire in conflict zones, the event that taken place in 2007 in some parts of Afghanistan when Taliban forces agreed to let 10,000 vaccinators to reach millions of children with polio vaccines.
What made the mission possible for the vaccination team were, partly, the due efforts of Jeremy Gilley, the English actor and the founder of Peace One Day charity.
The tradition to take advantage of celebrities’ name and fame for the purposes of UN and its agencies’’ mission started in 1998 when Mohammad Ali Clay was introduced the first Messenger of Peace by Kofi Annan.
UN Messengers and their Universal Mission
Each of UN 13 funds and programmes has adopted a handful of messengers and ambassadors in order to advocate its global programs.
Lucciano Pavarotti, Celine Dion, Jeremy Irons, Gina Lollobrigida, Susan Sarandon, Richard Attenborough, Jackie Chan, Jean Michel Jarre, Nelson Mandela, Nicole Kidman, Antonio Banderas, Giorgio Armani, Nicholas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Michael Ballak, David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Didier Drogba, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Iker Cassilas, Zeinedine Zidan, are among the well known UN ambassadors.
UN Ambassadors: National, Cultural and Sexual profiles
UN agencies have 200 messengers and ambassadors from 66 different nationalities: 28 Americans, 12 Italians, 12 French, 11 Brazilians (mainly soccer players), 9 English, and 5 Chinese.
Since the basis for the celebrity selection by UN has been economic, political, artistic and sport popularity, the uneven distribution of the mentioned resources in the world would be apparent in UN selection.
Therefore, more than 120 countries in the world are under-represented or totally absent in UN celebrity list and have, therefore, no place in world culture!
Women make about 70 of UN 200 ambassadors. These women are mainly chosen as celebrity based on their family background. Examples might include the first ladies of Dominican Republic, United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, the royal families of Norway, Hanover, Monaco, Jordan, Thailand, Luxemburg, Denmark, and Bhutan, and the daughter of former Lebanese politician, Bahia Hariri.
Rita Levi Montalcini, the Medicine Noble laureate and Italian Senator, Vigdis Finnbogadottir, linguist and former Iceland President, Christine Hakim, Indonesian education advocate, Rigo Berta Menchotum, Guatmallan Peace Noble laureate and indigenous people activist, Kim Phuc Phan Thi, Peace Noble laureate from Vietnam, Marianna Vardinoyannis, social, artistic, children, and family activist from Greece, Phoebe Asiyo, Kenyan children’s rights activist, and Nancy Goodman Brinco, American activist of health, are few women whose achievements are quite personal and active in nature and represent the body of women academicians and social activists in the UN.
This is while many of the women ambassadors of UN agencies are representatives of the western art and cinema’s sexual perception of womanhood.
16, among the 70, are singers, 16 are actresses (including actresses known for their sexuality), 5 are dancers, ballerinas, or opera artists, one is fashion model, and one is former Miss World. This is while only 5 women represent female athletes and only 3, the musicians.
The texture of the list shows UN representation strategy of women that is totally free of certain social and cultural values.
These women are by no means equal in academic and artistic prestige, although they are popular in may countries.
The women do neither compare to men regards with academic and political backgrounds.
This is not the issue to make women rights advocates happy throughout the world; because UN ambassadors are, beside donating their name and fame to the cause of UN missions, gaining increasing popularity through their international role and contributing the unwanted representation of ‘womanhood’.