On October 23, 2009 I had the opportunity to attending the 64th Anniversary of the United Nations: A Tribute to Peacekeeping Concert in New York City. In partnership with theCulture Project an organization that is dedicated to addressing human rights issues all over the world by bringing together artist of all fields who share a common goal in fighting social injustices.
The concert featured an array of musical artists from around the world all uniting to pay tribute to UN peacekeepers who serve the most victimized populations in the most dangerous places on earth. An audience of hundreds watches these artists use their music as a powerful instrument to bring peace to all nations.
The night kicked off with a backstage champagne toast to introduce the artist to a crowd of photographers and reporters. Artist and performers such as Music icons Aterciopelados (The Velvety Ones) from Columbia, whose work with Amnesty International still continues to fight for human rights in all nations, entertainment icon Harry Belafonte, the Civil Rights Activist, Actor, Musician, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Roberta Flack, the six time Grammy award winning singer and Emmanuel Jal a Sudanese hip-hop artist just to name a few.
Musical director for the night was legendary performer Nile Rodgers an accomplished musician, composer, arranger, and guitarist. The emcee of the night was Isha Sesay CNN anchor and reporter from Sierra Leone. The event was directed by Fisher Stevens the award winning filmmaker who throughout the night debuted segments of his award winning film ‘The War Against War’ which highlights the efforts of UN peacekeepers from around the world.
The concert was held in the General Assembly Hall it started off with His Excellence Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Ban Ki-moon. As Secretary-General addressed the crowd of hundreds, he explained that ‘we are here to celebrate the efforts of those who risk their lives every day in trying to bring peace to all nations and that the musicians, artist, performers, and activist who are here tonight are bridge builders in an effort of peacekeeping’. One moment that stuck with me was the story of Sudanese hip-hop artist Emmanuel Jal a former child soldier from Sudan who was smuggled out by a British aid worker