The United Nations named Stevie Wonder a U.N. Messenger of Peace on Thursday
December 3rd 2009 on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, giving
him a special mission of helping people with disabilities.
Stevie's ideals and
activities has been recognized for his philanthropic efforts including his role
at the U.S. President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities,
campaigns against apartheid in South Africa, Martin Luther King's birthday,
hunger in Ethiopia, AIDS awareness, benefit concerts for children and families
in need, the Children Diabetes Foundation and Junior Blind of America.
According to UN
General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon: "Our newest Messenger of Peace is someone who is
admired by millions of people and has given back to millions of people. I
recognize that he has consistently used his voice and special relationship with
the public to create a better and more inclusive world, to defend civil and
human rights and to improve the lives of those less fortunate."
When Ban Ki-Moon presented the award at UN
headquarters in New York he noted that he was a great fan and stated "He's also
a great humanitarian who has campaigned against apartheid, for children in need
and for persons with disabilities. We are very lucky to have him join our fight
for disability rights. All of us at the United Nations look forward to working
with Stevie Wonder."
Also at the ceremony was Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN. She
described Wonder as a man with the dream of a world where every child, no matter
their ability, can get a good education, where people apply for jobs without
fear of discrimination, and where people live in their communities without fear.
Rice said: "Through songs of romance, of
heartache, of injustice and heroism, through songs of soul, songs with funk and
songs of hope, Stevie Wonder has encouraged all of us never to lose sight of our
dreams of a better world. I think Stevie Wonder captures the significance of
this day best with his words when he said, 'Just because a man lacks the use of
his eyes doesn't mean he lacks vision.'"
Rice hailed Wonder, whose work with the U.S. President's Committee on Employment
of People with Disabilities and the Junior Blind of America and launching of the
Wonder Vision Awards have encouraged innovations to help the disabled and
promoted equality for all people.
Lamenting the condition of the disabled around the globe in the 21st century
Stevie said: "It is beyond my ability to fathom that 10 percent of people of
this world don't matter to the other 90 percent of the people in the world. I'm
not able to believe that, and the only way that we can show our caring about
that 10 percent is by doing something to make the world more accessible and for
people to be accepted with disabilities by committing ourselves to opening all
the doors and all the possibilities for those who are physically challenged in
Most disabled persons, about 6500 million, are among the most disadvantaged,
poorest, and ostracized members of society. Stevie therefore urged all UN member
states to implement the landmark UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Calling it "an amazing day," Stevie said "I never imagined that I would in my
lifetime be given this honor. But when receiving such an incredible honor, it
inspires me to move and do more - commit myself ... for a lifetime." he said.
"I would hope that every single human being, and every single world leader, will
commit themselves to making this world a better place and accessible for every
single human being on this planet," he said.
"I'm committed to this," Stevie said, "And this honour gives me again another
challenge. And this challenge is like writing another song. At the end of the
day, it's not a challenge to write a song that's a hit. It's going to be number
one. So we're going to win on this one, too."
Appearing on CNN television, Stevie said, "I have a love for humankind. To know
that I’m one of those 10% of the people in the world with disability…I also
challenge the other 90% of the people of the world to do something about it."
Click Image above to view interview on CNN's Connect the World
(Dec. 03 2009)
Click Image above to view CNN coverage of the event
(Dec. 03 2009)