Secretary-General designates West-Eastern Divan Orchestra as 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 (UNOG), attended by the Secretary-General and Daniel Barenboim, the Orchestra’s co-founder and a UN 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.

Co-founded by 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 inter-cultural 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 Barenboim.

United Nations Global Advocates, Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors advocate on behalf of the UN 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.