|Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Patti Austin, Herbie Hancock, Take 6, and Many Others Perform Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Naomi Campbell, Chris Tucker, Serena Williams, and Others Present to Help Children in War-Ravaged Cities|
Nearly half a million people crowded Rome's historic Circus Maximus last night as some of the world's best-recognized artists and personalities took the stage to launch music legend Quincy Jones' global, humanitarian effort, "We Are the Future." In the tradition of "We Are the World," the concert marked the launch of a worldwide initiative aspiring to create a sustainable chain of support for children in war-ravaged cities. The star-studded event was globally tele- and web-cast to draw the eyes of the world to the alarming increase in mortality rates among children in war-torn countries.
Among those who performed were Carlos Santana, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, Angelique Kidjo, Soundz of South Africa, Carmen Consoli, Cirque Du Soleil, Herbie Hancock, Patti Austin, Take 6, Josh Groban, Juanes, Karina, Fher (of Mana), Kazem Al Sahir, Khaled, Noa, Rifat Salamat Ali Kahn, Simon Shaheen, the cast of Stomp, and Zucchero, among others. Oprah Winfrey, Chris Tucker, Angelina Jolie, Francesco Totti, Quincy Jones, Naomi Campbell, and Serena Williams presented, among others.
"We are honored by the great turnout. It warms my heart that so many people have donated extraordinary amounts of time and energy to take responsibility for caring for the children of the world," said Quincy Jones, executive producer of the concert, speaking for "We Are the Future." "We can no longer afford to turn the other cheek as our children, our future, slip through the cracks. This day is a global outcry for all the children in need in war-torn countries."
In the last decade alone, 2 million children were killed, 6 million injured and 12 million left homeless as the result of regional conflicts. In developing countries that are in conflict or post-conflict situations, 30,000 children under the age of five die every day, many from easily preventable causes.
Last night's kick-off concert was broadcast live over MTV Italy, Yahoo!, and XM Radio. It will air internationally on MTV (in the USA on May 28th, at 8pm). Entrance to the concert is free, but proceeds from the broadcast and related merchandise sales will benefit "We Are the Future" programs, including child centers in six cities worldwide. The first center opened April 8, 2004 in Kigali, Rwanda. Other centers will open later this year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Asmara, Eritrea; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Kabul, Afghanistan; and Nablus on the West Bank.
The ultimate goal of "We Are the Future" is the creation of child centers in cities striving for stability after years of violence. The child centers will offer a beacon of hope and serve as a training ground, empowering young people to affect positive social change in their communities. "We Are the Future" is enlisting the ongoing involvement of the international community through a global communications and fundraising campaign.
"Quincy Jones is sounding a powerful alarm call, engaging the world in an unprecedented program changing the fate of suffering children," says Uri Savir, President and CEO of The Glocal Forum. "Starting with last night's event, this initiative will integrate global and local powers, motivating people from all over the world to invest in children. We expect city after city to partner with conflict areas, creating a global network to support children in need."
James Wolfesohn, president of the World Bank, said, "If we act now with realism and foresight, if we show courage, if we think globally and allocate our resources accordingly, we can give our children a more peaceful and equitable world. One where suffering will be reduced. Where children everywhere will have a sense of hope. This is not just a dream. It is our responsibility."
The concert would not have been possible without the support and hospitality of the City of Rome, led by Mayor Walter Veltroni, who said, "The City of Rome is honored to be a partner of this extraordinary project. The citizens of Rome have always been in the first row when it comes to fighting poverty and injustice around the world. We believe that building a different future for Africa such as for any area where war and poverty kills millions is not only a moral duty but is also essential for our future as human beings."
"We Are the Future" is executive produced by Quincy Jones in association with the Rome-based production company Zone Attive and directed by award-winning director Julia Knowles. The campaign is the collective dream of Quincy Jones' Listen Up Foundation; The Glocal Forum, the nonprofit organization designing and implementing "We Are the Future" programs and founded by chief Oslo Peace Accords negotiator Uri Savir; the City of Rome, led by Mayor Walter Veltroni; and visionary leader for peace Hani Masri. Together in a strategic partnership with the World Bank and its president James Wolfensohn, the "We Are the Future" co-founders are working to improve the lives of children victimized by conflict.
For information visit www.wearethefuture.com.