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George Harrison honoured on 35th anniversary of ‘Concert for Bangladesh’

© UNICEF video
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, Olivia Harrison and Jay Marciano, President of Madison Square Park Entertainment, with the George Harrison 'Walk of Fame' plaque.

By Rachel Bonham Carter

NEW YORK, USA, 1 August 2006 – Thirty-five years after George Harrison’s ‘Concert for Bangladesh’ raised over $15 million for UNICEF, the late Beatle has been inducted into the Madison Square Garden ‘Walk of Fame’.

The concert was the first of its kind and is recognized as the inspiration behind more recent humanitarian fundraising ventures like ‘Band Aid’ and ‘Live Aid’.

“George Harrison was a pioneer who understood the power of rock music to move people to embrace causes larger than themselves,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman on the 35th anniversary of the concert.

She was speaking at the presentation of a plaque which commemorates the event where it happened, at Madison Square Garden.

In 1971, the venue played host to an unprecedented group of musicians, pulled together by Harrison, including Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and Ringo Starr.

 

© UNICEF video
A plaque commemorating George Harrison and the Concert for Bangladesh for the Madison Square Garden 'Walk of Fame' was presented to Olivia Harrison.

In response to a call from Bengali musician Ravi Shankar, they helped raise the profile of the plight of children caught in political and military turmoil in Bangladesh, a crisis which worsened when devastating floods hit the region.
 
Last autumn, Olivia Harrison, who received the plaque today, opened a fund in her late husband’s name with an initial donation of $1 million. The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF specifically targets UNICEF programs in Bangladesh but also provides lifesaving assistance to children suffering from civil conflict, natural disasters and poverty elsewhere.

Speaking at Madison Square Garden at midday, Ms. Harrison said: “When people walk through this Walk of Fame and they come to the plaque for the ‘Concert for Bangladesh’, I hope they’re reminded how fortunate we are to be on the giving end of aid and not the receiving end of charity. And I think that one thought is motivation enough for us to continue to help others.”

The launch of the fund coincided with the release of a DVD and CD of the ‘Concert for Bangladesh’. Already more than 3 million copies have been sold and all artists’ royalties from the DVD and CD continue to go to UNICEF.

“To date the US Fund and the George Harrison family have generated more than $1 million for children in need through sales of the CD and DVD,” said Jay Aldous, Vice President of Marketing, Communication and Corporate Partnership for the US Fund for UNICEF. “I look forward to collaborating in the future to generate even more funding for UNICEF programmes around the world.”

 

 

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