At a glance: Japan

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Japan Agnes Chan launches new album at UNICEF HQ in New York

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© UNICEF/HQ06-0058/Markisz
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Japan Agnes Chan performs a song from her new album ‘Forget Yourself’ during the album’s launch at UNICEF HQ in New York.

By Rachel Bonham Carter

NEW YORK, USA, 7 March 2006 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Japan Agnes Chan launched her new album ‘Forget Yourself’ with a live performance at UNICEF Headquarters in New York last night.
 
UNICEF’s Executive Director Ann M. Veneman introduced the singer and thanked her for her unwavering support of the organization and children around the world.

“People like Agnes Chan put the ‘good’ in Goodwill Ambassador,” said Ms. Veneman.

“She has been a tireless advocate for children, particularly children whose lives have been turned upside down by conflict. She has travelled the world and seen the ravages of war first hand – and helped to comfort its most innocent victims.

“The title of the CD ‘Forget Yourself’ helps remind us of the suffering that continues all around the world,” she continued. “The songs were inspired by the children she has met, the difficulties they face and the great hope that exists in spite of it all.”

Onstage Ms. Chan performed 'It’s a Wonder’, a song she originally recorded with another UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Jackie Chan. The song was actually inspired by her own three sons – Arthur (19), Alex (16) and Apollo (9) – who were in the audience to support their mother. The proceeds from ‘It’s a Wonder’, which will be available for download from the UNICEF website later this year, will be donated to UNICEF in honour of the organization’s 60th anniversary.

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© UNICEF/HQ06-0058/Markisz
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Japan Agnes Chan talks with UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman at the launch of Chan’s new album. A portion of proceeds from sales of the album will be donated to UNICEF.

Jackie Chan was unable to attend the launch in person, but the audience was shown a recorded video message from him and Ms. Chan was joined on stage by a life-size cardboard cut-out of her fellow Ambassador instead.

As the Executive Director explained most of the songs on the album were inspired by children Chan has met in her lifetime, and particularly during her missions on behalf of UNICEF as a Goodwill Ambassador for Japan since 1998. In a moving account before each song she described her encounters with a wounded child soldier in southern Sudan, a girl in the Philippines who was exploited for the commercial sex trade when she was just 13 years old, and a young Ethiopian boy who died from malnutrition. 

“I have been able to go on mission every year and have been taught a lot of things by these children,” explained Ms Chan. “They inspired me to work hard, to be hopeful and they always give me a lot of joy. These songs are basically inspired by them.

“I hope that when people listen to this album that they will like the songs. I hope they will listen to the voices of the children within the songs and notice how much suffering they’re going through and that they will open up a little space in their hearts to let the children stay there.”

In a deviation from his usual role, Ms. Veneman’s Senior Communication Advisor, Matt Raymond, played Master of Ceremonies for the evening. The event moved smoothly between speeches and a video message, to the live performance and an informal reception, which allowed the attendees to meet and speak with Agnes Chan.

Alongside her work with UNICEF, Ms Chan, who is originally from Hong Kong, also promotes peace and lobbies on behalf of women and children’s rights. She has a Ph.D. in education from Stanford University and has written more than 70 books. Multitalented Chan is also a TV personality and major pop star in Asia. Her first song, released when Chan was 14 years old, has sold more songs than any other in Hong Kong’s music history.

 


 

 

Video

7 March 2006:
UNICEF correspondent Rachel Bonham Carter reports on the launch of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Japan Agnes Chan’s new album at UNICEF HQ.

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7 March 2006:
UNICEF correspondent Blue Chevigny reports on UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Japan Agnes Chan’s performance at UNICEF HQ in New York for the launch of her new album ‘Forget Yourself’.
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