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Press Release

Harry Belafonte, Just Back from South Africa,
To Join UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Available for Interviews

New York, 22 June 2001 - UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte, fresh from a 10-day visit to South Africa to see first-hand the impact of AIDS and the efforts to fight it, will take part in the UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS next week.

On an itinerary that took him to Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, and Cape Town, Mr. Belafonte and his wife Julie visited the homes of people living with HIV and AIDS, experienced education and prevention programs led by young people, met with leading South African artists, spoke to Parliament and held meetings with a wide range of civic leaders, including President Thabo Mbeki and former President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel.

"As artists, our role is not only to show what the world is, but to show what the world should be," Belafonte said, explaining his commitment to the campaign against AIDS and his desire to visit the front lines. Belfonte said he was impressed with the efforts of young people, artists, and the South African government to confront the pandemic.

On Tuesday, 26 June, Mr. Belafonte takes part in a Special Session panel on Children Orphaned by AIDS (1:30pm, Hammarskjold Library Auditorium) and later holds a briefing for the UN press corps (3:30pm, 2nd floor briefing room).

On Wednesday 27 June, Harry and Julie Belafonte will co-host a reception with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (5:00pm, UNICEF House, 44th Street) to which the press is invited.

A great human rights advocate, renowned concert singer, and film, theatre and television star, Mr. Belafonte has served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 1987. He has contributed immensely to the cause of children through music, arts, and advocacy visits to a number of African countries.

The couple recently established the Harry and Julie Belafonte Fund for HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, to be administered by the US Fund for UNICEF.

***

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Shima Islam, UNICEF Media, New York (212) 824-6949
Mohammad Jalloh, UNICEF Media, New York (212) 326-7516