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At UNICEF, The Spirit of Audrey Hepburn Lives On

Bronze Sculpture in Her Honour To Be Unveiled May 7th in Star-Studded Celebration

NEW YORK, 1 May 2002 - Audrey Hepburn, the beloved actress whose second career as a global ambassador for UNICEF brought joy to hundreds of thousands of children, will be celebrated with the unveiling of a major new sculpture in the public plaza adjacent to UNICEF headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

Copyright: UNICEF/HQ92-1185/Betty Press
In September 1992 in Somalia, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn sits amidst some of the 300 children being cared for by Help the Orphans and Blind, a UNICEF-assisted local NGO.

The unveiling, on 7 May, takes place on the eve of a three-day global summit on children at the United Nations. Several UNICEF celebrities will actively participate in the May 8-10 UN General Assembly Special Session on Children. A follow-up to the 1990 World Summit for Children, the meeting will review progress made for young people in the last decade and recommit countries to concrete action for improving the lives of children. The conference embodies UNICEF's position that investing in children is essential to overcoming poverty - an ideal Ms. Hepburn was deeply committed to.

The seven-foot tall bronze sculpture honouring Ms. Hepburn, entitled The Spirit of Audrey, seeks to convey the unique bond between an adult and a child.

The unveiling will feature many of the extraordinary celebrities who have followed in Ms. Hepburn's footsteps as special representatives of UNICEF around the world. Actor Roger Moore will serve as Master of Ceremonies; singer Harry Belafonte will unveil the statue; the stars Mia Farrow and Isabella Rossellini will be present, and Nane Annan, wife of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, will be a featured speaker.

Ms. Hepburn served as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador from 1988 until her death in 1993.

The sculpture is the creation of renowned artist and sculptor John Kennedy. He was commissioned by Ms. Hepburn's long-time companion, Robert Wolders, who donated the work to UNICEF.

"All of us who loved Audrey are thrilled that this beautiful piece of art will be on permanent display in New York City, a place she cherished, and particularly that its home will be outside UNICEF, the organization to which she devoted so much of her energy and compassion," Mr. Wolders said. "Audrey personified the spirit of UNICEF, and we hope those who see this statue will be inspired by her efforts on behalf of children."

A Tradition of Goodwill

"This ceremony and this beautiful gift give us an opportunity to remember Audrey Hepburn's wonderful way with children, and the commitment she brought to the cause," said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. "She had a great career as an actress, but I think she will be remembered just as much as a humanitarian," Bellamy said. "And that's the beauty of her years with UNICEF: She was an inspiration, she brought enormous world attention to children, she raised the profile of the challenges they face. That's a legacy that lives on in the wonderful ambassadors that UNICEF now has the honour of working with."

Mr. Kennedy's interpretative portrait of Ms. Hepburn reflects the sculptor's lyrical style, which Mr. Wolders said "is particularly well-suited for expressing Ms. Hepburn's grace and gentle nature."

The Spirit of Audrey was originally set to be unveiled last October, but the ceremony was postponed after the September 11 attacks. It is now scheduled for Tuesday, May 7th at 6:30 pm, on the eve of UN General Assembly Special Session on Children. The conference will draw an estimated 70 heads of state or government and 170 national delegations in an international commitment to improving the health, education and protection of children.

UNICEF has a long tradition of working with internationally known personalities, starting with Danny Kaye in the 1950s. They have raised awareness of the many pressing issues concerning children through their media interviews, personal connections and participation in high-profile campaigns. UNICEF works with 17 international and more than 100 national and regional ambassadors.

The role of these representatives has evolved over the years. For example, the latest appointment is renowned photographer Sebastião Salgado, who uses his photography to help UNICEF's advocacy efforts. Many representatives have become specialists on specific subjects, such as Roger Moore on iodine deficiency disorder, Harry Belafonte on HIV/AIDS and Mia Farrow on polio.

The 'Spirit of Audrey' will be unveiled at a ceremony on May 7 from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm, at UNICEF House, 3 UN Plaza, New York City (44th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue).


* * *

Media accreditation is required to attend. Please contact UNICEF Media by Friday May 3:

Gordon Weiss, UNICEF Media, New York, (212) 326-7218, Gordon Weiss

Karuna Nundy, UNICEF Media, New York (212) 303-7941 knundy@unicef.org

Sarah Telford, US Fund for UNICEF, New York (212) 922-2646 stelford@unicefusa.org

For information on/interviews with Robert Wolders, Sean Ferrer and sculptor John Kennedy, please contact:

Jacqueline Markham, Markham/Novell Communications, (212) 687-1765, markham@aol.com


Video b-roll of Ms. Hepburn during her years as a UNICEF Ambassador is available.
B-roll covering Special Session themes is also available: View and order at http://www.unicef.org/broadcast/brolls/specialsession/

A live satellite news feed will be available twice daily during the Special Session.
Learn more at http://www.unicef.org/broadcast/feeds/

Read all about the Special Session on Children at www.unicef.org