|Yokohama ‘Peace Messengers’ (from left) Misa Imai, 14, Naomi Furutachi and Souichiro Watanabe, both 12, and Masaya Koga, 14, present UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman with a check for approximately $150,000.|
By Elizabeth Kiem
NEW YORK, USA, 30 October 2007 – Four young ‘Peace Messengers’ from Japan’s second largest city today presented UNICEF with a cheque for 17.3 million yen, or about $150,000.
The donation represents the contributions of the residents of Yokohama, who have supported the organization with an annual gift since 1986, when their city was officially designated a ‘Peace Messenger City’ by the United Nations in recognition of its history of international exchange activities.
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman accepted the cheque along with a message of peace from Yokohama Mayor Hiroshi Nakada.
“What you have done is truly helping the children of the world and you should be very proud of that,” Ms. Veneman told the young ambassadors, ages 12 to 14. The children are the winners of a contest awarding the best peace-related speech.
Briefing on UNICEF’s work
Ms. Veneman also told the delegation that she looks forward to visiting their city in May of next year, when Yokohama will host the Tokyo International Conference on African Development.
During their visit to UNICEF House, the young people were given a presentation on the organization’s programmes. Masaya Koga, 14, said he was particularly impressed to learn about the work being done in Angola on landmine awareness.
Following the events at UNICEF, the Peace Messengers met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as representatives of the United Nations International School and the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations.