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At a glance: Japan

Yokohama ‘Peace Messengers’ bring their city’s goodwill to UNICEF and UN

© UN Photo/2006/Debebe
Four elementary and middle school students from Japan brought a message of peace to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah, and presented more than $123,000 donated by residents of the city of Yokohama.

By Sabine Dolan

NEW YORK, USA, 8 November 2006 – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah met with a youth delegation from Yokohoma, Japan at UN headquarters in New York yesterday.

Four elementary and middle school students delivered a message of peace and presented a contribution of $123,715 donated to UNICEF by residents of Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest city. The children, ranging from 11 to 15 years of age, were selected as ‘Peace Messengers’ to represent some 270,000 Yokohama students who are working together for peaceful and humanitarian causes.

“It’s so nice to see young people building bridges between nations,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah. “UNICEF is very proud to be involved with this initiative and to see the involvement of young children acting as messengers for peace – because without peace and security, there can be no social and economic development, no realization of the Millennium Development Goals and, of course, no rights of children.”

‘Peace Messenger City’

During their meeting, the young students shared their visions of peace with Mr. Annan and Ms. Salah, and described some of the measures they have taken to help people living in poor nations. Shinichiro Fujisake, 15, explained how he was helping to collect umbrellas for the children of Nepal, for example.

The Yokohama delegation will participate in classes at the United Nations International School and will hold a press conference on 9 November at the City of Yokohama Representative’s office in New York before returning to Japan on Saturday.

Yokohama’s history of involvement in a range of international exchange activities won it official recognition by the United Nations as a ‘Peace Messenger City’ in 1987.



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