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At a glance: United States of America

Sesame Workshop honours UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman

UNICEF Image: UNICEF image: Ann M. Veneman and Sesame Street's Elmo
© UNICEF video
The muppet, Elmo, from the ‘Sesame Street’ children’s television programme greets UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.

By Kun Li

NEW YORK, USA, 1 June 2006 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman was honoured last night by Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind one of the world’s most popular television programmes for children – ‘Sesame Street’.

At Sesame Workshop’s fourth annual benefit dinner, hosted by TV news host Matt Lauer and the muppet Elmo from ‘Sesame Street’, Ms. Veneman received the award from Workshop founder Joan Ganz Cooney.

“UNICEF and ‘Sesame Street’ share a deep bond. Both organizations reach out to families and communities in need throughout the world,” said Ms. Cooney.

In 2003, Kami – an HIV-positive muppet who appears regularly on ‘Takalani Sesame’, the South African co-production of ‘Sesame Street’ – became a UNICEF global ‘Champion for Children’. Since then, Kami has been able to communicate with children worldwide, promoting messages of acceptance and understanding towards those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Ms. Cooney called Kami one of the ‘Sesame Street’ programme’s proudest achievements.

© UNICEF video
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman is honoured by Joan Ganz Cooney, founder of Sesame Workshop, at its fourth annual benefit dinner held in New York City on 31 May.

‘A special place’

Sesame Workshop honoured Ms. Veneman for her work and leadership on behalf of the world’s children. “Ann has demonstrated her passion for meeting children’s needs through her illustrious career,” said Ms. Cooney. “Whether it is clean water, nutrition or education, her work makes a fundamental difference in the lives of the world’s poorest children.”

Past honourees include Queen Rania of Jordan, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Mrs. Kofi Annan, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

This year’s benefit highlighted Sesame Workshop’s efforts to help young children develop the emotional resilience necessary for coping with today’s world, especially during traumatic events like the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

All of the proceeds from the event will help fund the Workshop’s educational projects for children around the world.

“Sesame Street is not just an extraordinary television neighbourhood, but should remain a special place in all our hearts – a place that reminds us how precious each child is and the importance of the future we bestow upon them,” said Ms. Veneman. “On behalf of UNICEF we look forward to see that partnership continuing for more years to come, and many more sunny days for the world’s children.”




31 May 2006:
UNICEF correspondent Kun Li reports on Sesame Workshop’s annual benefit, which honoured UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman for her work with the world’s children.
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