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At a glance: United States of America

UNICEF Snowflake, symbol of hope, illuminated in New York

© Jeff Connell/Camera One
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman (left), US Fund for UNICEF President and CEO Caryl Stern and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons watch as Mr. Simmons’s daughters flip switch to illuminate the UNICEF Snowflake in New York.

NEW YORK, USA 19 November 2007 – Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, along with his two daughters Ming Lee and Aoki, illuminated the UNICEF Snowflake on Saturday evening at the busy New York intersection of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, in front of Tiffany & Company’s flagship store here.

For more than 20 years, the Snowflake has been a New York City holiday attraction. Since 2002, when it was dedicated to UNICEF by the Stonbely Family Foundation, it has been a beacon of hope, peace and compassion for vulnerable children around the world.

UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman spoke at the Snowflake lighting event, citing positive achievements and progress for children.

Ms. Veneman noted, for example, that for the first time annual global deaths of children under age five have now fallen below the 10 million mark. She also spoke of the work that must be done to help children who still die from preventable causes; to aid millions of young people – many of them girls – who are not in school; and to prevent the ongoing recruitment of child soldiers.

© US Fund for UNICEF
The UNICEF Snowflake, an illuminated crystal ornament, graces the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in New York City each holiday season.

Bi-coastal Snowflake events

US Fund for UNICEF President and CEO Caryl Stern went on to introduce three young guests at the Snowflake lighting: namely, this year’s winners of the greeting card contest sponsored annually by Pier 1 Imports, UNICEF and the Weekly Reader.

Artwork submitted by Josephine Kao and Karen Hong in the United States, and Shawn Williams in Canada, was chosen from thousands of entries and will be reproduced on Pier 1 UNICEF greeting cards.

Also on Saturday, a second UNICEF Snowflake was illuminated by actress and UNICEF supporter Sharon Stone at the intersection of Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California. The lighting ceremonies in both New York and Beverly Hills are to be followed by Snowflake fundraising galas that will be held in the coming weeks.

The UNICEF Snowflake is the largest outdoor chandelier of its kind, weighing about 3,300 pounds and containing more than 16,000 Baccarat crystal prisms. It was designed, engineered and entirely handcrafted by designer Ingo Maurer and his team in Germany, in a unique collaboration with Baccarat.



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