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At a glance: United States of America

Goodwill Ambassador Ricardo Montaner hosts benefit concert for disabled children

© UNICEF/2007/Belmonte
UNICEF Regional Director for the Americas and the Caribbean Nils Kastberg speaks at a pre-concert press conference with UNICEF Regional Goodwill Ambassador Ricardo Montaner (left).

By Wivina Belmonte

MIAMI, USA, 31 December 2007 – UNICEF Regional Goodwill Ambassador Ricardo Montaner and a star-studded cast of Latin American singers performed a  benefit concert for a standing-room-only audience in the American Airlines Arena in Miami.

The concert, called ‘We are children too’, was hosted and organized by Mr. Montaner. He was joined by the Colombian singer Juanes and a host of other celebrities including: Juan Luis Guerra, Luis Fonsi, Sin Banderas and David Bisbal.

Benefits from the concert will go to support Mr. Montaner’s ‘Windows to the Skies’ foundation, which cares for disabled children.

‘Miracles can come true’

In a press conference before the concert, Mr. Montaner said: “This concert is proof that miracles can come true. Six months ago, the idea for this concert was just that – an idea. Yet here we are tonight. We see miracles come true for children all the time, when people make time and show they care, like they are doing here tonight. So often excluded, these children have a lot to give and deserve special care. It is really important for us to use our celebrity, to do good and to give back.”

UNICEF’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Nils Kastberg, spoke of the special role of the entertainment community when it comes to the rights of children with disabilities.

© UNICEF/2007/Belmonte
Colombian singer Juanes (left) with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ricardo Montaner (right) at the ‘We are children too’ benefit concert in Miami.

“This concert and Ricardo’s special commitment are a testament to what we can all achieve, when the will and the commitment are there,” Mr. Kastberg said. “The timing of this special evening is particularly opportune, since it helps raise public attention and awareness to these most excluded of excluded children – children with special abilities – and to a process under way aimed at ratifying the Convention for Children with Disabilities.”

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the United Nations in December of 2006 and needs to be ratified by 20 countries to come into effect. So far, 11 countries have ratifiedte Convention.

Dedicated to of disability rights

At the concert, the artists committed to meeting again for a similar event next year, likely to be hosted in the Dominican Republic. American Airlines, a UNICEF Change for Good partner, ad generously donated the Miami concert venue.

Mr. Montaner became a UNICEF Regional Goodwill Ambassador in November 2007, with a commitment to devote his time and attention to children with disabilities. In early December, during a concert in Buenos Aires, he was joined onstage by five Argentinean athletes, all members of the National Special Olympics team. Also present was an eloquent advocate for the rights of disabled people, Alejandra Forlan, a quadriplegic and the sister of soccer sensation and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Diego Forlan from Uruguay.

They were joined by singing legend Mercedes Sosa, in what turned out to be a powerful and emotional moment, as they sang ‘Y dale alegria a mi corazon’ (‘And bring joy to my heart’).



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