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Universal teams with UNICEF for child rights

Thursday, 9 March 2000: Fievel Mousekewitz, beloved by children as the star of the popular animated An American Tail home videos, inspired by the hit motion picture, will become the official icon for UNICEF's worldwide media promotion of children's rights at an Ellis Island ceremony tomorrow. The event is being announced by Marjorie Newman-Williams, Director of Communications for UNICEF and Craig Kornblau, President of Universal Studios Home Video.

The Ellis Island event will recognize the immigrant cartoon character Fievel as a potent means of promoting friendship and worldwide support for the fundamental rights of tens of millions of children in dire need of education, basic health services and help in the face of natural and human disasters.

"Fievel Mousekewitz is a popular and endearing character for children everywhere," said Ms. Newman-Williams. "His immigration experiences mirror the adventures and triumphs of children of all cultures. We welcome our partnership with Universal because it will help us to touch on themes that will ring true for families around the world."

Mr Kornblau said the pairing of Fievel and UNICEF is a natural union. "Both Fievel and UNICEF embrace values which salute and celebrate our richest treasures - all the children of the world. We are proud to be associated with UNICEF and look forward to a long working relationship."

As a UNICEF symbol identified with child rights media initiatives, Fievel will promote universal friendship and understanding while celebrating cultural diversity worldwide.

Fievel will become "Children's Fun Spokesperson" for the UNICEF International Children's Day of Broadcasting (ICDB). The next celebration of ICDB will be 10 December 2000.

The International Children's Day of Broadcasting has been celebrated every year since 1992. Over 2,000 broadcasters take part and the key to the day is participation by children: they become reporters, producers, film-makers and radio talk-show hosts. This year children are being given the chance to interview leaders of their choice, in whatever field they work, be it from the worlds of politics, religion and business or from sport, music, the arts or community activism, the media, education and health.

"All of the rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child are included in the scope of UNICEF's advocacy and we welcome alliances with creative forces such as Universal," added Ms Newman-Williams.

In addition to playing a significant role in ICDB, Fievel will be featured in several UNICEF public service announcements as well as the UNICEF web site located at www.unicef.org.

UNICEF, the only UN organization devoted exclusively to children, works with partners to achieve children's rights to such basics as primary health care, quality education and safe water and sanitation in developing countries.

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Please contact William Hetzer (212-326-7290) with comments or requests for more information


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