UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday thanked the Greek government and the Alexander S. Onassis Benefit Foundation who helped "for us to be all together at this concert," which was to be performed by the 62-member National Symphonic Orchestra of Greek Radio and Television (ERT) and leading artists at the hall of UN General Assembly, after midnight Greek time.
The anniversary concert, which is entitled "Greece: poetry and music", is being held both on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, and of Greece's participation at the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for the 2005-2006 period.
The concert is sponsored by the Alexander S. Onassis Benefit Foundation, under the auspices of the Greek Foreign Ministry and with the support of ERT.
Wednesday's UN's annual concert is presented for the first time by Greece.
Leading artists were to perform at the concert with music inspired by the works of poets George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis and Constantine P. Cavafy.
Songs by Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hatzidakis, Spyros Samaras, Dimitris Lagios and Dimitris Papadimitriou would be performed.
The concert was to be watched by Annan, UN officials, permanent representatives and hundreds of diplomats of the organization's 192 member-states, including officials of the political and cultural life of the United States and Greece. The Greek government is represented by Minister of State and Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos.
In a written message, Annan stresses that "Every year, men and women from wherever they come from, wherever they belong, celebrate the Day of the United Nations," noting:” Even though the United Nations is an Organization of States, the rights and freedoms which it defends and promotes belong to all. In order for it to accomplish its mission, the UN needs the support of all the people, wherever they are. And this is valid either when we give the battle against illnesses and hunger, either when we promote the human rights and justice, either when we struggle against terrorism, either when we build peace, either, finally, when we try to make the UN more effective and accountable to those people for the good of whom it was created and exists."
The president of the 61st session of the UN's General Assembly, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, in her own message on the occasion of the concert, noted:” This year, the theme of the Day of the United Nations is the Olive, world symbol of peace from ancient times. It is therefore self-evident why two olive branches surround the globe at the symbol of the United Nations. Thus, the Olive is continuously linked with our Organization."
The president of this year's session of the UN General Assembly expressed her gratitude to the Greek government, noting that "the National Symphonic Orchestra of ERT, which includes some of the most known musicians and performers, will interpret verses written by the greatest contemporary Greek poets."
The President of the Alexander S. Onassis Benefit Foundation, Antonis Papadimitriou, gave a press conference at the Foundation's Cultural Centre in Manhattan on Tuesday. Also present at the press conference were Shasi Tarur, UN deputy secretary-general for communication affairs, ERT president and managing director Christos Panagopoulos, and Greek Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis.
Source: Athens News Agency