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Film Festival In War Against Hunger

UN Food Agency Enlists Latin Artists, Gulf Arab Film Festival In War Against Hunger

New York, Dec 15 2006 4:00PM

The United Nations World Food Programme (<"">WFP) has joined some of the most influential artists, intellectuals and business people of the Spanish-speaking world at the launch of the Latin America Solidarity Action Foundation (ALAS), an initiative of Latin Grammy Award winner Shakira to fund the fight against hunger and poverty.

“This initiative has the potential to build the kind of consensus needed for governments and societies to take serious steps to eliminate hunger and malnutrition,” WFP Regional Director Pedro Medrano said at the launch earlier this week in Panama City.

“I was particularly impressed by the words of Mexican businessman Carlos Slim, who pointed out that ‘our concern shouldn’t just be the country our children will inherit, but also the children our countries will inherit’,” he added.

Nobel award-winning writer Gabriel García Márquez will chair the ALAS Foundation, whose Spanish acronym also means wings. The artists intend to stage a series of concerts to raise funds to assist poor, hungry and malnourished children.

ALAS in turn will provide direct assistance to well-known civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated to serving Latin America’s needy children. Celebrities supporting the initiative include Alejandro Sanz, Juanes, Juan Luis Guerra, Ruben Blades, Fher Olvera, Diego Torres, Chayanne, Emmanuel, Miguel Bosé, and many more artists.

According to ALAS, 350,000 children die in Latin America of different causes related to poverty, and 40 million work in the streets. As many as 10 million children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition.

In another initiative halfway around the world, the Dubai International Film Festival held a fund-raising event for “A Package for Life for the Children of Niger,” a project co-managed by WFP and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that seeks to send as many children as possible to school in one of the poorest countries where youngsters are most at risk and severely deprived.

The event followed a screening of the award-winning film All the Invisible Children, which highlights the rights of millions of children and adolescents whose lives are marred by exploitation and war. An estimated 300 million children in the world suffer from hunger and over 100 million have never been to school.

The events are just the latest in a series of WFP efforts to raise funds and awareness for hunger worldwide. Earlier this month, the agency enlisted stars of the film Blood Diamond, set against the backdrop of the devastating chaos and civil war in Sierra Leone, in the effort.


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