Monday, August 13, 2012

Beyonce sings 'I was here' at the U.N. for World Humanitarian Day - The Capitol Column

Beyonce sang “I Was Here” at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on Saturday to honor 22 humanitarian aid workers who ere killed in August of 2003.

“She was fantastic,” Sir Mark Lvall Grant, U.K. Ambassador to the U.N., told CBS News after the performance he attended with his daughter.

“World Humanitarian Day is a chance to pay tribute to the commitment and courage of those who work in some of the world’s most dangerous places,” the ambassador said. “It’s fantastic that a world-acclaimed artist like Beyonce is helping to raise awareness for this important cause â€" she’s reminding us that we can all play a part in relieving suffering around the world.”

The performance will be aired on August 19, the ninth anniversary of the bloodiest attack against the United Nations. On that date in 2003, Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the late High Commissioner of Human Rights and Head of the Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs was killed in Baghdad along with 21 of his colleagues. A music video of the event will be produced by Ridley Scott & Associates, with the goal of getting 1 billion people to view it and learn more about the World Humanitarian Day campaign.

“We hope to have 1 billion people visit the site,” World Humanitarian Day spokesperson Kirsten Mildren told CBS News.

“I believe it will happen,” added Under-Secretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.

“I think it is great way to spread the word of humanitarian action beyond the U.N. and get the general public involved, because Beyonce is the missing link between the U.N. and the public.,” said the commissioner’s son, Laurent Vieira de Mello, to CBS News.

Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson called the attack a “dark day in the history of the U.N.” in his opening remarks.

Beyonce performed in the General Assembly, the largest room at the United Nations headquarters, which has a capacity of 1,800 people. It is the same place that has seen speakers including Col. Muammar Qaddafi, Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro and every U.S. president since the founding of the U.N. In September it is where the General Debate of world leaders will take place.

“I’d like to ask everyone to make sure they’re a part of August 19th,” said artist Beyonce in closing. “It’s such a beautiful, beautiful day, and I’d like to honor the 22 people who lost their lives. God bless you all. Thank you so much for having me.”

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