Starstudded lineup to perform at UNbacked Pavarotti memorial concert

16 September 2008The star-studded line-up of artists performing at next month’s United Nations-backed memorial concert and ceremony in Jordan to honour the late Luciano Pavarotti was announced today by the Italian tenor’s widow at a press conference in Milan. Andrea Bocelli and Sting are among the luminaries of classical and pop music slated to play at the concert, which will take place next month on Mr. Pavarotti’s birthday in Petra, the renowned World Heritage site. The funds raised will go to projects in Afghanistan focusing on the most vulnerable, mostly women and children, of the 5 million refugees returning from Pakistan, Iran and neighbouring States to the eastern provinces of their country. These projects are jointly run by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).The projects will include school building programmes; the provision of health, skills and literacy training; and the construction of micro-hydropower and irrigation canals to bring electricity and improve agricultural production in Afghanistan.The event will also be supported by Italy, who announced a donation of over 2 million euros for the joint UNHCP-WFP project in Afghanistan, and hosted by Princess Haya Bint al Hussein of Jordan.“For over 10 years, until his death in September 2007, Maestro Pavarotti actively supported UNHCR projects in Kosovo, Pakistan, Zambia and Iraq,” the agency said in a joint press release with WFP.“UNHCR remembers the Maestro as a unique artist, an extremely generous man and a friend. Luciano Pavarotti was one of the greatest supporters of UNHCR’s work, using his amazing talents to raise awareness of refugee issues around the world,” added Radhouane Nouicer, UNHCR Director of the Middle East and North Africa Office in Geneva.“Millions of Afghans live in dire poverty. In particular returnees, who after many years arrive home needing everything: food, shelter and a future,” noted Susana Rico, WFP director in Afghanistan.“The spirit of the great Maestro Pavarotti brings people together, even now. We will always remember him for his extraordinary efforts to help reach those in need,” she added.Other musicians on the list of performers announced by Mr. Pavarotti’s widow, Nicoletta Mantovani, included Jovanotti, Zucchero, Laura Pausini, Angela Gheorghiu, Andrea Griminelli, Cynthia Lawrence and Roberto Alagna, and the concert will be conducted by Eugene Kohn.

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