UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has designated Lang Lang a United Nations Messenger of Peace, with a special focus on global education. The star pianist performed Chopin’s Waltz No 1 at the special designation ceremony held yesterday at the United Nations Headquarters. As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the past 10 years, Lang Lang has helped to benefit the lives of children around the world.
The pianist now joins 11 other UN Messengers of Peace, including conductor Daniel Barenboim and cellist Yo-Yo Ma – each recognised names in fields of art, film, literature, music and sports – who help to raise awareness of the body’s work and ideals through public appearances and humanitarian activities.
‘As Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, you have used your unique ability to inspire audiences around the world to help improve the lives of children,’ said Ban Ki-moon during the designation ceremony. ‘I am pleased that you will now be promoting global education, a key driver of human progress and wellbeing. I look forward to working with you to advance my Global Education First Initiative.’
Lang Lang responded: ‘My passion for playing the piano is only as good as the people it can touch. The youth of today is the world audience of tomorrow. I will do everything I can to communicate the message of education to everyone that I connect with in the future.’
In October 2008 the pianist launched the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, aimed at inspiring the next generation of classical music lovers and performers, and encouraging ‘music performance at all levels as a means of social development for youth, building self-confidence and a drive for excellence’.