AFP – The United Nations on Thursday tapped genre-defying music icon Stevie Wonder to become a “Messenger for Peace,” focusing on the battle for disabled rights.
Wonder — who has won dozens of Grammys and an Oscar for his soundtrack featuring the hit tune “I Just Called to Say I Love You” — has been blind since birth.
But it is not Wonder’s first time stepping away from the ivories and onto the political stage, having once campaigned against apartheid in South Africa
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced the appointment by hailing Wonder as a “musical genius” and “great humanitarian, who has campaigned against apartheid, for children in need, and for persons with disabilities.”
Ban said Wonder would help promote the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which entered into force in 2008.
The secretary general noted that one in ten people suffer from some form of disability.
“It’s beyond my ability to fathom that 10 percent of the people of this world don’t matter to the other 90 percent,” Wonder said, “I’m not able to believe that.”
He vowed to “make the world more accessible.”
“I’ll sing songs. Speak on it and sing about it. I plan to do that”.
Other messengers of peace include Nobel Price winner Elie Wiesel, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, actors Michael Douglas and George Clooney and actress Charlize Theron.