On Thursday evening, I found myself honoring Nelson Mandela’s memory in a way that was unexpected yet so poignant. AJLI’s COO, Maureen Mackey, and I attended a brief holiday performance of the Singing Ambassadors, which because of Mr. Mandela’s passing earlier that day, was dedicated to him.
Most of us have never heard of the Singing Ambassadors. They are a group of five actual ambassadors to the United Nations, who are part of the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation (FAF), an organization affiliated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. Since its inception in 1973, FAF has been a pioneer dedicated to creating peace through cultural exchange and the power of the arts.
Four of the five ambassadors were there to perform—His Excellency Guillermo Rischynski, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, His Excellency Antonio Pedro Monteiro Lima, Permanent Representative of Cabo Verde, His Excellency Eduardo Ulibarri, Permanent Representative of Costa Rico and Her Excellency Simona-Mirela Miculesco, Permanent Representative of Romania. Her Excellency Marlene Moses, Permanent Representative of Nauru, had been called away on business.
Before they sang they spoke with emotion about Mr. Mandela. (They also spoke briefly about their recent experience recording their first CD, “Ambassadors Sing for Peace” … in the same studio where Lady Gaga had recorded!) And then they sang a brief program of five songs, most familiar to all of us, but each of which took on heightened meaning because of Mr. Mandela.
They started with the John Lennon classic, Imagine, followed by Paix Sur La Terre, then What a Wonderful World, Blowin’ in the Wind (sung in English, French and Spanish) and finally Heal the World. (I bought the CD.) Each song expressed a wish for, and hope for, a peaceful world.
These ambassadors are not full-time, professional singers, they are professional peace-seekers. There was heart, and caring in their performance and their voices…and sadness about a world without Mr. Mandela. So it’s up to them, and us, to continue to work for a wonderful world that right now at times we can only, maybe barely, imagine.
To learn more about the work of the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, www.faf.org.
To learn more about the Singing Ambassadors, http://ambassadorssingforpeace.bandcamp.com.
To buy the CD visit: www.cdbaby.com/cd/ambassadorssingforpeace