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World Health Organization appoints Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as Goodwill Ambassador

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr LEE Jong-wook today appointed the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as WHO Goodwill Ambassador. The appointment comes on the first day of the 58th World Health Assembly.

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is widely acknowledged as one of the finest in the world, with a history dating back more than 150 years. One of its most famous concerts is the annual New Year's Concert, dedicated to the music of the Strauss family and broadcast live to millions worldwide.

As WHO Goodwill Ambassador, the Orchestra will use the universal appeal of music to tell the story of WHO's work in improving people's health. Through its talent and wide reach it will promote key WHO programmes including work on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and polio and raise awareness of other health issues among the millions of people who appreciate their music. In its first function as WHO Goodwill Ambassador, a quartet from the Orchestra performed this morning at the opening of the World Health Assembly.

"I am pleased to appoint the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as WHO's new Goodwill Ambassador," said Dr Lee at the appointment ceremony. "It is indeed a great honour for WHO to be associated with this prestigious orchestra, and I am grateful for their dedication to people's health."

The Orchestra plans to raise awareness about public health issues through concert brochures and programmes. It will also perform concerts dedicated to WHO.

"The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is committed to contributing even more than music to our audiences," said Dr Clemens Hellsberg, President of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. "This new commitment reaffirms our belief in the dignity of life and through this appointment we wish to offer new hope to human beings everywhere for a better, healthier world."

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has already demonstrated its dedication to health. During the 2005 New Year's Concert, the Orchestra presented WHO with a donation of 100 000 Euros, used to provide drinking water to victims of the Asian tsunami.

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For more information contact:

Ms Christine McNab
Communications Officer
Director-General’s Office - WHO
Telephone: +41 22 791 4688
Mobile phone: +41 79 254 6815
E-mail: mcnabc@who.int