Moroccan writer among goodwill ambassadors against racism
Morocco-International, Culture, 12/11/1999
Moroccan writer Tahar Benjelloun was named in Geneva on Friday goodwill ambassador to promote awareness for the world conference against racism to be held in 2001 in South Africa.
Benjelloun has been named goodwill ambassador by U.N High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson Friday-- commemorating the Human Rights Day-- along with six other outstanding personalities from the world of literature, arts, music and human rights.
These are Noble literature prize holder Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, Seamus Heaney of Ireland, Panamaian actor and musician Ruben Blades, Indian Sitarist Ravi Shankar, former president of Iceland Vigdis Finnbogadottir, and children's rights defender Marian Wright Edelman of the United States.
Robinson said the commitment of these outstanding individuals to tolerance and communities is the kind of leadership needed as we prepare to tackle in an international forum one of humanity's most insidious and persistent ills.
Benjelloun said at a news conference here that combating racism must start at primary school, as children are more receptive and have a great capacity to learn. Anti-racism education must be part of the syllabi of all schools throughout the world. If we cannot change today's adults, let's at least free children, tomorrow's men and women, of this stupidity and ignorance, he said.
For the Moroccan writer, struggle against racism requires daily work and constant vigilance to change mentalities and legal texts.
Benjelloun, winner of French prestigious Goncourt prize, had written a book on racism under the title "le Racism Explique a ma Fille" (Racism explained to my Daughter).
The 2001 world conference will be preceded by a series of regional conferences across the world and by two preparatory sessions in Geneva in May 2000 and 2001.
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