Press Releases

     
    For information only - not an official document.
     Note No. 102
        31 October 2000
     In Innovative Move, United Nations Issues First Novel; Aim 
    Is to Encourage Humanitarian Impulses among Youth

    Secretary-General Commends ”Marie - In Shadow of the Lion”; 
    Story of Lives Broken in World of Hatred, Violence, Indifference

     NEW YORK, 30 October (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) -- In an innovative advocacy effort to save the lives of victims of armed conflict, the United Nations has launched its first novel, Marie - In the Shadow of the Lion.  It has been written by children's author Jerry Piasecki, whose eight earlier novels have been published in the United States, France and Italy.

     This new chapter in the history of the United Nations is a work of fiction based entirely on fact.  It is written for young readers between the ages of 12 and 15 years, aiming to deliver a strong, clear and accurate humanitarian message.  The belief is that if young readers know the truth of what is happening to so many millions of their peers, they will make a commitment to humanitarian principles that will last a lifetime. 

     The story concerns Marie, thirteen years old and her friend Joseph, who is fourteen.  Before they reach their next birthdays, their lives, as they've known them, will cease to exist.  Imagine waking up tomorrow to find that everything in your world has changed.  One day you are happily returning home to your family, the next. . .

     This United Nations story is designed to go beyond statistics and the terrible facts of so many broken lives.  It tells the tale of a young woman in Africa whose hopes for the future are destroyed by the hatred, violence and indifference seen in so many places in our world today. 

     Marie - In the Shadow of the Lion is designed to reach young readers in developed countries, which often support the humanitarian work of the United Nations and its non-governmental partners.  In a foreword to the novel, Secretary-General Kofi Annan writes:  "You, as one of the leaders of tomorrow, have the power to change things.  The choices will be yours.  I hope that your generation will be the first to stand united against evil, injustice, hatred and indifference, and say in one voice:  no more and never again."

    [NOTE:  For further information, please contact Phyllis Lee of OCHA -- (212) 963-4832]

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