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    For information only - not an official document.
    Note No:  85
    NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS Release Date:   21 March 2000
    ‘Millennium Dreamers’ Delegates to Be Announced
    During Special Event at Headquarters, 21 March

     Nane Annan Will Welcome Young People Involved in Community Service
     

     NEW YORK, 20 March (UN Headquarters) -- The names of 2,000 young people from around the world who have made a difference in their communities will be announced at a ceremony at United Nations Headquarters on 21 March 2000.  The "delegates", aged 8 to 15, are being recognized through the Millennium Dreamers campaign, which was sponsored by McDonald's Corporation and The Walt Disney Company, in association with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  The nominees represent more than 80 countries.

     Nane Annan, wife of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, will welcome children from the local area who were selected as Millennium Dreamers, and they will speak about their activities and the importance of community service.  Nina Sibal, Representative of UNESCO to the United Nations, will participate.  Representatives of McDonald's and Disney will be present, along with spokespersons from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Junior Achievement, and the National Latino Children's Institute, organizations which were among the programme partners assisting with the selection process.

     The Millennium Dreamers campaign was launched last fall, when children aged 8 to 15 were invited to complete a nomination form describing their community-service activity.  Expert judges around the globe reviewed thousands of entries to select the final 2,000 "delegates" on the basis of creativity, inspirational value and impact of the contribution on the community and beyond.

     Five Millennium Dreamers will be attending the event at Headquarters.  Zachary Baggot, age 9, from Oceanport, New Jersey, has been networking in order to find a bone-marrow donor for a child with whom he once shared a hospital room.  Michael Block, age 9, from Forest Hills, New York, founded the Crime Victim's Rights Organization for Kids to help raise money for children who are crime victims or have seen crimes committed.  Donavan Mitchem, age 11, from Chicago, Illinois, is a correspondent for Oprah Winfrey, writes for the Chicago Defender and is President of the Kiddy Group at Rainbow Push, a multi-ethnic, multi-issue non-governmental organization working towards social, racial and economic justice.  Jamie Morales, age 16, from Wichita, Kansas, has created her own AIDS-education programme, emphasizing "being affected, not infected", and has spoken before more than 7,000 people.  Makenzie Snyder, age 9, from Bowie, Maryland, organizes donations of luggage -- each piece containing a note and a stuffed animal -- for children living in foster care.

     All 2,000 Millennium Dreamers will be flown to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, 8 to 10 May 2000, to share their inspirational stories with the world and to participate in an interactive symposium, "Kids Inspiring Kids for a Better Tomorrow", at the Walt Disney Institute.

     "We are delighted that McDonald's ... [is] ... joining Disney to salute young people through this unprecedented global children's recognition programme", said Jack M. Greenberg, McDonald's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.  "McDonald's was founded on the principle of giving back to the communities we serve and our Millennium Dreamers programme is the perfect way to reinforce this important part of our heritage."

     "The glare of the headlines sometimes blinds us to the incredibly selfless acts performed daily by young people everywhere to make our world a better place", said Disney Chairman and CEO Michael D. Eisner.  "Disney and McDonald's are proud to celebrate the millennium by honouring these leaders of the next century and showcasing their stories."

     On the occasion of the first International Youth Day on 16 August, the Secretary-General said that "... it is young people's hope and energy, their enthusiasm and willingness to experiment, that make society move forward; young people coming together to work out their own agenda, without waiting for governments to tell them what to do; succeeding generations making sure they do indeed succeed in more senses than one".  In recent years, the Secretary-General has increasingly stressed the importance of youth involvement, as well as public-private partnership, in working towards international goals.

     For more information, please call (212) 963-6923 or (212) 963-7346; for media accreditation, (212) 963-6934; for United Nations television coverage, (212) 963-7650.

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