• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

Pavarotti Memorial Concert of musical stars to help Afghan refugees

News Stories, 18 September 2008

© Pavarotti archive

MILAN, Italy, Sept. 18 (UNHCR) The widow of tenor Luciano Pavarotti has unveiled plans for a tribute charity concert and memorial ceremony to be held in Petra, Jordan on 11 and 12 October.

Under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya Bint al Hussein of Jordan, a UN Messenger of Peace, the concert at the renowned archaeological site at Petra will generate funds for projects in Afghanistan by the UN Refugee Agency and the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

"It was Luciano's dream to sing in Petra," Nicoletta Mantovani told journalists at a press conference in Milan on Tuesday. "I'm very happy that this dream, thanks to princess Haya, is now turning into reality."

Some of the world's biggest stars of classical and pop music many of them veterans of the "Pavarotti & Friends" concerts will take the stage together on Oct. 12. They include Sting, Andrea Bocelli, Jovanotti, Laura Pausini, Zucchero, Angela Gheorghiu, Andrea Griminelli, Cynthia Lawrence and Roberto Alagna. The concert will be conducted by Eugene Kohn.

In a surprise announcement, Mantovani said Spanish tenor José Carreras who joined Pavarotti and Placido Domingo to popularize opera as the Three Tenors will also take part in the concert. Bono, the lead singer of U2, will also join through a video satellite link,

The concert will be broadcast by Mediaset on Italian Rete4, Iris and Spanish Telecinco, but "there are many broadcasters interested in showing the concert all over the world," said Mediaset president Fedele Confalonieri.

Elisabetta Belloni, director general for development cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also announced that the government of Italy will donate 2.1 million Euros (about $2.9 million) to UNHCR and WFP projects in Afghanistan.

Since 2002, over 5 million Afghans have returned to the eastern provinces of their country from Pakistan, Iran and elsewhere. The joint UNHCR/WFP projects will focus on the most vulnerable of them especially women and children and pay to construct schools, provide health, skills and literacy training, and build micro-hydropower and irrigation canals to bring electricity and improve agricultural production.

For over ten years, until his death in September 2007, Pavarotti actively supported UNHCR projects in Kosovo, Pakistan, Zambia, and Iraq. For his continuous commitment to refugee causes, Pavarotti received UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award and was named a UN Messenger of Peace.

"Pavarotti was not only an extraordinary tenor but also a man who did a lot for those in need, in particular for refugees. Over the years, he donated to UNHCR $7 million for projects aimed at improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable uprooted people," said Laura Boldrini, UNHCR spokeswoman in Italy. "We are grateful to Nicoletta Mantovani for keeping her husband's commitment alive."




UNHCR country pages

Related Internet Links

UNHCR is not responsible for the content and availability of external internet sites

Afghanistan: Rebuilding a War-Torn Country

The cycle of life has started again in Afghanistan as returnees put their shoulders to the wheel to rebuild their war-torn country.

Return is only the first step on Afghanistan's long road to recovery. UNHCR is helping returnees settle back home with repatriation packages, shelter kits, mine-awareness training and vaccination against diseases. Slowly but surely, Afghans across the land are reuniting with loved ones, reconstructing homes, going back to school and resuming work. A new phase in their lives has begun.

Watch the process of return, reintegration, rehabilitation and reconstruction unfold in Afghanistan through this gallery.

Afghanistan: Rebuilding a War-Torn Country

Rebuilding Lives in Afghanistan

With elections scheduled in October, 2004 is a crucial year for the future of Afghanistan, and Afghans are returning to their homeland in record numbers. In the first seven months of 2004 alone, more than half a million returned from exile. In all, more than 3.6 million Afghans have returned since UNHCR's voluntary repatriation programme started in 2002.

The UN refugee agency and its partner organisations are working hard to help the returnees rebuild their lives in Afghanistan. Returnees receive a grant to cover basic needs, as well as access to medical facilities, immunisations and landmine awareness training.

UNHCR's housing programme provides tool kits and building supplies for families to build new homes where old ones have been destroyed. The agency also supports the rehabilitation of public buildings as well as programmes to rehabilitate the water supply, vocational training and cash-for-work projects.

Rebuilding Lives in Afghanistan

The Reality of Return in Afghanistan

Beyond the smiles of homecoming lie the harsh realities of return. With more than 5 million Afghans returning home since 2002, Afghanistan's absorption capacity is reaching saturation point.

Landmine awareness training at UNHCR's encashment centres – their first stop after returning from decades in exile – is a sombre reminder of the immense challenges facing this war-torn country. Many returnees and internally displaced Afghans are struggling to rebuild their lives. Some are squatting in tents in the capital, Kabul. Basic needs like shelter, land and safe drinking water are seldom met. Jobs are scarce, and long queues of men looking for work are a common sight in marketplaces.

Despite the obstacles, their spirit is strong. Returning Afghans – young and old, women and men – seem determined to do their bit for nation building, one brick at a time.

Posted on 31 January 2008

The Reality of Return in Afghanistan

Croatia: Sunday Train ArrivalsPlay video

Croatia: Sunday Train Arrivals

On Sunday a train of 1800 refugees and migrants made their way north from the town of Tovarnik on Croatia's Serbian border. They disembarked at Cakovec just south of Slovenia. Most of the people are Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi. Their route to Western Europe has been stalled due to the closing of Hungarian borders. Now the people have changed their path that takes through Slovenia. Croatia granted passage to over 10,000 refugees this weekend. Croatian authorities asked Slovenia to take 5000 refugees and migrants per day. Slovenia agreed to take half that number. More than a thousand of desperate people are being backed up as result, with more expected to arrive later Monday.
Afghanistan Needs Your SupportPlay video

Afghanistan Needs Your Support

Croatia; Destination UnknownPlay video

Croatia; Destination Unknown