Unicef: Ravi Shankar presented with first ever George Harrison Humanitarian Award

Recognition for efforts in saving the lives of children

NEW YORK (October 11, 2009) — Legendary Indian musician and peace advocate, Ravi Shankar was honored this past Saturday, October 10 with the first ever George Harrison Humanitarian Award. The award was presented by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF following Shankar’s concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Shankar was honored for his unprecedented efforts in saving the lives of children and his involvement with the Concert for Bangladesh—organized by George Harrison and inspired by Ravi Shankar—the Concert marked the first time rock musicians collaborated for a common humanitarian cause.

Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar

“George Harrison and Ravi Shankar have been stalwart advocates on behalf of the world’s children their entire careers,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “Every day 24,000 children die of preventable causes. We are pleased to honor Ravi Shankar with the George Harrison Humanitarian Award for his commitment to reducing that number and believing in zero.”

In 1971, George Harrison staged two concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden that brought together a star-studded cast of musicians including: Ravi Shankar, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell and Billy Preston—to alert the world to the plight of the Bangladeshi people. At that time, the country was ravaged by floods, famine and civil war, which left 10 million people—mostly women and children—displaced and vulnerable.

“The Concert for Bangladesh was one of the most ambitious humanitarian efforts in rock music history,” said Olivia Harrison, Founder of The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF. “The Concert focused global attention on the crisis in Bangladesh and raised the consciousness of other musicians and millions of their young fans to a new awareness of UNICEF and its mission in doing whatever it takes to save a child.”

The 1971 concert pioneered the all–star rock benefit concert model, which has since been widely emulated for various causes worldwide. It produced an extraordinary contribution for UNICEF, exceeding $15 million to support programs providing lifesaving assistance to children caught in humanitarian emergencies. The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF continues to support UNICEF programs in Bangladesh while expanding its influence to include other countries in crisis where children are at risk.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: