Music Impresario and Long-Time Humanitarian Quincy Jones Comments Publicly About China and the Darfur Crisis and His Role as an Artistic Advisor to the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
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Contact: Arnold Robinson, Rogers & Cowan, +1-310-854-8193, firstname.lastname@example.org, for Quincy Jones
LOS ANGELES, April 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a keynote speech delivered today at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to the Committee of 100's 17th Annual Conference, a yearly gathering of influential United States Citizens of Chinese descent, music impresario and long-time humanitarian Quincy Jones commented for the first time publicly about his positions as they relate to China's role in the Darfur crisis and his role as an artistic advisor to the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
During the approximately hour-long presentation, Jones, who over the past 6 months has been meeting and having discussions with key Chinese dignitaries and experts on the crisis in Darfur including former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Wang Guangya, among others; commented on the urgency of bringing an end to the crisis in Darfur, the opportunity that China has to help bring an end to the crisis in Darfur, his history using the arts and entertainment to build bridges and bring people of differing opinions together, and his intention to stay involved with the 2008 Olympic Games as an artistic advisor to the opening ceremonies with the hope that a continued dialog with all the parties involved will effect immediate change in the conditions in Darfur.
Key excerpts from Quincy Jones' April 19th keynote speech to the Committee of 100:
"The arts and entertainment bring people together. They allow the ties between us to flourish and grow, even during times when differences between governments arise. The creative expressions of artists like my good friend and brother, Yo-Yo Ma, help build bridges between cultures, giving us a better and more peaceful understanding and appreciation of each other."
" ... I'm sure you know that China is at a crucial crossroads. There are complex and polarizing issues surrounding the Olympics that affects and touches the entire world community... and stirs up emotions and inflames passions. I'm talking, of course, about the situation in Tibet and in Darfur."
"I don't think anyone would want the burden of Tibet & the Dalai Lama and Darfur on their lap. But China's leadership took on the challenge of the Beijing Olympics knowing that the spotlight and focus would be on them, warts and all. Because the spotlight is on them, they now have the chance to show leadership and wisdom to change the world for the better.
I'm deeply concerned about Tibet, but on a human scale... and my own experiences with the African continent... Darfur is screaming out at me the loudest."
"China is part of an international community of nations - all of whose responsibility it is to stop the genocide in Darfur, as well as coming to the aid of the over 2.5 million people who have been displaced."
"The more we can make things right in the world, the better the world is going to be. That's why I stay engaged... because together we can do a lot of things we can never do alone.
Over the past couple of months, I've received dozens of protest letters from various groups, here and abroad, begging me to boycott the Beijing Olympics. The pressure from all directions has been extremely intense. But it's not my intention to withdraw from the Olympics. It's just not my style... because I care too much about Darfur and China and if I can stay in the game with others like us, I feel we can make a difference."
"I also believe that boycotting the Olympics could isolate China and the United States, and make the situation worse. The world will be safer if we address human rights as part of the world community.
It's been my experience that you can never expect a difficult situation to change by demanding it... nor can the United States or any other nation be self-righteous and tell people what to do when they have not always been a responsible player on human rights, nor walked the talk."
"I had the privilege of meeting with Ambassador Wang yesterday in New York, and I applauded him from a front row seat for his role in attempting to obtain consent from the Sudanese government for the hybrid UN African peace enforcers -- UNAMID to be allowed into the country.
After consulting with many of my close Chinese friends before our meeting, I told the Ambassador that I do believe China has significant sway over the Sudanese government in Khartoum... and that influence gives China the chance to be a hero in the eyes of the world by exerting its moral authority to help halt the genocide by achieving one or more of the following:
First -- take a formal Government stance that reiterates the Special Representative of China on Darfur Liu Guijin's call for helicopters... and immediately for China and Sudan to publicly support the efforts to speed up the deployment of UNAMID troops on the ground and humanitarian workers to the region.
Second -- Make a public appeal to Khartoum to get a handle on the Janjaweed militia and halt all attacks on civilian populations. In addition, publicly call on Khartoum to end all bombings immediately and pursue a real political solution with the rebels.
And third -- in spite of the Special Envoy's claim that China only provides 8% of Sudan's total arms imports, and that the United States deals arms to Sudan as well, take the lead and publicly pledge that going forward... not a single weapon will be sold to anyone on any side of the conflict by any country in the world."
"After meeting with the Ambassador, I'm more hopeful that progress can be made to showcase the best of China through the Olympics... rather than it being shrouded in controversy and potential violence and boycotts all the way through."
"But China cannot do alone what the United States and Europe have not been willing to do for five years. By pointing the finger mainly at China, those who passionately want peace in Darfur wind up helping Western governments evade responsibility on a humanitarian crisis they could do far more to stop. A great state seizes the opening to be a peacemaker as China did in the difficult Six-Party Talks, which lessened the tension between the United States and North Korea... and moved things in a more positive direction.
China has been extraordinary in its economic growth for more than a decade... though history has shown that a state becomes a leader not only by its economic, technological and military advantages, but also by helping the disadvantaged. It gives voice to the voiceless and cares about all human beings."
Quincy Jones first saw the power of the arts to effect social change beyond entertainment in 1956 when he toured as musical director, trumpeter and arranger of the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra's State Department Tour.
His long history of humanitarian work began in earnest in the 1960's and 70's, as one of the key supporters of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Operation Breadbasket. In 1985, he helped pioneer the model of using celebrity to raise money and awareness for a cause with "We Are the World." The song raised more than $63 Million for Ethiopian famine relief and more importantly shined a spotlight on the Ethiopian drought, prompting the U.S. Government responded with over $800 million in aid.
In 1999 Quincy Jones joined Bono and Bob Geldof during a meeting with Pope John Paul II as a part of the Jubilee 2000 delegation to end third world debt. The delegation's visit resulted in $27 billion in third world debt relief for Bolivia, Mozambique, and the Ivory Coast.
In 2004, in front of a live audience of more than a half-million spectators, Jones launched the We Are the Future initiative with a concert featuring Carlos Santana, Alicia Keyes, Josh Groban, Oprah Winfrey, Norah Jones and a host of other entertainers from around the world.
The initiative has established Municipal Child Centers in the cities of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Asmara (Eritrea), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Kigali (Rwanda) and Nablus (Palestine) where youth are being trained to run child- based programs in health, nutrition, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Sports and Arts.
In 2007, Jones and the Harvard School of Public Health joined forces to advance the health and well-being of children worldwide through Project Q, a strategic initiative of School's Center for Health Communication. Through the strategic use of media, Project Q challenges leaders and citizens of the world to provide essential resources to enable young people to achieve their full potential.
A centerpiece of Project Q is the Q Prize, which recognizes extraordinary leadership by public figures and social entrepreneurs who are championing the needs of children. The inaugural Q Prize was awarded in January 2007 to Scott Neeson, founder of the Cambodian Children's Fund, and over $600,000 was raised in support of Neeson's work.
Through his personal foundation, The Quincy Jones Foundation, Jones raises awareness and financial resources for initiatives that support global children's issues in areas of conflict, malaria eradication, clean water and efforts to restore the Gulf Coast (post-Katrina). Philanthropic partners include Malaria No More, Millennium Promise, and R&B singer Usher's New Look Foundation.
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