16 October 2003, Rome, Italy -- Five more international celebrities have signed on to FAO's campaign to end world hunger, the Organization announced today during ceremonies marking World Food Day 2003.

Joining the ranks of FAO's roster of goodwill ambassadors are rai music sensation Khaled; Latin rock group Maná; Israeli singer Noa; Justine Pasek, Miss Universe 2002; and Malian musician Oumou Sangaré.

The group took part in a series of events held at FAO's Rome Headquarters during which the Organization stressed the need for the world community to band together in an alliance to eradicate hunger - the theme of World Food Day 2003.

On 15 October the five new appointees participated in a round-table discussion on the role of FAO ambassadors in helping the Organization combat world hunger. They were joined by previously named ambassadors, including singers Al Bano Carrisi, Magida Al Roumi, Mory Kanté, Youssou N'Dour, Massimo Ranieri and Dionne Warwick; athlete Debbie Ferguson; Nobel prize winner Rita Levi Montalcini; and actress Gina Lollobrigida. Mr. Vijay Amritray, UN Messenger of Peace also participated in the discussion to share his experience and to encourage the FAO Goodwill Ambassadors to be active in their role.

At the close of the session the group issued a collective appeal "calling on all people to help the least privileged people of the world finally break out of the vicious circle of chronic hunger, poverty and undernourishment." The ambassadors also pledged to help rally public opinion behind this cause.

FAO initiated its Ambassadors Programme in 1999 to draw attention to the plight of the world's 840 million hungry people and build support for efforts to help them.

"Governments alone cannot end hunger and undernourishment. People everywhere need to be aware of the problems, and must believe in the importance of finding solutions," said Sidaty Aidara, coordinator of the Ambassadors Programme. "Artists, celebrities, musicians and other public figures are crucial to getting the message out and inspiring people to act."

Towards these goals, FAO ambassadors hold special performances, issue public appeals, participate in fund- and awareness-raising events and visit FAO field projects.

Since 1999, 20 celebrities have taken up the challenge of serving as FAO goodwill ambassadors.

FAO Media Office
(+39) 06 570 53625