Where do children and the arts belong in conversations on global social development? Front and center, say UNICEF, Sing for Hope’s HandaHarmony program, Juilliard, Nord Anglia Education, and youth participants from around the world. These leading organizations, in conjunction with UN Member States, co-hosted a side event at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) celebrating how young people are using art and advocacy to further the UN’s Social Development Goals (SDGs). The event, titled “Child and Youth Art, Advocacy and Action to be Safe to Learn: A student presentation on SDGs 4 and 17,” brought together 100 students from around the world, showcasing how their creativity can be used to end violence in schools, and compelling Member States to include youth arts in their SDG efforts.
Featuring multiple artistic mediums and with youth and world leaders at the forefront, the event proved a fitting setting to announce Sing for Hope’s new global arts program HandaHarmony, made possible by the International Foundation for Arts and Culture (Dr. Haruhisa Handa, Chairman and Sing for Hope Global Patron). The UNICEF House stage featured a special flagship HandaHarmony Sing for Hope Piano, created by SFH Artist Partners Sydney Foreman and Arelí Rocha and featuring artwork sourced by UNICEF from submissions by more than 3,600 children and youth worldwide. The SFH Piano art includes designs from 18-year-old Indonesia native Rizka Ramli, who unveiled her published comic book with UNICEF and Comics Uniting Nations.
At the conclusion of the July 17th event, Sing for Hope placed the superhero-inspired SFH Piano at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, a.k.a. “The Gateway to United Nations,” where it will remain open to the public through August 2nd for anyone and everyone to play. After its time on the plaza, it will be placed in a permanent home in a local NYC public school as part of Sing for Hope’s ongoing partnership with the New York City Department of Education.
The event also featured Jennifer Walsey’s inspiring anthem “Dream Big, Speak Loud,” performed by students from around the world and introduced by Sing for Hope Co-Founders Monica Yunus and Camille Zamora and IFAC International Executive Director Midori Miyazaki. Other notable participants included young pianist Darrius Simmons, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore, and renowned filmmaker and founder of Project Everyone Richard Curtis.