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International Millennium Event Celebrates Children's Diversity, Hopes for the 21st Century

GSA # 9627

December 31, 1999
Contacts: Viki Reath (202) 439-1398
Tom Gorman (202) 276-9091

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Clinton will address the Washington international community - families with their children - at a special Millennium Around the World event that celebrates the children of today - the world's future leaders - at the International Trade Center in the Ronald Reagan Building today.

The morning program features seven area groups, made up of children from seven foreign countries, Mexico to Moldava, Bolivia, Cambodia, Guinea and Japan, who will perform songs and dances from their native lands in the amphitheatre for two-and-a-half hours.

Outside the amphitheatre, children will create a 210-square-foot Millennium Tapestry, led by a professional artist, as they weave their imaginings for the future. Special Millennium photography and art exhibits from the World Bank and the International Child Art Foundation also are on display all day for invited guests attending the morning and afternoon events. The World Bank exhibit will be open to the public Jan. 1 through Jan. 6.

The morning program at the International Trade Center is part of the daylong, invitation-only party, which also includes remarks in the afternoon by six children - messengers carrying their hopes for peace to President and Mrs. Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who also will speak. For information on coverage of the presidential event, call the White House Press Office, (202) 456-2580.

The six children are:

Mohammad Shakhawat Ali, an 11-year-old boy from Bangladesh who received a President's Award for Educational Excellence in recognition of his outstanding achievement as a sixth-grader at Herbert Hoover Middle School, Potomac, Md.;
Groda Soeprapto, a 14-year-old boy from Indonesia, who also received a President's Award, along with a Prince George's County Excellence Award, and is a 10th-grader at Suitland (Md.) High School;
Deena El-Rashed, a nine-year-old girl from Jordan, who speaks four languages and is a fourth-grader at Great Falls (Va.) Elementary School;
Juan Manuel Saldivar Martinez, an 11-year-old boy from Mexico, is a violinist and soccer player, a fifth-grader at Corpus Christi School in Falls Church, Va.;
Nosa Garrick, a 15-year-old girl from Nigeria, who is a member of the French National Honor Societyand is a 10th-grader at St. John's College High School, Washington, D.C., and
Thomas Moravek, a 14-year-old boy from the Slovak Republic, who plays tennis, piano and guitar, and is a student at Hardy Middle School in Washington, D.C.

Millennium Around the World was organized by the U.S. General Services Administration and America's Millennium, a program launched by the White House Millennium Council, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation

Following are more detailed descriptions of the events:

Weaving Project

Children will create "beauty and peace on earth," by weaving the People Loom/Millennium Tapestry #2, guided by artist Carol Kapuza of the People Loom Project in Los Angeles. The tapestry project reflects a "future safe for all people," according to Marcie Polier, head of the Marcie Polier Family Foundation of Los Angeles, a tapestry project cosponsor.

"As the children of the international community cooperate to create this beautiful work of art, we are reminded that the global problems facing us in the new millennium can be resolved with the spirit of cooperation and peaceful coexistence," said Polier, whose foundation is dedicated to global change, primarily through education.

The Millennium Tapestry project also is cosponsored by the Coexistence and Community Building Initiative, whose representative, Susan Collin Marks, is executive vice president of Search for Common Ground, a private, nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., devoted to resolving conflicts. A third tapestry project cosponsor is The Alan B. Slifka Foundation of New York City, a backer of coexistence projects, including Search for Common Ground.

Music and Dance Performances

Children from Bolivia, Cambodia, Guinea, India, Japan, Mexico and Moldova will sing and dance in Amphiteatre performances by the New Millennium Choir; Bolivian Soul; the Dance Troupe of Cambodian American Heritage, Inc.; Kono Youth Ensemble; Modova Choreograph Lyceum; Shizumi's KODOMO Dance Troupe; Susheelam, and Los Quetzales/In Quetzalli Mexican Dance Ensemble.

Exhibits

The World Bank will mount its Culture and Development at the Millennium exhibit of nearly 200 photographs from around the world, reflecting development as a tree that nurtures growth "by feeding its roots, not by pulling on its branches," said Ismail Serageldin, World Bank vice president.

The International Child Art Foundation, an independent, nonprofit organization with headquarters in Washington, D.C., will exhibit art works created by children, ages 8-12, from 86 countries, along with its 16-foot by 24-foot World 2000 Mural, created by child artists from 50 countries.

World Sensorium, a sculpture created by Gayil Nalls, represents distinctive tree, plant and herb scents from every world country - which she has visited over the past five years, will be presented during the Millennium Around the World festivities. The individual scents, "distinctive aromas critical to each country's cultural memory," have been combined according to a mathematical formula based on each country's projected population in the year 2000, as a percentage of the projected world millennium population in the year 2000.