Stevie Wonder Named Latest United Nations Messenger Of Peace

By Michele Goncalves
Michele Goncalves
Michele Goncalves
December 12, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

Musician Stevie Wonder (L), who was appointed The United Nations Messenger of Peace, stands with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations on December 3, in New York City. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images )
Musician Stevie Wonder (L), who was appointed The United Nations Messenger of Peace, stands with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations on December 3, in New York City. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images )
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recently chosen Grammy Award-winning songwriter and musician Stevie Wonder as a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Wonder, who has been legally blind since birth, will have a special focus on people with disabilities in his work.

The Secretary-General said in a news conference, “Our newest Messenger of Peace is someone who is admired by millions of people and has given back to millions of people. I recognize that he has consistently used his voice and special relationship with the public to create a better and more inclusive world, to defend civil and human rights and to improve the lives of those less fortunate. Stevie Wonder is a true inspiration to young people all over the world about what can be achieved despite any physical limitations.”

He joins ten other United Nations Messengers of Peace, including among them actress Charlize Theron (ending violence against women), actors George Clooney (peacekeeping) and Michael Douglas (disarmament), as well as Nobel Laureate and holocaust survivor Elie Weisel (human rights).

The U.N. describes "Messengers of Peace" as individuals who possess widely recognized talents in the fields of art, academia, literature, sports, and entertainment. It helps to raise worldwide awareness of the organization’s ideals and activities. Through their public appearances, contacts with the international media and humanitarian work, they expand public understanding of how the United Nations helps to improve the lives of people everywhere.

Stevie Wonder has been recognized for his philanthropic efforts which include the United States President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, Junior Blind of America and the creation of the Wonder Vision Awards Program. For over 10 years, he has provided toys for children and families in need with his annual House Full of Toys benefit concert.