After nine years, Audrey's work on behalf of the world's children had not been forgotten. A tribute honoring her work was held in May 2002 at the UNICEF headquarters in New York, where a seven-foot tall bronze sculpture dedicated to Audrey was unveiled.
|UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry|
Belafonte uveils the "Spirit of Audrey"
sculpture while UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan looks on.
The sculpture, entitled "The Spirit of Audrey," was commissioned and donated to UNICEF by Audrey's long-time companion, Robert Wolders. The lyrical style of the statue, created by sculptor John Kennedy, "is particularly well-suited for expressing Ms. Hepburn's grace and gentle nature," said Wolders. "All of us who loved Audrey are thrilled that this beautiful piece of art will be on permanent display in New York City, a place she cherished, and particularly that its home will be outside UNICEF, the organization to which she devoted so much of her energy and compassion."
The ceremony took place on the eve of the United Nations Special Session on Children, a three day global summit intended to review the progress made for young people the since the 1990 World Summit for Children and recommit countries to improving the lives of children. The tribute was attended by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Mia Farrow, Vendela Thommessen, Anatoli Karpov, Judy Collins, Robert Wagner, Ralph Lauren, Diane von Furstenberg and Isabella Rossellini as well as several hundred guests and reporters. Speakers included UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, Kofi Annan's wife Nane Annan, Robert Wolders, and UNICEF spokespersons Roger Moore and Harry Belafonte. Audrey's son, Sean Ferrer, and his family had the flu and could not make it to the event.
|Audrey's companion Robert Wolders and close friends
Christa Roth (former head of the UNICEF Geneva office)
and John Isaac (former chief of the UN Photo Unit).
"We are here to celebrate the life of our friend Audrey Hepburn and her second and greatest career as a UNICEF Ambassador," said Roger Moore, who opened the ceremony. "And what a career it was."
"This ceremony and this beautiful gift give us an opportunity to remember Audrey Hepburn's wonderful way with children, and the commitment she brought to the cause," said Carol Bellamy. "She had a great career as an actress, but I think she will be remembered just as much as a humanitarian," Bellamy said. "And that's the beauty of her years with UNICEF. She was an inspiration, she brought enormous world attention to children, she raised the profile of the challenges they face." She certainly was an inspiration to many - including Roger Moore, who succeeded her as Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF.
Inviting Moore to join a press conference, Audrey convinced him that the press wanted to talk to him about his films - "But she didn't allow them to talk about films. She wanted to talk about children," Moore said. It wasn't long before he had joined her cause. "She spoke with great passion," he said, "She was an exceedingly eloquent and persuasive lady."
The webmasters of this site are extremely grateful to have been present at this wonderful tribute. We talked to Audrey's close friend, John Isaac (former chief of the UN Photo Unit), who tried to explain to us just how amazing Audrey really was. He introduced us to another good friend of Audrey's, Christa Roth, formerly the head of the UNICEF office in Geneva, and to Robert Wolders.
"Audrey personified the spirit of UNICEF," Wolders said, "and we hope those who see this statue will be inspired by her efforts on behalf of children."
PHOTOS OF THE EVENT