At the end of May, London's Royal Albert Hall will host a gala concert for World Hunger Day 2012.
The first World Hunger Day took place 15 months ago at the Apollo Victoria theatre with Dionne Warwick among a star-studded cast, and she is back to lend her support again to an event which will aid the work of The Hunger Project. This year she will be joined by Alexandra Burke, Boy George, Katie Melua and many others, with rising stars such as Caro Emerald and Rumer, as well as golden oldies Sandie Shaw and Cliff Richard. Tony “Downtown” Hatch will conduct the orchestra. Proceeds from the concert will directly benefit communities in 20,000 villages across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America all of whom experience chronic and persistent hunger. This is not due merely to lack of food. It occurs when people lack opportunity to earn enough income, to be educated and gain skills, to meet basic health needs and have a voice in the decisions that affect their community. World Hunger Day is about raising awareness of this situation.
The Hunger Project is a non-profit global organisation founded 35 years ago which, by empowering communities the world over, strives to give people a voice that is heard and seen, impacting on decision-making from ‘the bottom up'
alongside ‘the top down' – in full support of Millennium Development goals.
Speaking on behalf of everyone at The Hunger Project, we are absolutely delighted that Sir Cliff and so many musical talents have agreed to appear as special guests in our extraordinary artist line-up – fusing diverse backgrounds, generations and genres – and, for those of us who can remember, some of the original artists who performed at Live Aid in both London and Philadelphia almost three decades ago in response to the terrible famine in Ethiopia at that time.
which goes to underline how hard it is to resolve this desperate situation. A generation after Live Aid with all the Christmas singles, gala concerts, and telethons that have come in between, and with the work of many charity organizations including the Hunger Project itself, the Gates' Foundation and official injections of aid from the international community, there is still a long way to go.
The problem is huge. So big that it seems almost easier to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it doesn't exist. But we can't. And if doing our bit means going to the Royal Albert Hall in the company of some of the world's most popular musicians for an unforgettable evening, that doesn't seem such a sacrifice, does it.
I very much hope that those who come to World Hunger Day 2012 at the Royal Albert Hall will appreciate the ‘why' behind the music as well as our artists' incredible talent and full pro bono support.
This annual event will have an inspiring and positive impact on so many lives offering a partnership based hand up rather than a reactive hand out. By partnering with those suffering these appalling conditions, individuals and communities are taking action to become masters of their own destiny. Sustainable solutions cannot be achieved by one-
off acts of generosity: World Hunger Day 2012 is just the beginning and we hope that everyone's support doesn't begin and end on May 28th.
World Hunger Day 2012 takes place at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday 28th May 2012. Tickets are on sale online or by telephone on 020 7589 8212 – Ticket prices range from £20 to £125.00.
Follow The Hunger Project on Twitter @worldhungerday @hungerprojectuk or on Facebook.
Photo: Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole on World Hunger Day 2011
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.