In 2001, David Clark heard a speech by United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan about the need to raise awareness of key UN initiatives among the world community.
Afterward, looking at several UN initiatives, one thing became clear to Clark: the UN rarely took credit for its own UN observances, which take all 193 Member States to create. UN World Aids Day was a good example. Organizations around the world use this day to raise funds and awareness for themselves, but they never mention the UN’s key role in establishing and promoting programs on this global day. The UN was loosing thousands of awareness building opportunities every year.
Clark posed a question: “What if the UN could communicate more like a brand, and link itself to these events in an authentic and unforgettable way? If they did that, their role would be hard to miss.”
In January of 2001, the UN asked Clark to show them how his idea might work. To test the premise, the UN wanted him to ideate around their number one goal for that year – promoting anti-poverty measures around the world.
Since Clark pointed out there was already an official UN observance on the calendar: October 17th, UN Day to Eradicate Poverty (aka “World Poverty Day”), Clark started to look for a connection strong enough to get the world’s attention.
Clark found the inspiration in 1971, when George Harrison and Ravi Shankar created the Concert for Bangladesh which was staged at Madison Square Garden and generated millions of dollars for one of the world’s poorest countries.
1971 CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH PHOTOS:
Since George Harrison selected a UN organization as his beneficiary (UNICEF) for this historic anti-poverty benefit concert, Clark wondered: What if he could stage a new Concert on the 30th Anniversary of the Concert for Bangladesh – on UN World Poverty Day, so all 193 Member States of the UN could promote it.
Clark helped the UN draft and deliver an invitation to Mr. Harrison that began: “On behalf of our 193 Member States, we call upon you again…” Graciously, George Harrison agreed.
George Harrison became the co-Executive Producer with David Clark. Bill Graham Presents (now Live Nation), a renown Concert Producer/Promoter agreed to produce, promote and finance the concert at Madison Square Garden.
Sadly, it wasn’t to be. Mr. Harrison became ill in the Spring of 2001. The project was tabled. In November, he passed away.
While this project was never fully realized, it showed the UN the power of thinking like a brand. They understood Clark’s vision, and through this initial effort, Clark maintains a strong relationship with the UN to this day.