The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) commemorated 30 years of presence in the Islamic Republic of Iran during a star studded ceremony at the Conference Hall of Faculty of Physical Education, Tehran University on the evening of Thursday 23rd of November 2017.
Negar Gerami, WFP Representative in Iran welcomed the guests with a heartfelt introduction on 30 years of WFP service to the refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq
She said: “We usually commemorate rather than celebrate World Food Day each year. It is my personal belief that there is no cause for celebration when even one person goes to bed hungry. But tonight we celebrate 30 years of service, of commitment and empathy for those less fortunate. We celebrate the fact that at least one generation (30 years is a generation) has lived in peace and stability and despite the struggles of any refugee, has not had to worry about where the next meal comes from because of WFP’s intervention.
The opening remarks were followed by a special performance dedicated by Alireza Assar, one of the most popular musicians and Pop singers in Iran.
The evening was also used as an opportunity to showcase and sell 30 paintings from refugee children who receive assistance from WFP.
Vishka Asayesh, the talented and famous Iranian actress, who had spearheaded the selection panel was invited on stage to brief the audience about the process of organizing the painting competition among 6,000 schoolchildren who receive WFP food assistance.
After displaying a short video clip, she encouraged the audience to visit the exhibition during the intermission and to purchase the paintings that so vividly depicted these children’s hopes and dreams. 30 paintings exhibited were selected by a high profile jury which included herself, and Dr. Gholamreza Kazemi Dinan, and two other renowned actresses Sahar Dolatshahi and Leili Rashidi.
A commemorative stamp was also unveiled during this occasion, by all WFP staff who were invited on Stage by Negar Gerami for this purpose. Each staff member had the opportunity to introduce him or herself and tell the audience how long they had been working for WFP. The WFP Representative thanked her small team for their commitment, hard work and service throughout the years, which collectively totalled 150 years.
Before the evening concluded, certificates of appreciation were handed over to five WFP supporters including the talented young girl, Baran Jamali, who entertained the audience with her enchanting performance as Master of Ceremonies, as well as “Novo Nordisk” pharmaceutical company that was the sole sponsor of both the painting competition and the evening’s event.
The event was well attended by more than 500 guests including Ambassadors, Members of Diplomatic Corps, UN Heads of Agencies and colleagues, Iranian celebrities and WFP private sector partners.
WFP is the largest humanitarian agency in the fight against hunger; during the past three decades WFP has been taking an active role in providing food assistance to the most vulnerable Afghan and Iraqi refugees who had to flee from their homeland due to conflicts and insecurity. WFP has also organized lifesaving missions during emergency operations in the past to the survivors who were in need of food after earthquakes in Bam and Qazvin.