Next weekend Melbourne will play host to a United Nations conference about world health, featuring two and a half thousand delegates, including current Secretary General Ban ki-Moon. And someone’s got to keep them entertained.
Greek Australian Peter Mousaferiadis is producing the conference’s opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the opening night’s entertainment, called ‘In Melbourne, We Are All Connected’.
He said the lineup will feature 400 performers, laser imagery and an MC, Jamel Dhillon.
In addition, Greek Australian musician Evripides Evripidou has composed 20 minutes of new music for a new international music ensemble, featuring instruments from Europe, China, India and Australia.
So is it a multicultural event? “I hate to use the word, ‘multicultural’ – it means different things to everyone,” he said. “The show will be highlighting our main asset – cultural diversity.”
Mr Mousaferiadis said the bulging arts program has been designed to fit with the conference’s goals. “The idea of the conference is that all human beings are connected, through health,” he said.
The conference will focus on the United Nation’s eight millennium development goals, which include ending poverty and hunger, child and maternal health, and combating HIV/AIDS.
Mr Mousaferiadis said it’s vital that such important meetings include an arts program.”It’s a bit of entertainment,” he said. “It’s about reinforcing the ideas of the conference, and giving something back to these delegates, many of whom have travelled a long way to be here.”
‘In Melbourne, We Are All Connected’ will be performed the night before the conference opens, and Mr Mousaferiadis said it was important to set the right tone for the two-day event. “It’s to get things warmed up and get people excited,” he said.
This isn’t the first time Mr Mousaferiadis has been involved with large-scale arts projects. Through his not-for-profit initiative, Cultural Infusions, Mr Mousaferiadis aims to promote Australia’s diverse culture through the arts. Last year he produced the entertainment for the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and he’s been the creative director of Melbourne’s Australia Day celebrations for the past eight years. He has seven full-time staff working on the UN conference program, from administration to the production team.
With less than two weeks to go, he said such large-scale productions are always a bit hectic. “There’s no such thing as smooth sailing,” he said. “Our job is to make it happen.”
The United Nations Department of Public Information and Non-Governmental Organisation Conference is on at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, 30 August – 2 September.
For more information visit http://www.un.org/dpi/ngosection/conference/