Pianist Lang Lang honored with UN Messenger of Peace award

By Edith M. Lederer , AP

UNITED NATIONS–China’s superstar pianist Lang Lang became a United Nations Messenger of Peace on Monday, a role he called more important than his music because it can help improve the lives of children around the world through education.

Being a Messenger of Peace is the highest honor bestowed by a U.N. chief on accomplished individuals in any field.

Lang Lang, 31, said he was “really awed” by his new role and the responsibility that comes with it.

“Last night, I couldn’t sleep thinking about it,” he said at a news conference. “Playing concerts — it’s one thing, but to give back to the society, I think is even more important as a human being.”

He joins 11 other prominent world figures who advocate on behalf of the United Nations as Messengers of Peace, including Stevie Wonder, Michael Douglas, George Clooney, Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, primatologist Jane Goodall and conductor Daniel Barenboim.

Lang Lang, who has been a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, for 10 years, said it is “a great honor” to be the first Messenger of Peace from China.