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Star pianist Lang Lang chosen for special UN role

The world-renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang has been selected to be a United Nations "Messenger of Peace." He says he intends to focus on global education for children in his new role.

Making the announcement of Lang's selection for the role at a news conference on Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (pictured above, left) said the 31-year-old pianist would work toward a major priority of the world body: helping children around the globe gain access to school education.

Lang Lang, who has been a goodwill ambassador for the UN children's agency, UNICEF, for ten years, said it was "a great honor" to be the first Messenger of Peace from China.

"I hope to motivate children to have dreams," Lang said. "We must give [them] the necessary tools to reach their goals in life and make their dreams come true."

After accepting a pin and certificate from the secretary-general, he played a waltz by Chopin for the crowded news conference.

'Playful spirit'

Ban praised the musician for his commitment to the cause of schooling.

"Through his playful spirit and profound talent, Lang Lang connects people, not only through his music, but also through his passion to build a better world through education," the UN chief said.

Other Messengers of Peace include fellow musician Stevie Wonder, actors Michael Douglas, Edward Norton, George Clooney and Charlize Theron, and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel.

Lang Lang is one of the most famous musicians in the world today, and performs with orchestras throughout the world.

tj/slk (AP, dpa)