The Department of Defense will participate in a U.N.-sponsored event announcing the release of DC Comics' newest comic book, "Al Asesino Escondido" ("The Hidden Killer"), which will be used to promote mine awareness among children of mine-affected countries in Latin America. Ambassador Bill Richardson and UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy will host Secretary General Kofi Annan at the ceremony to be held in the lobby of the UNICEF House, United Nations, New York City, on Thursday, at 11. a.m. (EDT), June 11.
The Department of Defense will be represented at the ceremony by Brian Sheridan, principal deputy to the assistant secretary of Defense for Low Intensity Conflict. In addition, five soldiers from Fort Bragg, N.C., who worked on developing the comic book as an instrument to support international demining efforts will be recognized.
In addition, U.N. ambassadors from three recipient nations - Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua - will participate in the ceremony and be presented the comic book by Jenette Kahn, president of DC Comics, and Gen. Charles Wilhelm, commander in chief of the U.S. Southern Command.
The Spanish language comic book, which features Superman and Wonder Woman, is the second mine awareness product created in the unique partnership of DC Comics, UNICEF, and the Department of Defense. It is intended to educate children living in landmine infested areas of the world how to identify and avoid landmines. The first comic book, introduced in 1996 by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House, was designed for the children of the former Yugoslavia. It has been widely acclaimed as a highly successful mine awareness tool that has enabled children to better avoid the dangers of landmines.
Promoting such public-private partnerships is a central tenet of President Clinton's "2010 Demining Initiative," announced in October 1997. The initiative seeks to eliminate all civilian landmine causalities by the year 2010.
Those interested in obtaining more information about this event may contact: Jay Strell, U.S. Mission - U.N. public affairs, (212) 415-4050; Marsha Zeesman, UNICEF public affairs, (212) 326-7136; Martha Thomases, DC Comics representative, (212) 636-5450; or, Lt. Col. William Darley, Department of Defense Public Affairs, (703) 697-1848.