Home Look to the Stars Global Stars Unite To Combat Illiteracy On International Literacy Day

Global Stars Unite To Combat Illiteracy On International Literacy Day

Global Stars Unite To Combat Illiteracy On International Literacy Day

Sep 08, 2016 04:00 pm

Julianne Moore: Profile

o celebrate the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day, 26 of the world’s most high profile personalities from film, music, politics and the arts, have joined forces to raise awareness for literacy with one common goal in mind: by 2030, no child will be born at risk of poor literacy.


Today, 32 million American adults cannot read and one in four children grow up without learning how to read. Globally, the numbers are even more staggering. One in 10 people on the planet are unable to read and write. Yet many do not realize that illiteracy is more than the inability to read a good book. Illiteracy is linked to almost every major global development challenge there is, from infant mortality and malnutrition to gender inequality and unemployment.

To demonstrate how illiteracy contributes to larger socioeconomic problems, the “Alphabet of Illiteracy” was created by Project Literacy – a movement convened by founding partner, Pearson and backed by more than 75 partners, including UNESCO, Microsoft, Room to Read, GOOD Magazine, Worldreader, Doctors of the World, The Big Issue, The Hunger Project, the National Literacy Trust and War Child.


The Alphabet of Illiteracy brings to life, in a powerful new way, a body of evidence and decades worth of research demonstrating that illiteracy can contribute to reduced life expectancy, radicalization, the spread of disease and violent crime.

Dr. Dan Wagner, UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Penn’s International Literacy Institute, said: “There is a strong argument that tackling illiteracy and low literacy, as a ‘foundational’ social problem, would pay greater dividends than tackling each issue separately. This approach also fits directly with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

In the Alphabet of Illiteracy, A is for AIDs, because if you can’t read or write, you are five times less likely to understand how people can contract HIV. B is for bloodshed because the rate of violent crimes such as homicide and sexual assaults is almost double among the illiterate population. C is for child brides, because if all women had a primary education, child marriages would reduce by a sixth. To view the full Alphabet of Illiteracy, click here.

From Julianne Moore to Idris Elba, Taylor Schilling and Elton John, 26 champions of literacy across the globe are elevating this issue and serving as advocates for change through a mass social media movement. Each advocate has adopted a letter from the Alphabet of Illiteracy that corresponds to a social cause they are passionate about. Their synchronized unique messages of support on Twitter will create a powerful wave of socially-driven awareness, designed to spur people into action around literacy.


“Literacy is a fundamental human right. The United Nation agrees. Without literacy there is no opportunity to transcend the economic and social constraints of past generations. We have made so much progress on so many other deeply important issues, from poverty to gender inequality, through financial and intellectual commitment. The cause of literacy for all is worth our best efforts. The ability to read and write, can, and will, change lives and pave the way for future generations to thrive. And on a personal level, reading has been the one thing that has at once opened the world to me, and made me feel less alone. We all deserve that,” said actress Julianne Moore.

Kate James, Chief Corporate Affairs and Global Marketing Officer for Pearson and spokesperson for Project Literacy, said: “Illiteracy is a global challenge and we all need to pull together if we are to combat its devastating impact. Project Literacy provides the umbrella for a global coalition of non-profit organizations, businesses, and government who together can ensure literacy helps solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.”


To mark the U.S. launch of the campaign, Project Literacy has taken to the streets of New York to create a stunning piece of interactive artwork in TriBeCa that showcases messages of support reproduced into pencils. The “Mighty Pencil” exhibit physically illustrates the power of reading and writing and how it can help change the world for the better. The exhibit is open to the public to celebrate International Literacy Day today only.

To get involved, visit and share a message of support, donate to one of Project Literacy’s 26 charity partners or sign a petition.


Emmylou Harris And Steve Earle To Headline Lampedusa: Concerts For Refugees

Sep 08, 2016 01:30 pm

Emmylou Harris: Profile

Five of America’s most popular musical acts are coming together for an 11-stop concert tour this fall to raise awareness of the unprecedented worldwide refugee crisis.

Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees will be headlined in North America by Grammy Award-winning artists Emmylou Harris,Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, and The Milk Carton Kids.

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS) announced today it will host this singer/songwriter tour in support of the organization’s Global Education Initiative, which was launched in 2015 and endorsed by Pope Francis. JRS seeks to double the number of refugees served in its educational programs by 2020 to 240,000.

“After witnessing firsthand the work of JRS in Ethiopia this past June, I have never been more inspired to champion such a critical cause,” said Emmylou Harris, 13-time Grammy winning artist. “The better angels of our nature call upon us to act with compassion and not with fear in the face of so much suffering.”

“This is a humanitarian issue — it is not a political issue. These are real people with real needs and it’s not going to go away and we have to deal with these issues in a realistic way, and realism has to do with compassion,” said Grammy Award winner Patty Griffin.

In an effort to shed light on the plight of the more than 65 million refugees worldwide and the need to raise funds to support refugee education, the concert tour will be in the following cities:

• October 6, 2016 Boulder Theater, Boulder, Colorado
• October 8, 2016 Helzberg Hall, Kansas City, Missouri
• October 9, 2016 Rococo Theater, Lincoln, Nebraska
• October 11, 2016 Sheldon Concert Hall, St. Louis, Missouri
• October 12, 2016 Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
• October 13, 2016 Vic Theater, Chicago, Illinois
• October 14, 2016 Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario
• October 16, 2016 Berklee Performance Center, Boston, Massachusetts
• October 18, 2016 Town Hall, New York City, New York
• October 19, 2016 Merriam Theater, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
• October 21, 2016 Lisner Auditorium, Washington, D.C.

Everyone’s journey begins somewhere – and for some that journey includes Lampedusa, an Italian island off the coast of Sicily that serves as a waypoint in a refugee’s search for safety and security.

JRS works in more than 45 countries worldwide to meet the educational, health, social and other needs of many of these refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. The scale of this humanitarian crisis is staggering: one in every 122 people is a refugee. More than half are women and children; at least 30 million are under the age of 18.

“We are ready to bring this critical issue to the stage and help people understand that education provides a path forward in life for refugees,” said Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki S.J., the President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.

“Most people don’t realize that refugees spend an average of 17 years displaced from their homes and many never return. It’s time to take bold action and our Lampedusa concert tour will help us do so.”

Funds raised by Lampedusa will support educational programs for refugees around the world. “Education is the one life-saving intervention offered to displaced people that cannot be taken away,” notes JRS International Director Fr. Thomas H. Smolich S.J.

For more information about Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees,


Ali Wentworth To Speak At MPTF’s Deal With It: A Women’s Conference

Sep 08, 2016 12:00 pm

Ali Wentworth: Profile

MPTF (Motion Picture & Television Fund) will host its fourth annual “Deal With It: A Women’s Conference” on September 25 at the Montage Beverly Hills.

The conference is designed to give women in the entertainment industry practical advice for planning and dealing with life’s unexpected curveballs. This year’s keynote presentations will feature author, actress and social commentator Ali Wentworth, and author, activist and nationally recognized ageism expert Ashton Applewhite.

“Deal With It showcases MPTF’s mission to support our entertainment community in living and aging well, and in helping each other in times of need,” says MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher. “I am amazed every year by the quality of speakers and panelists we attract to this event and even more by the vibrancy and richness of the conversations in the room among our attendees. Our industry members leave Deal With It with the insights, resources, and inspiration to make meaningful changes in their lives and improve their overall well-being.”

The invitation-only event, which reached capacity literally just hours after the invitations were sent, features a roster of 45 speakers who are the most respected experts in their fields—many of whom are best-selling authors. Breakout panels will cover a broad spectrum of topics, including resolving personal and work-related conflicts, career transitions, caring for an aging parent, dealing with anxiety and depression, managing stress, estate planning and more.

“Everyone has struggled to repair a damaged relationship, dealt with job loss, or sought that elusive sense of purpose. It is so rewarding to see first-hand how our attendees become empowered, educated and armed with the information and resources they need to deal with whatever comes their way,” says conference producer, Madelyn Hammond of Madelyn Hammond & Associates.

In addition to the sessions and keynotes, the women also have an opportunity to sample products and engage with women who own their own companies or have succeeded as entrepreneurs. Sampling partners include barkTHINS, Blamtastic, McFaddy Candy Co, doTerra Essential Oils, King Soba Noodles, Wyler’s Light, Otter Pops and Kreation Organic.

Corporate sponsors of the event include SAG-AFTRA, UCLA Health, DouglasElliman, Select Medical, Cedars-Sinai, Keck Medicine of USC, Providence Health & Services, City of Hope, DLA Piper, PwC, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Venable LLP, HCR Wealth Advisors, Goldfarb & Luu PC, Golden Door Spa, Kreation Organic and Delta Air Lines. Media sponsors include Deadline Hollywood, The Hollywood Reporter, The Los Angeles Times, TIME and Variety.

Past keynote speakers include actress and best-selling author Sandra Tsing Loh, best-selling author, screenwriter and producer Delia Ephron, Candy Chang, creator of the “Before I Die” project, and CBS Sunday Morning Contributor Nancy Giles.

For more information, including a complete list of speakers and descriptions of sessions, visit


Jon Cryer Named Grand Marshall For Shane’s Inspiration 19th Annual Walk And Roll

Sep 08, 2016 10:30 am

Jon Cryer: Profile

Emmy award-winning actor Jon Cryer (NCIS, Two and a Half Men) will serve as Grand Marshal at Shane’s Inspiration 19th Annual Walk & Roll on Sunday morning, September 18, at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, CA.

The annual fundraiser sees hundreds of inspirational children, many using wheelchairs or walking aids, and their families, leading teams on a 5k Walk & Roll around Griffith Park to raise awareness and promote the need for inclusive play and social inclusion for children with disabilities. Scott Williams, Shane’s Inspiration Co-founder and Executive Producer of the hit series “NCIS”, will emcee the event.

Participants will get a chance to meet Grand Marshal Jon Cryer during the morning’s festivities and receive refreshments, goodie bags, raffle tickets, and time to play on the Shane’s Inspiration playground. Other stars coming out in support of the Walk & Roll include Wallace Langham (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”), Madison McLaughlin (“Arrow”), Steve Valentine (“The Walk”, “Crossing Jordan”), Ravi Kapoor (“Crossing Jordan”), and Meera Simhan (“Miss India America”).

Registration begins at 6:30am on Sunday, September 18, at the Shane’s Inspiration Playground in Griffith Park, 4800 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

The 5k/10k Trail Run begins at 7:30am, at 8:30am a stage ceremony for all, and then at 9:00am the 5K Walk & Roll begins.

Price: Participation in the Walk & Roll is free – just get sponsors here. Fee for 5k/10k Trail Run is $35/$40 through Active. Trail Run is chip-timed.

To register and obtain additional information visit:

Shane’s Inspiration is dedicated to creating inclusive playgrounds and educational programs that foster a bias free world for children with disabilities. Scott and his wife Catherine Curry-Williams founded the organization in memory of their son Shane, who passed away in infancy from Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Realizing that their son would have spent his life in a wheelchair with a disability that would have prevented him from playing on a playground with other children, the Williams decided to create the first fully inclusive playground in the western United States as a tribute to their son.


Belmont Student Receives First-Ever Miranda Lambert Women Creators Scholarship

Sep 08, 2016 09:00 am

Miranda Lambert: Profile

Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business student Anna Vaus was recently selected as the first-ever recipient of the ‘Women Creators’ scholarship, established in 2015 by reigning Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert.

The scholarship was created to honor a female Belmont student who is majoring in music business, songwriting or entertainment industry studies and is actively working towards pursuing her dream of working in the music industry. The scholarship will provide Vaus with more than $40,000 in scholarship funds beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Originally from San Diego, California, Vaus was inspired toward music early on from her father, Grammy-winning artist, Steve Vaus. She has opened for country artists Hunter Hayes, Lonestar, Billy Ray Cyrus, LeAnn Womack and Phil Vassar among others and made her Bluebird Cafe debut in February 2016. Vaus is currently a junior at Belmont, majoring in songwriting with a minor in music business.

“I am so thankful and honored to have been chosen as the first recipient of the Miranda Lambert Women Creators Fund,” Vaus said. “Not just because of what a crazy opportunity it is for myself, but because the tide is changing for all of the young women in this industry. I have so much hope for women in country music because of the path that Miranda and so many awesome people are currently fighting to pave for us!”

Lambert established the Women Creators scholarship in an effort to encourage outstanding women to follow their passions and pursue careers in the music industry. In July of 2015, Lambert raised funds for the scholarship by headlining a songwriter round at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville. Lambert was joined by her tour mates at the time Raelynn, Clare Dunn, and Courtney Cole and female songwriters Natalie Hemby and Jessi Alexander. Hemby, Dunn and Cole are all Belmont graduates.

Candidates for the scholarship were asked to complete an online application and submit an original song. The Curb College then had a small selection committee review the 80 applications received for the scholarship, and the top six finalists were sent for Lambert’s review.

Doug Howard, dean of the Curb College, noted, “We are so grateful to Miranda Lambert for her fantastic commitment to the women songwriters and artists that comprise a major part of the creative community at the Curb College. And, I want to congratulate Anna Vaus and the many women creators at Belmont University who participated in this year’s award process. Thank you Miranda!”


David Attenborough And Jane Goodall Call For An End To Controversial Neuroscience Experiments On Primates

Sep 08, 2016 07:30 am

David Attenborough: Profile

Sir David Attenborough and Dr Jane Goodall are joining Cruelty Free International and a line-up of scientists, primatologists and animal welfare experts in raising concerns about the controversial use of non-human primates in neuroscience research.

The group of experts has signed an open statement of concern, calling on bodies responsible for the funding and licensing of this type of research, to review their policies and specifically to end support for experiments involving deprivation of fluids and movement restraint.

Sir David Attenborough, broadcaster and naturalist, stated: “The recognition that apes, certainly, and to an extent other primates, are so akin to ourselves, and can suffer so much, as we can, has transformed our attitude, or should have transformed our attitude, to using them for our own benefit. They are sentient beings that have mental lives comparable to ours, and sensitivities, and pain and deprivation mean things to them, just as they mean things to us.”

Jane Goodall, PHD, DBE Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace stated: “I and my team have studied chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, for over 50 years. I can state categorically that they have a similar capacity for suffering, both mental and physical, and show similar emotions to many of ours. We also study baboons and other monkeys and there is no doubt they too can suffer and experience fear, depression, anxiety, frustration and so on. To confine these primate relatives of ours to laboratory cages and subject them to experiments that are often distressing and painful is, in my opinion, morally wrong. To restrain their movement and deprive them of water is inhumane and extremely cruel and we have no right to exploit them in this way for any reason.”

Cruelty Free International is raising concerns about neuroscience experiments because of the level of suffering involved; monkeys can be subjected to water deprivation, physical coercion and physical restraint. Such research can include:

· Highly invasive brain surgery to implant recording devices in the brains of monkeys.

· The use of water deprivation, to coerce the monkeys into doing what the researchers want.

· The use of physical coercion (including the use of a collar and pole) to force monkeys out of their cages and to ‘acclimatise’ the animals to a restraint device (called a ‘primate chair’) – in which the monkeys are held by their neck and body in an abnormal and uncomfortable position.

· Thirsty monkeys, restrained by a post implanted in their heads and their bodies immobilised in the device, so that researchers can take recordings from their brains as they look at computer screens or push levers. This can take place for 6 hours per day, five days per week.

· Monkeys may be kept for years and continually used in this research – usually permanently housed indoors and sometimes in isolation.

Cruelty Free International is calling on funding bodies and licensing authorities in the UK and Europe to end their support for such experiments on the grounds that they cause substantial suffering and are unnecessary. A recent scientific review found that claims of the human relevance of data, made by researchers who use monkeys in these kinds of experiments, were overstated. It also found that the availability and use of ethical studies involving humans were of more value to medical progress.

Dr Katy Taylor, Director of Science at Cruelty Free International, states: “We welcome the support from Sir David Attenborough, Dr Jane Goodall and other notable experts to end this cruel research. The public may be forgiven for thinking these types of experiments ended in the 1960s, but sadly funding bodies and governments are still endorsing unnecessary experiments on the brains of monkeys. This brutal treatment of monkeys, for speculative ends, does not belong in a progressive society.”

Spotlight: U2’s Charity Work

Sep 08, 2016 06:00 am


U2 is made up of Bono on vocals and rhythm guitar; The Edge on lead guitar, keyboards and backing vocals; Adam Clayton on bass guitar; and Larry Mullen, Jr. on drums and occasionally backing vocals.

The band is actively involved in improving human rights around the world with organizations such as Make Poverty History, Live 8 and Bono’s DATA campaign.

U2 recorded a John Lennon song for a CD compilation to raise funds for Amnesty International.

Spotlight: Clinton Foundation’s Celebrity Supporters

Sep 08, 2016 06:00 am
Health, economic, education, tolerance and peace programs to help strengthen individuals and the world.

Celebrity supporters

Clinton Foundation has 21 known supporters, including Bill Clinton, Oprah, and Hillary Clinton

Areas of work

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.