The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, will designate Nigerien fashion designer Sidahmed Alphadi Seidnaly, known as Alphadi, as a UNESCO Artist for Peace in a ceremony at the Organization’s Headquarters on 25 January (1 p.m.).
The designation comes in recognition of Alphadi’s “commitment to culture and development at the service of peace, respect and human dignity, for his contribution to the promotion of tolerance and for his dedication to the ideals of the Organization.”
Born in Timbuktu (Mali) in 1957, Alphadi is a graduate of the Paris Atelier Chardon Savard school of fashion and design. He has been described as the “magician of the desert” and recognized by some of the greatest names in fashion, including Yves Saint Laurent, Paco Rabanne and Takada Kenzo. His creations combine cutting-edge fashion and traditional African styles.
In 1998, Alphadi launched the first International Festival of African Fashion in the Tiguidit desert (Nige) under the auspices of UNESCO. The Festival has since become a place of exchange and dialogue between cultures from all over the world.
The designer has also created the Alphadi Foundation, which works to improve the lives of women and children in the Sahara and helps create and develop employment in the region.
In his capacity as UNESCO Artist for Peace, Alphadi will work to transform the International Festival of African Fashion (FIMA) into an itinerant event so that the next editions may take place in other African countries, notably Mali and Côte d’Ivoire. He also intends to develop the Festival’s educational function.
UNESCO Artists for Peace are internationally renowned personalities who use their influence, charisma and prestige to help promote UNESCO’s message and programmes. UNESCO works with these distinguished personalities to raise public awareness of key development issues and inform the public of the Organization's action is in these fields.
The ceremony will be followed by a catwalk show of Alphadi’s creations.
To cover the event, journalists are invited to contact UNESCO’s Media Service:
Laetitia Kaci, l.kaci(at)unesco.org