arthur cohn 88.
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Film producer Arthur Cohn has been honored with an annual award by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and used the occasion to warn UNESCO against the breeding of future terrorists in Palestinian schools.
The award complements Cohn's record-breaking six Oscars for such classics as The Garden of the Finzi-Continis and Black and White in Color, and such documentaries as One Day in September and American Dream.
Cohn accepted the award in Los Angeles, which recognizes his "cultural and educational achievements," last week (Nov. 12) at a gala banquet in Dusseldorf, Germany, which raised more than $2.3 million for UNESCO's worldwide Education for Children in Need program.
A black-tie audience of 1,400, including numerous European and American celebrities, attended the event. British actor Jeremy Irons was the presenter and singer Shakira performed at the midnight concert.
Cohn lives in his native Basle, Switzerland, but is equally at home in Hollywood.
In keeping with the evening's theme, UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsunna noted in a message Cohn's sensitive portrayal of children in such films as Central Station, Two Bits and The Chorus.
Last year, the award was given to the Dalai Lama and other recent recipients have included Queen Noor of Jordan, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and actor Peter Ustinov.
In his acceptance speech, Cohn emphasized that today some 120 million children around the world are without home and schooling and that 200 million children do not have enough to eat.
He praised the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose recognition of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, for instance, rescued the film from complete obscurity. The movie, which depicted the fate of an Italian-Jewish family under Mussolini, was initially turned down by more than 40 distributors.
After advocating that UNESCO raise support of its worldwide educational programs, Cohn received his biggest applause when he urged elimination of "school books, TV programs and teaching methods that are preaching hatred and train for terror."
He continued that "We must not forget that the intimidating phenomenon of suicide bombers - who in effect are genocide terrorists - has its roots in Israel and meanwhile has brought lots of mischief and mourning into the whole world, from the United States and England to Indonesia, Iraq and now Jordan, which has been bred in the schools of the Palestinian Authority.
"In these schools, the children are educated from youngest age to celebrate terrorists as heroic martyrs and to emulate them. UNESCO must face the challenge to see to it that only positive human values are taught in the initiatives it supports."
Dr. Paul Spiegel, chairman of the confederation of Jewish communities in Germany, lauded Cohn's words "as a very significant and admirably honest statement, which shows clearly the important task of UNESCO in regard to education in the schools of the Palestinian Authority."