Stevie Wonder speaks at the closing of the Diplomatic Conference

June 28, 2013

Video, Stevie Wonder speaks at closing ceremony, which boosts access to books for visually impaired persons worldwide Video | Press Release

"Today my heart is at peace and my faith in humanity has been renewed. When I came to the General assembly in 2010, I challenged you to put your hearts and minds together and conclude a treaty for the world’s blind, or I would write a not so good song about you. Thank goodness, you got it right, and instead, tonight, we’re going to sing a song of celebration together.

It is humbling to know that when the weakest amongst us is in need, you answered the call with a steely determination and a steadfast courage to make a difference.  Today we all are brothers and sisters in the struggle to make this life and the future better, not for one, but for all.

I am here today because all of you made a commitment to do good. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the World Intellectual Property Organization and member states for never giving up, and for giving into a new beginning for the blind and visually impaired. I also would like to thank King Mohammed the sixth for his vision and commitment to facilitate this very important  diplomatic conference.

This victory is most significant for many reasons. Most obviously, the positive impact for the blind and the visually impaired. But also it sends a message to all world leaders, that it is possible to  do business, and to do good at the same time. Compromise should be celebrated, and defined as the new world order for hope and peace.

To the 300 million who are visually disabled, this new treaty is a major step toward access to the basics: such as works in formats such as braille, electronic Braille, large print text and audio books and speech. The thirst and famine for books is coming to an end.

Where I’m from, 300 million is a lot of votes. And to that end, I want to encourage all who are beneficiaries of this treaty to remember fondly those leaders who have pushed this treaty forward.

While the signing of this treaty is a historic and important step, I am respectfully and urgently asking all governments and states to prioritize ratification of this treaty so that it will become the law of the land in your respective states and countries".