Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars had come together, but there weren’t any paparazzi, expensive designer gowns or screaming fans at this event. Michael Douglas, Muhammad Ali and Susan Sarandon were among the celebrities who gathered at U.N. headquarters Monday to talk about their fame and how they’ve used it to fight for causes for the United Nations, Reuters reports. Spice Girl Geri Halliwell spoke on her numerous campaigns for safe sex, while Ali talked about using religion in daily life and Douglas spoke on his work with a guns-for-jobs program in Albania.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan invited the Hollywood stars, along with about 40 other celebrities from around the world. All are goodwill ambassadors for the United Nations, including Mia Farrow and singer Harry Belafonte, fighting for human rights, drug control and world poverty.
The event marked the first time celebrities had gathered to discuss their work since 1954, when actor/comedian Danny Kaye became the first ambassador for UNICEF.
Commenting on her fight against AIDS, Halliwell, also know as Ginger Spice, said: “Fame is like a bright light,” adding that sometimes people listened to her for all the wrong reasons. But if only two people hear a message on safe sex or the dangers of AIDS, “that’s brilliant and overrides all the cynicism.”