(01-30-2003) Political bigwigs may attend Bono fete - Rocky Mountain News

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Sep 22, 2001
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Political bigwigs may attend Bono fete
By Melinda Newman, Billboard
January 30, 2003

When MusiCares honors Bono at the 2003 Person of the Year dinner Feb. 21, the event is expected to reach far beyond the usual industry types who attend such affairs.

Because of Bono's penchant for meeting with world leaders to discuss his humanitarian causes, sources say the dinner will be attended by a number of top political figures, possibly including President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton.

National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) President Neil Portnow would not comment on whether the heads of state will be there, but says, "To the extent that we have an honoree who does have preeminence and world attention, we would expect and want to broaden the potential list of celebrities beyond our own industry to be part of this."

The annual honoree is selected by the MusiCares board of directors, key staff, and senior NARAS management.

"When it comes to selecting honorees, we look for individuals who really personify doing good things for people, who are philanthropists, and who have heart and soul," Portnow says. "When you pose the question, 'Who might be a great candidate who embodies all of those wonderful characteristics we seek?,' the answer is 'Bono.' "

Bono's humanitarian works are many. In addition to U2's support of Amnesty International and Greenpeace, Bono was a tireless advocate for the International Jubilee 2000 Drop the Debt campaign, which encouraged countries to drop the debt owed them by the world's poorest countries for the millennium.

He has since established DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade to Africa), an organization aimed at getting stable, wealthy countries to work more closely with African nations. Bono is the first member of a group without his own solo musical career to be honored.
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