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The U.N.'s 'Superhero Man': A Rocking Tribute To A Humanitarian

It is not often that a United Nations official gets the crowds roaring. But a Norwegian comedy duo managed to get concert goers cheering for Jan Egeland in this video posted on YouTube, describing Egeland as "a United Nations superhero man" and "a peacekeeping machine":

Egeland, who now works for Human Rights Watch, used to run the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and once famously called the U.S. and other rich nations "stingy" on foreign aid. He knew how to grab headlines, raising the alarms after a Tsunami swept through the Indian Ocean and speaking out about manmade disasters in Darfur, Eastern Congo and elsewhere.

Egeland says he was "taken aback" by this unexpected tribute. "I think it is hilarious with its crazy text and great tune," the former UN official writes in an email to NPR.

The Norwegian comedians behind the video told PRI's The World that they filmed that crowd scene by piggybacking on a concert by a Norwegian group called The Mods. It turns out that Egeland's nephew was in the audience and sent his uncle a text message while 25,000 people were screaming his name. Now Egeland is getting messages from all corners of the world, as his former UN colleagues watch the video on YouTube.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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