Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Friday, December 17, 1999

Release #488-99

Contact: Sunny Mindel/ Edward Skyler (212) 788-2958
Kim Serafin, NYC 2000 (212) 788-2000


International Humanitarian Organization to Help Bring in New Millennium

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today joined Brendan Sexton, President of the Times Square Business Improvement District, Jeffery Straus, President of Countdown Entertainment, and NYC 2000 Chair Ron Silver to announce that Dr. Mary Ann Hopkins from Doctor's Without Borders will be the special guest for the New Year's Eve Ball Drop.

"The entire world will be watching Times Square as the clock approaches midnight and Dr. Mary Ann Hopkins is deserving of their attention," Mayor Giuliani said. "Her efforts as a member of Doctors Without Borders symbolize the hope and promise of the next Millennium, while reminding us of the great challenges that lie ahead. As a New Yorker, her compassion and courage represent the very best of the Capital of the World, and it is fitting that she will stand at its crossroads to bring in the New Year."

"It is an extraordinary honor to have been selected to help New York City and the entire world ring in a new Millennium," said Dr. Hopkins. "I am both awed and humbled. Whether one chooses to volunteer here in New York, helping the homeless or travels a world away to give primary care in a refugee camp, these actions make our world a better place. I hope that my participation in this event will underscore the importance of volunteerism and humanitarianism to people around the world."

Dr. Hopkins is an assistant professor of surgery and attending surgeon at Bellevue Hospital and has served in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, Makamba and Burundi. While an undergraduate at Harvard University, she spent two summers working at orphanages in India and Somalia, and she now speaks to hundreds of physicians, medical students, and high school students to share her experiences with Doctors Without Borders.

Doctors Without Borders is a 28 year-old organization of doctors, nurses and support staff who provide medical care in nearly 90 countries. Last year, 2,000 volunteers helped hundreds of thousands of people around the world who had been devastated by wars, natural disasters, epidemics and famine. The organization received the Nobel Peace Prize this year for their extraordinary contributions to humanity.

As the clock strikes midnight on December 31, Dr. Hopkins will join Mayor Giuliani and Brendan Sexton on a stage in the middle of Times Square to push the button that will signal the descent of the new Times Square Ball. The new Ball, designed by Waterford Crystal, is six feet in diameter and features 540 hand-crafted crystal triangles. Transparent, its central circle represents the earth while its seven-pointed star represents the planet's continents. It replaces the old Ball, which featured 12,000 rhinestones and weighed 500 pounds. An estimated one million people will gather in Times Square for the festivities, and two billion people worldwide will watch on television.

NYC 2000, the official millennium committee for New York City, was established through an Executive Order by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to ensure that the City's millennium celebrations showcase New York City as the capital of the world in front of an international audience. Composed of a dynamic group of business and community leaders, and chaired by actor Ron Silver, NYC 2000's events will reflect the best that New York City has to offer and feature celebrations honoring New York City's diverse industries. The celebration will continue until the official start of the millennium on New Year's Day, 2001.

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