Addis Ababa - The African Union has appointed famous politicians, musicians, sportsmen and women as advisers and special envoys to promote its peace efforts across the continent.
Anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai and Mo Ibrahim, whose multi-million-dollar prize honours good governance, were among those designated last week as advisers to support the bloc's "Year of Peace and Security" initiative.
The AU launched the programme for 2010 during a summit of heads of state in Libya last year.
Senegal's Grammy-winning singer Youssou N'Dour, Chelsea's Ghanaian footballer Michael Essien and Salif Keita were also named by AU chief Jean Ping as "peace ambassadors".
"The advisory council and peace ambassadors will support the (AU) commission in conflict resolution and peace building efforts on the continent," said a statement sent to AFP.
It said the group would work in supporting the ratifications of democratic commitments, elections and good governance in Africa.
In addition to being bogged down by the conflicts in Darfur and Somalia, the AU is still grappling with the aftermath of coups in Niger and Madagascar and a political stalemate in the Ivory Coast.