Global Neighborhood of Sesame Street

The Expo 2010 Shanghai China kicked off recently, and American icon brand Sesame Street is there. Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster and the rest of the Sesame Street gang are taking to the stage for an interactive educational program called Magic Map Show. The live event takes children on a journey to five continents to learn about the world we live in, to appreciate and to take care of the environment.

“Big Bird first came to China in 1983,” says Maura Regan, senior vice president and general manager of Sesame Workshop’s Global Consumer Products, “and when he heard about the World Expo in Shanghai, he couldn’t wait to come back to see some old friends and to make some new friends, like Haibao.”

Sesame Street teams with BASF Kids’ Lab, established in Germany in 1997 by BASF, the world’s leading chemical company. The program is designed for children, ages six to 12, to learn about science and environmental protection through fun and hands-on chemical experiment.  Since its introduction to China in 2002, more than 104,000 children have joined BASF Kids’ Lab.

Expo 2010 runs through October 31.

The global brand is taking to the streets – worldwide. On the heels of an historic United Nations General Assembly resolution proclaiming 2011-2020 the Decade of Action for Road Safety,  Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, has joined the Switzerland-based Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) in a move to contribute its educational media expertise to the worldwide effort to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities among children and families. 

Road traffic injuries are a major but neglected public health challenge. According to the World Health Organization’s Global status report on road safety published just last June, 500 children die every day in road crashes, which rank ninth among the leading cause of deaths for children aged one to four years. More children died in Africa in 1998 from road crashes than from AIDS.

“Over the years, Sesame Workshop has harnessed the power and popularity of our Muppet characters to make a meaningful and measurable difference in critical issues facing children and families, from obesity to emergency preparedness,” says Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of Sesame Workshop. “Raising awareness and knowledge of vital road safety behaviors is the key to reversing these statistics.”

Seems the company is making its mark on the virtual world, too. was just awarded a 2010 Webby Award.

Let’s hope there’s a “Sesame Street” in a neighborhood in every corner of the world!

-Janet Muniz

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