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Wednesday, 28 February, 2001, 00:28 GMT
Injured Jackson keeps Oxford date
Michael Jackson
Jackson: The father-of-two is keen to keep his promise
Pop superstar Michael Jackson has promised British fans he will keep his date to speak at the Oxford University union despite breaking his foot.

The 42-year-old singer is due to address the union with his new mentor, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, on the subject of child welfare on 6 March.

Jackson is currently resting with his right leg in plaster up to his knee after fracturing the bone in a fall at his home, the Neverland Valley Ranch in California.

Heal the Kids is about trying to help adults and parents realise that it is in our power to change the world our children live in

Michael Jackson

The special appearance at the university's prestigious debating chamber is to launch his global initiative for children, Heal the Kids.

The singing star, who is also chairman of the Heal the Kids Foundation, said its message was "far too important to me to allow a broken foot to keep me from this commitment".

He added: "Heal the Kids is about making a difference and trying to help adults and parents realise that it is in our power to change the world that our children live in."

Jackson has two children of his own by Deborah Rowe, who filed for divorce in 1999.

He also was married briefly to Elvis Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.

The Oxford Union often invites celebrities to address its members - last year's list includes soul singer Barry White and actor Charlton Heston.

Shimon Peres
Former Israeli leader Shimon Peres is a foundation member
But Jackson has proved to be the most popular guest in its 178-year history with more than 20,000 people applying to attend.

Boteach is president of Heal the Kids, which is aims to "promote nurturing relationships between parents and children".

It is also devoted to "fostering programmes that help all children gain the love, attention and quality time they need to prosper and flourish".

Members of the charity's board include former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Uri Geller's best man

Jackson and Boteach will be introduced to the union's audience by the psychic Uri Geller, a close friend of both men.

The singer is also is scheduled to attend a number of events while in the UK.

On 5 March he is down to attend the official launch in London of Confessions of a Rabbi and a Psychic, a collection of letters between Mr Boteach and Geller.

He has planned to be best man when Geller and his wife renew their wedding vows, a ceremony at which Mr Boteach will officiate.

Jackson is also scheduled to make an appearance at the 10th annual Michael Jackson Day at the London Apollo in Hammersmith, west London, on 7 March.

See also:

23 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Jackson to 'surprise world'
15 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Jackson launches second charity
09 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Jackson 5 will sing again
06 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Jackson to address Oxford Union
10 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Barry White wows Oxford
06 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Oxford Union: Forum to the stars
15 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Heston attacks British gun laws
09 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Jackson sets Oxford date
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