A version of Sesame Street, the long-running American children's television programme, is to be adapted for viewers in Northern Ireland.

The American Ireland Fund has made a gift of $1 million to enable the programme to be adapted as a means of promoting the values of tolerance, acceptance and understanding among children.

It will be developed in partnership with Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organisation responsible for Sesame Street.

The initiative will consist of a television series produced in Northern Ireland and focused on local youth.

It is due to be broadcast over an 18-month period beginning early next year.

The project follows on the success of several other Sesame Street initiatives designed to bring educational values to children in over 25 countries around the world including Israel, Palestine, Kosovo and South Africa.

The announcement was made on the eve of the American Ireland Fund's 31st annual Dinner Gala.

AIF has announced a new fundraising record for the event, raising $4 million for deserving projects in Ireland.

It will also construct and staff an integrated pre-school for the education of Catholics and Protestants together in the North as part of its ongoing commitment to integrated education.