UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan to visit Timor-Leste to encourage youth to play a positive role in the country's future
DILI, TIMOR-LESTE, 19 June, 2008 — Action film star and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan will visit to Timor-Leste on 24 - 26 June to meet and interact with young people, visit youth centers and a school, and promote the peaceful yet powerful role that young people engaged in martial arts can play.
During his first ever visit to the country, Jackie Chan is scheduled to meet with young people from across the country, including leaders of the popular martial arts groups, to listen to their concerns and hopes for the future, bringing a message of discipline, respect and unity.
He will participate in a performance by over 3,500 members of Dili-based popular martial arts groups at the national stadium. He will also pay a visit to youth centers to view first-hand life skills training and sports activities and interact with students to emphasize the critical importance of education in the lives of children and young people. His mission, hosted by UNICEF and the Secretariat of Youth and Sports, will also include official meetings with the President and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste.
As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Jackie Chan is committed to ensuring that children and young people have the best start in life, with opportunities to become productive members of society, and are able to channel their energies to positive use.
The country, which only received its independence six years ago, is one of the poorest in the region. With one in three Timorese between 15 and 29 years old, many youth are faced with limited opportunities and the government recognizes that strong youth-focused policies and the need to offer better education and employment for young people are paramount. The martial arts have historically been very popular with youth, who joined them for sporting, fitness and self-defense purposes. But with the decent of the country into violence during post independence, tension among these groups resulted to killings, rock throwing and burning of homes.
Jackie Chan, world famous actor and martial arts expert, was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in April 2004. In his work as a champion for the cause of children, he has supported efforts to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, highlighted the destruction wrought by landmines, contributed to the tsunami relief efforts and featured prominently in a media campaign to alert children to the dangers of avian influenza.
Note to Editors:
Among the early UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors were such legends as Danny Kaye, Audrey Hepburn and the recently deceased Sir Peter Ustinov, who have been joined over the years by luminaries such as Sir Roger Moore, Jessica Lange, Harry Belafonte, Ricky Martin and football player George Weah.
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