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New York, 4 December 2013: Goodwill Ambassador Katy Perry: Put the spotlight on children and amplify the voices of youth

© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-1127/Stubblebine
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and Katy Perry hold a T-shirt bearing the UNICEF logo, during the ceremony.

By Priyanka Pruthi

NEW YORK, United States, 4 December 2013 – Striking the right note in her new role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, world-famous singer and songwriter Katy Perry expressed unconditional support for the world’s most vulnerable children.

“I really believe in UNICEF. I really believe that it’s important for us as adults to look after children. They are innocent. They deserve that innocence, and their happiness and joy is pure – and it should be maintained,” said Katy.

The pop superstar was announced as the newest UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador at a special event held at the organization’s headquarters in New York City.

Global pop superstar Katy Perry was appointed UNICEF's newest Goodwill Ambassador on 3 December 2013. A ceremony announcing her appointment was held at UNICEF’s New York headquarters.

“We couldn’t be more proud and excited,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake told Katy. “You are going to make a huge difference, especially through social media, in helping us reach youth to get them more involved in global conversations – but also in acting locally, as well,” he said.

With one of the most followed Twitter accounts and over 59 million Facebook likes, Katy is one of the most powerful forces online, and she plans to lend her voice and her social media platforms to amplify the voices of youth.

“I am honoured to take on this responsibility and role. This is a way for me to take my spotlight and shine it on things that matter and things that are important, things that need more illumination. I believe in the power of the youth. I think the youth culture is not one that is lost. I think we actually are headed in a positive direction. We have a lot of power and we should use that power of good,” she told UNICEF.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-1126/Stubblebine
Ms. Perry (left) and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake (centre) participate in a question-and-answer session moderated by UNICEF National Ambassador for Ethiopia Hannah Godefa (right).

Katy’s journey with UNICEF began earlier this year with a trip to Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world. During a visit to a UNICEF-supported child protection centre there, she met women and children who had experienced abuse and neglect, and she also spoke with community health workers, teachers and government workers about the challenges they face living in a country where 68 per cent of the population lives in poverty and one of every two children suffers from chronic malnutrition.

In an interview with UNICEF, Katy talked about her “life-changing” trip – a trip that had transformed her attitude and inspired her work. “I saw all these children interacting with each other. There was so much love between them and their exchanges. There was so much compassion between them, and they don’t have anything – they don’t have any material possessions. It’s an unconditional love – and that’s what inspired this song on my record called ‘Unconditionally’. It’s a song about the highest level of love, a love that is full of acceptance, that has no fear, that is a love that you can have that’s beyond what you look like – physical representation – it’s beyond your possessions,” she said.

It is the situation of children like those in Madagascar, children living in severe poverty, affected by violence and living in emergencies, that Katy will put in the spotlight through her work as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

“How can we allow it just because they are not in our borders? I think we have to look beyond our countries and help all the other children because they deserve it, too – because we need to raise a generation that has a different way of thinking, that has empathy and compassion, so they can have that with their children.”

 

 
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