|© Maurizio Distefano|
|Lino Banfi visiting a refugee camp in Afabet, Eritrea.|
One of Italy’s most popular actors, Pasquale Zagaria, known by his stage name Lino Banfi, has made more than 100 movies, appeared frequently on television and is a veteran of the theatre. He has been awarded Italy’s highest honor, the Cavaliere and Grand’Ufficiale della Repubblica. In 2000, Lino Banfi became a Goodwill Ambassador for the Italian National Committee for UNICEF, supporting fundraising campaigns and promoting advocacy messages for children’s rights.
In 2001, he visited Eritrea as a UNICEF ambassador. He subsequently promoted fundraising campaigns for the country and a special initiative on children’s right to play. This involved Italian professional football teams playing to raise money for Eritrean children. His public service announcement campaigns for children during the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan emergencies (2001-2003) gave a substantial boost to UNICEF’s fundraising.
In recognition of his contribution to the cause of children, Lino Banfi was invited to meet the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the Celebrity Advocacy for the New Millennium meeting in New York in June 2002. Banfi gave his voice to UNICEF Italy’s television and radio spots on the Iraqi crisis in spring 2003 and in the same year he visited Angola during a UNICEF-funded vaccination campaign.