NEW YORK, 13 June 2004 – UNICEF applauded the announcement that Liberian soccer star and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador George Weah will receive the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award from ESPN for his work on behalf of children whose lives have been affected by conflict, disease and poverty.
“George Weah is an excellent example of how athletes can use their fame to make a difference in the world,” said Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Executive Director. “He is a tireless and courageous campaigner for children, and he richly deserves this award.”
Since 1994 Weah has travelled extensively for UNICEF, raising funds, speaking out on the rights of children and drawing attention to the difficulties that they face. UNICEF named Weah as Goodwill Ambassador in 1997.
He has made several visits to his home country in support of HIV/AIDS prevention and polio vaccination campaigns. This year, Weah partnered with UNICEF to reintegrate and demobilize child soldiers (both boys and girls) back into their families and communities in Liberia, as he has in Sierra Leone.
Weah is also working with UNICEF and sports organizations to bring messages of peace and reconciliation using sport as a way of integrating all people.
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is given to individuals whose contributions transcend sports and is the premier honor during ESPN’s annual ESPY Awards,
The award ceremony will take place at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on July 14. ESPN will televise the event four days later Sunday, July 18 at 9 p.m. ET
Attention broadcasters: B-roll of George Weah is available
For further information, please contact:
Mary Cahill, UNICEF New York, mobile: 347 612 6139
Kate Donovan, UNICEF New York, Tel: 212 326 7452
For nearly 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 158 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.