Angélique Kidjo, the dynamic West African singer and songwriter, was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2002. She is a passionate advocate for girls' education – a major focus of her work with UNICEF.
Ms. Kidjo is the founder of the Batonga Foundation, which supports both secondary school and higher education for girls in Africa. "For me, education is so crucial because everything goes with it, like healthy politics and development," she said. "Young people are the hope of my continent. When I watch the children of Africa, all dreams seem possible."
Born in Benin, Ms. Kidjo began her career at age six, performing in her mother's theatre troupe. In 1983 she moved Paris, where she studied jazz. Her music is heavily influenced by West African rhythms and incorporates a range of other musical traditions, such as funk, rumba, salsa, jazz, souk and makossa.
Ms. Kidjo has won a number of music awards, including the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music for her album Djin Djin.