Jackie Chan, UNICEF/UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassadoron 6-day mission to Cambodia and Viet Nam to highlight AIDS and landmines
HANOI/PHNOM PENH, 18 April 2005 - Action film superstar Jackie Chan will return to Cambodia and make his first official visit to Viet Nam in his capacity as a UNICEF and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador.
Chan, who has supported numerous charity efforts over the years, was named Goodwill Ambassador during a trip to Cambodia in 2004 in which he pledged to do “whatever I can” to be a champion of children.
As a Goodwill Ambassador, Jackie Chan is committed to HIV prevention efforts and to ending stigma and discrimination against people living and affected by AIDS. He is also committed to ensuring children are protected in times of conflict and to raising awareness levels about the dangers of landmines. His mission to Cambodia and Viet Nam will help focus worldwide attention on these global issues which have a devastating impact on the lives of children and their families.
Cambodia, 20- 22 April
Chan, popularly known in Cambodia as “Chhin Long”, will visit school and community mine risk education and landmine and UXO (unexploded ordnance) removal projects in Battambang province, in the North West.
While the number of fatalities due to landmines and UXO has fallen substantially in Cambodia in recent years, they continue to pose a daily threat to the lives of children and families. Between 2000 and 2004 more than 4,000 people were killed or injured by landmines. More than 25 percent of the victims were children under 18 years-of-age, many had found and played with unexploded ordnances. There are an estimated 4-6 million landmines still buried in Cambodia, the legacy of three decades of conflict.
Viet Nam 23- 25 April
Chan will travel to Quang Ninh province, site of the spectacular Ha Long Bay, to view first-hand community-based programmes supporting children and family members living with HIV. He will also visit a rural health clinic providing services to help prevent HIV transmission from mother to child. He will see how focused prevention efforts for pregnant women are being integrated into routine antenatal care services.
In Hanoi, Chan will meet with Buddhist monks and nuns who are providing care and support to children and adults living with HIV and meet with young adolescents at a ‘healthy living club’ to learn about their personal experiences in combating AIDS .
While Viet Nam has had one of the lowest official HIV prevalence rates in South East Asia (0.4%), infection rates are now on the rise. According to UNAIDS, an estimated 220,000 adults and children are living with HIV – the highest number in the region after Thailand and Myanmar. Around 40 percent of all new reported HIV cases today are among young people, demonstrating their vulnerability and the need for more comprehensive and far-reaching HIV prevention programmes.
Note to Editors:
Goodwill Ambassadors are celebrities with a demonstrated commitment to improving the lives of children. Highly talented in their own right, they all share an ability to bring children’s issues to global attention, to galvanise support from the public and leading decision makers, and to raise urgently needed funds for vital UN programmes.
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.
A press conference will be held in both countries at the conclusion of each visit:
11:00am on Friday 22 April at the Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
For further information, please contact:
In Viet Nam:
Jackie Chan, UNICEF/UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador
Jackie Chan, world famous actor and martial arts expert, was appointed UNICEF and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador during a visit to Cambodia in April 2004.
As Goodwill Ambassador, Jackie Chan is committed to supporting efforts to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and ending the stigma and discrimination surrounding this global scourge, whose impact falls heavily on children. He also intends to highlight the destruction wrought by landmines, whose victims are most often the young and vulnerable.
Since his appointment as Goodwill Ambassador, the charismatic and popular kung fu hero has made time in his hectic schedule to champion the cause of children. During his 2004 trip to Cambodia, he visited HIV/AIDS and landmine rehabilitation and awareness projects supported by UNICEF. In Cambodia, a country with one of the highest HIV infection rates in Asia, he met with children and young people whose lives have been affected by the disease and recorded a powerful television spot on prevention, produced by the BBC World Service and UNICEF as part of a larger HIV/AIDS and child health media campaign.
In Siem Reap, home to the fabled Angkor War temple complex, he witnessed the horrific legacy of hidden landmines that continue to pose a daily threat to Cambodian children and their communities. Cambodia is home to an estimated 4-6 million landmines and has the highest per capita number of amputees in the world – one of every 350 people.
In January 2005, in the aftermath of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami, Jackie Chan made a personal contribution of half a million Hong Kong dollars (around US$64,000) to UNICEF in support of relief efforts. His gift was matched by the New World Group, corporate partners of the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF.
In March 2005, Jackie Chan joined Japanese Goodwill Ambassador Dr. Agnes Chan Miling and pupils at Keiyou Primary School to celebrate UNICEF Japan’s 50th anniversary and to thank the Japanese people for half a century of support for children around the world.
Jackie Chan, whose blockbuster movies include Rumble in the Bronx and The Medallion, rose to international stardom from humble origins in Hong Kong, where he was born 51 years ago. .Apprenticed to a Beijing opera troupe at the age of six, he was trained in all aspects of traditional Chinese opera, including acting, singing and the martial arts. A combination of talent and sheer drive propelled him from stuntman – his debuting role in the film industry – to actor, producer and director, and to a supremo of his genre in Hong Kong and Hollywood. His films, resounding box office hits, blend action and humour in a mix that has delighted millions across the world. His voluminous output includes almost 70 films plus a television animation series and several documentaries.
During his career, Jackie Chan has won numerous international awards honoring his talents in acting, choreography and film-making. These include the Hong Kong Artists’ Guild Best Actor award in 1989, the Insignes de Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the Cinematheque Francaise in 1990, the Outstanding Contribution to Movies Award by the Asia Pacific Film Festival in 1993 and a Life Time Achievement Award from MTV Movie Award in 1995. Jackie Chan is very popular in Japan, where he was voted Best Actor by Japan’s Roadshow Magazine for seven consecutive years, from 1982 to 1989.
Jackie Chan has also earned many prestigious awards and accolades for his charity, humanitarian and public service work. He was chosen as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Hong Kong in 1986, was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1989 and conferred the Honorary Doctorate of Social Science by the Hong Kong Baptist University in 1996. In 2001, he was designated an honorary member of the Los Angeles Police Department and the US cities of San Francisco, Chicago and Las Vegas have named special days after him.
He founded the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation in 1988 to provide annual scholarships to students of performing and technical arts, to support youth projects and to assist performing artists who have suffered hardship and injury.