Tea Leoni, Goodwill Ambasador of US Fund for UNICEF visits Viet Nam
Hanoi, 28 September 2005 – Tea Leoni, a Hollywood film star and Goodwill Ambassador of The United States Fund for UNICEF, is visiting Viet Nam from 2nd to 8th of October 2005.
Best known for her starring roles in Spanglish, Family Man and Deep Impact, Tea Leoni has carried on a 50-year family tradition as the third-generation volunteer supporting UNICEF’s mission of improving children's lives. Her grandmother, Helenka Pantaleoni, co-founded the U.S. Committee for UNICEF (now the US Fund for UNICEF) in 1947 and served as its President for 25 years. During her Presidency, the Committee raised $113 million for the Fund. Her father, Anthony Pantaleoni - a New York City attorney, serves on the national board of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and is a key member of the new AIDS Action Team. Tea Leoni was appointed U.S. Fund for UNICEF Ambassador in 2001.
Tea’s mission to Viet Nam is to promote the Global Campaign for Children and AIDS by raising additional funds to support more children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. Tea will travel to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Quang Ninh province to see activities related to HIV/AIDS. She will visit District Six hospital in HCMC which provides services that help to prevent mothers infected with HIV/AIDS from transmitting the virus to their babies. Here, she will be able to see how this focused prevention for pregnant women is being integrated into routine antenatal care services. She also visits Thao Dan centre, which provides support for street children who are always at high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. Tea will meet with Buddhist monks in Ky Quang II pagoda who are providing care and support to children and adults living with HIV and, before leaving for Hanoi, she will also talk to HIV positive children in Tam Binh social protection centre, an institution that cares for abandoned HIV positive children.
In Hanoi, Tea will meet with young adolescents at a ‘healthy living club’ to learn about their personal experiences in combating AIDS and pay a courtesy visit to the Viet Nam Commission for Population, Family and Children. She will have a chance to view first-hand community-based programmes supporting children and family members living with HIV in Quang Ninh province.
While Viet Nam has had one of the lowest 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.
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, Jackie Chan and football player George Weah.
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Trịnh Anh Tuấn (Mr), Communication Section, UNICEF Viet Nam +844 942 5706, ext 234
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hương (Ms), Communication Section, UNICEF Viet Nam +844 942 5706, ext 401 or