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UNICEF to celebrate 50 years of Celebrity Goodwill

NEW YORK, 23 October 2003  – UNICEF has announced plans for a star-studded “Goodwill Gala” to celebrate UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassadors and their leading role in advancing UNICEF’s mission for children around the world over the past 50 years. 

UNICEF was the first organization to enlist celebrity ambassadors in a global cause, and remains a global leader in celebrity goodwill.

UNICEF supporter Whoopi Goldberg will host the Goodwill Gala; actress Halle Berry is honorary event chair.  The year-long celebration begins December 3 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, with a red-carpet welcome for some of the world’s leading stars.

“Our Goodwill Ambassadors have helped give a name, a face, and a warm human spirit to UNICEF,” said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy.  “Their support and involvement has been critical to our success. Their courage and commitment inspires not only our donors and the governments we work with, but our own staff.  We’re so proud to have these remarkable individuals as part of the UNICEF family.  I’m sure Danny Kaye and Audrey Hepburn would be very proud, too.”

Blazing the Trail

Today virtually every non-profit organization in the world enlists the support of well-known individuals to help advance important causes – but in 1953 it was a different story. 

That year, UNICEF became the first global organization to recognize and harness the power of celebrity when it named beloved American entertainer Danny Kaye as a Goodwill Ambassador.  Mr. Kaye flew around the world to highlight the important work of UNICEF for children, and his humor, commitment, and courage helped inspire generations of stars that followed to use their celebrity to help change the world. 

Since then, an esteemed group of individuals have followed in Mr. Kaye’s footsteps as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors, including – to name just a few – Audrey Hepburn, Roger Moore, Harry Belafonte, Mia Farrow, Sir Peter Ustinov, Vanessa Redgrave and, more recently, Anjelique Kidjo and Jessica Lange. 

Globally, UNICEF has attracted some of the greatest stars from stage, screen, sport and music to support its mission to help children survive and thrive.  Pierce Brosnan, Robbie Williams, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Vendela, George Weah, Manchester United, Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, Femi Kuti, Maxim Vengerov, Sarah Jessica Parker, Laurence Fishburne, Tea Leoni and scores of others have become honored members of the extended UNICEF family. 

(View the remarkable list at https://www.unicef.org/people/people_ambassadors.html)

From George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, whose Concert for Bangladesh marked the first time musicians collaborated for a common humanitarian cause; to the numerous trips made to impoverished countries by Audrey Hepburn; to Sarah Jessica Parker encouraging America’s kids to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF; and TV specials featuring Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, and Shirley MacLaine, celebrities have helped to bring the faces and stories of the world’s children to people everywhere – and have helped endear UNICEF’s mission to millions.

The evening gala will benefit UNICEF’s education programs to give 120 million out-of-school children access to quality basic education, including the skills and knowledge they need to survive and thrive.

Tickets and tables to the "UNICEF Goodwill Gala" are now available.  For information on availability, contact Levy, Pazanti & Associates at 310/201-5033. 

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For further information, please contact:

Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media, New York: (+1) 212-326-7452




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