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Press release

Singer and songwriter Shakira appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

© Shakira/UNICEF 2003

NEW YORK/GENEVA/MADRID, 24 October 2003 -- Grammy Award-winning musician Shakira has been appointed a global Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, the world’s leading organization for children, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy announced today.

An internationally renowned singer and songwriter, Shakira joins a world-class roster of celebrities who have embraced UNICEF through the years, dating back to Danny Kaye 50 years ago and continuing today with more than 100 stars of film, music, sport, and literature.

In her new role, Colombia-born Shakira will travel to see first-hand the struggle of millions of children in developing countries. She will serve as a global representative of UNICEF, using her popularity and her personal interest in children’s issues to support UNICEF’s mission to ensure every child survives and thrives through adolescence.

Critical to her appeal is the fact that Shakira, at 26 the youngest UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, has captured an audience of millions of young people in countries world-wide.

“UNICEF has done tremendous work in my home nation of Colombia and I have seen first-hand the difference UNICEF makes,” said Shakira, the first Colombian to be appointed a global Goodwill Ambassador. “It’s rewarding to know that I join such a great list of stars supporting UNICEF, and can personally contribute to improving the lives and futures of children.”

Based on her continuing commitment to education issues, Shakira will lend her star power and energies to UNICEF in its battle to get all children into school and give them a good-quality basic education.  Globally some 120 million children are still not in school, leaving them stuck in poverty and vulnerable to exploitation.

“Fifty years ago, UNICEF was the first global organization to utilize the power of celebrity to further global causes when it named beloved entertainer Danny Kaye its first Goodwill Ambassador,” said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. “Since then celebrities have contributed greatly to UNICEF and served as voices for those who frequently have no voice — the world’s children.”

Shakira joins a famous roster of past and present UNICEF Ambassadors that includes Danny Kaye, Audrey Hepburn, Harry Belafonte, Roger Moore, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Lange, and Mia Farrow. She is part of a vanguard of young faces 
that UNICEF is attracting as it prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Goodwill Ambassadors – a concept that UNICEF originated and which helped make it a household name.  Famous musicians such as George Harrison, Cat Stevens, and Robbie Williams have also been associated with UNICEF.

“Shakira, like all our Goodwill Ambassadors, was chosen based on her compassion, her involvement in global issues, her deep commitment to helping children, and her appeal to young people around the world.  We’re very pleased to have Shakira join the UNICEF family.  I know she’ll help bring UNICEF’s  mission to the audience who will have the most impact on our future – young people themselves,” Bellamy said.

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For further information, please  contact:

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




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