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Footballer “Chicharito” named UNICEF National Ambassador for Mexico

MÉXICO CITY, 26 May 2012 - Mr. Javier Hernández, also known as “Chicharito” or “Little Pea”, was named a UNICEF National Ambassador for Mexico today.  Mr. Hernández is a football player in Mexico’s national team and also plays for the British team Manchester United.

“Mr. Hernández is a young man who, through his own life, has demonstrated a clear ability to set and achieve his goals”, said Susana Sottoli, UNICEF’s Representative in the Latin American country.  “He has been faithful to his principles, and keenly focused on his objectives.  I trust that he will be able to pass his approach to the children and adolescents of Mexico.  It is therefore a great pleasure for me to name him as our National Ambassador, and welcome him as he joins our efforts for Mexico’s children”.

Mr. Hernández’s talent has enabled him to play in one of the United Kingdom’s best-known football teams, and to become one of his own country’s most important footballers.  But beyond his sports achievements, he has displayed keen interest and determination to contribute to the present and future of Mexico’s youths, especially those most in need – which led to his designation as National Ambassador.

“When I heard that UNICEF wished to invite me to become a National Ambassador, immediately I thought: if it’s about doing something for the kids of my country, I am in”, said Mr. Hernández during the designation ceremony.  “And now that this day has come, I want to express my excitement and my commitment.  We have a lot of work ahead of us, so that all the children and adolescents of Mexico may fully exercise their rights and enjoy all that they are entitled to”.

“Being a UNICEF National Ambassador is a significant responsibility.  I am now a spokesperson for this great organization, and must call people to action in order to help millions of children and adolescents have access to the same opportunities and to a better life”, he added.

Mr. Hernández asked his compatriots to “make a comeback” to overcome the deep inequalities that affect children and adolescents in Mexico.  “Let’s unite for children, let’s keep up our score in achieving a better present for Mexico’s children and adolescents”, he said.

Before the designation ceremony, the new National Ambassador had a conversation with a group of children and adolescents, to exchange opinions about the issues that concern them and affect their development.  Children and adolescents were able to express their concerns, in the hope that Mr. Hernández will be able to play a key role in supporting UNICEF address them.

Under the slogan of “let’s make a comeback”, UNICEF Mexico intends to capitalize on Mr. Hernández’s designation in order to create increased awareness around the need to give a better present and future to hundreds of thousands of children who live in poverty, who leave school and are obliged to work – thereby infringing children’s rights while also inhibiting Mexico’s development prospects.  Although Mexico is a prosperous and modern middle-upper-income country, disparities are astounding.

For more than half a century, UNICEF National Ambassadors have helped improve the lives of children worldwide, by mobilizing public opinion around their situation and appealing for resources to support UNICEF’s programmes.  Mr. Hernández is hence joining a long list of UNICEF celebrity spokespersons, who use their talent and fame for the cause of children’s rights.  In Mexico, Mr. Hernández joins two existing National Ambassador: singer and actor César Costa (since 2004) and singer Julieta Venegas (since 2009).

Note to media: Photos of the event may be downloaded at http://www.flickr.com/photos/unicefmexico

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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