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Ishmael Beah Activity Highlights

Ongoing •Ishmael Beah is a passionate social media user who often shares the messages of UNICEF and impact of conflict on children.

2017 • October • During the inaugural Gala in San Francisco hosted by UNICEF USA to celebrate UNICEF’s lifesaving work around the world, Goodwill Ambassador Ishmael Beah received the Spirit of Compassion Award. The following week, on 14 October, Beah was the keynote speaker at the 25th annual UNICEF Canada Water for Life Gala, which raised over $1 million to provide clean water for children around the world.

2017 • April • UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ishmael Beah l travels to Jordan to amplify the voices of vulnerable children and young people affected by the conflict in Syria. While there, Beah helped develop the advocacy skills of nearly 50 young people from Jordan, Lebanon and Syria who were at a workshop funded through the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis. 

2016 • December • UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ishmael Beah spoke about his experience as a child soldier in Sierra Leone and his work advocating against the recruitment of children into armed groups at the UNICEF 70th anniversary event in New York. (Press Release)

2016 • July • UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ishmael Beah recorded, for UNICEF’s 70th anniversary, a hope message based on his story as a child soldier, saying “If you’re alive, something good will happen to you.”

2016 • June •Ishmael Beah travels to Sierra Leone to tell a story of hope of how a child solider was able to claim his life with the support of UNICEF and become one of the most passionate advocates for children affected by war.

2016 • May • UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ishmael Beah spoke in Alicante, Spain, to raise awareness and further support for children affected by conflict.

2015 • November • UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War, Ishmael Beah, travelled to South Sudan to meet with former child soldiers, along with different parties to the conflict so as to advocate for the release of child soldiers and their re-integration into their communities and families. (Press Release)

2013 • November • UNICEF Youth Advocate for Children Affected by War, Ishmael Beah, joined UNICEF Luxembourg to launch the KANNERLIICHT child rights action week, aimed at galvanizing additional public support for the work of UNICEF worldwide. The campaign specifically focused on children impacted by conflict in the Central African Republic, with proceeds going towards demobilizing and rehabilitating child soldiers with their families and communities.

2012 • August • On a mission to the conflict-affected towns of N’dele and Akroussoulback, in the northeastern region of Central African Republic, Ishmael Beah witnessed the release of ten children from the armed group Convention of Patriots for Justice of Peace. He interacted with the children when they arrived at a centre managed by UNICEF partner, the Danish Refugee Council. The centre runs programmes providing basic education, sports, cultural activities and vocational skills for an average of 45 children up to age 18.

2012 • June • Ishmael Beah travelled to Germany to participate in the UNICEF Junior Ambassador Ceremony, a competition that brought together 500-600 children involved with human rights projects. He also met with Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning, children involved with the Red Hand initiative, NGO partners, and he was a keynote speaker at UNICEF Germany’s annual meeting.

2012 • April/May • Ishmael Beah helped raise the profile of UNICEF by participating in three events in support of the US Fund. He was the keynote speaker for the US Fund’s Speaker Series on Child Protection in Greenwich, Connecticut and in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. He also spoke at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco to a standing-room-only crowd.

2012 • February • In order to shed light on children associated with armed groups and in observance of the 10th Red Hand Day, UNICEF hosted a livestream Q&A with Ishmael Beah.

2011 • May • In Chicago, Ishmael Beah was the keynote speaker at the US Fund Chicago Speaker Series on Child Protection. The aim of the speaker series is to cultivate and engage major donors. Over 100 people attended the event, including a number of high school students who had been assigned his book to read. (Newsnote

2011 • March • In Geneva, Ishmael Beah, along with Deputy Executive Director Hilde Johnson and Ethiopia Representative Ted Chaiban, participated in the launch of the 2011 ‘Humanitarian Action for Children’ report (HAC). The report highlighted 32 countries and emphasized the importance of strengthening the resilience of communities. (Newsline)

2010 • September • In New York, at the United Nations, Ishmael Beah participated in the third Ministerial follow-up Forum to the Paris Commitments. (News story) (Press release)

2010 • June • Ishmael Beah attended a regional conference in N'Djamena, Chad on ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers in six Central African countries. While in N'Djamena, he visited a UNICEF-supported transit and orientation centre for demobilized child soldiers, a garage offering training to former child soldiers, and a group home where adolescents receive educational and vocational training so that they can become economically independent.  (Newsline) (Newsline)

2010 • February • In New York, Ishmael Beah recorded a public service announcement, adding his voice to the worldwide appeal for donations to help the children in Haiti in the aftermath of the 12 January earthquake there. (Newsline)

2009 • November •  Ishmael Beah was Master of Ceremony and spoke at the Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was held at the United Nations Trusteeship Council in New York. (Newsline)

2009 • October • While on personal travel in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ishmael Beah visited the UNICEF office and CAJED, a transit and orientation center for demobilized children.  Mr. Beah was briefed on their work and spent time at CAJED talking and playing with the children.  The Center, a Congolese non-governmental organization was created in 1992 to lodge, care for and support vulnerable children, including children separated from their families and those formerly associated with armed groups, before reunifying them with their families and/or reintegrating them into their home communities.  CAJED has been a UNICEF partner since 2004.

2009 • May • In New York, Ishmael Beah recorded a public service announcement for the 20th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and was interviewed for the (Big Think), a global forum connecting people and ideas.

2009 • March • Ishmael Beah, wrote a (panel) for the Special Edition of the State of the World’s Children Report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

2008 • November • At the United Nations in New York, at the Universal Children’s Day Meeting on Children in Armed Conflict, Ishmael Beah and two other former child soldiers, Grace Akallo and Kon Kelei, launched the Network of Young People Affected by War (NYPAW).  (Newsline)

2008 • June • At Pace University in New York, Mr. Beah was video-taped by CNN for a CNN and UNICEF global broadcast "The Survival Project: Saving One Child at a Time.”  This feature was aired on CNN (USA) and CNN International on the eve of the G8 Summit. (CNN)

2008 • April • In Jamaica, on his first UNICEF mission, Mr. Beah visited communities where children’s lives are disrupted by crime and gang conflict. (Newsline)

2008 • January • In Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum (25-27 January) Mr. Beah spoke on 'Journeys of Change.' He was introduced by UNICEF Executive Director, Ms. Ann Veneman.

2007 • October • At the United Nations in New York, at the presentation of the 10-Year Strategic Review of The Machel Study, Mr. Beah addressed the assembly and participated in press conference with senior UN officials. (Newsline)

2007 • June • In Wismar, Germany, Mr. Beah participated in the Junior 8 Summit with a reading from this memoir. (Newsline)

2007 • February • In Paris, Mr. Beah spoke at the International Conference on Children in Armed Conflict. (Newsline)

2006 • February • At UNICEF headquarters in New York, Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and other dignitaries attended a reception for Mr. Beah to launch his book A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. (Newsline)

2006 • August • In Hiroshima and Kyoto, Japan, Mr. Beah was the keynote speaker and gave the “Call to Action” at the Religions for Peace Youth Assembly. (Newsline)

Ishmael Beah profile 

© UNICEF/2008/Markisz
In the violence-prone Trenchtown community, in Kingston, Jamaica, Ishmael Beah plays play football with local youths. (April 2008)




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