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Harry Belafonte Activity Highlights

2012 • November • Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte was the recipient of the 2012 Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award in recognition of his 25 years of service to UNICEF. “I didn’t anticipate that serving as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador would have such remarkable rewards. I am deeply grateful to UNICEF for giving me the opportunity to serve for so long,” said Mr. Belafonte at the New York City event hosted by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Mr. Belafonte has been outspoken about issues that affect children’s lives and has met with world leaders to champion UNICEF’s mission. His legacy includes advocating for better primary health care, treatment for HIV/AIDS, and free access to education for all children.

2012 • April • Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte supported UNICEF Germany with the launch of their UNICEF campaign “Wasser wirkt” / “Water works”. The goal of the campaign is to provide safe water to at least 50,000 children in six countries by 2015 (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Zambia). The event was held at Akademie der Künste, Berlin. Mr. Belafonte spoke on the importance of having access to safe drinking water and sanitation and that it is a fundamental human need and right. He made a personal call to action.

2011 • February • The German Committee for UNICEF recently honoured Harry Belafonte with the UNICEF Germany Honorary Award for Child Rights for his invaluable support in advancing the fundamental rights of children. The ceremony, which took place at a press conference in Berlin, received extensive media coverage and was attended by corporate partners and major donors of UNICEF Germany. "Although I do not seek praise, I do seek results. And the smile of a child is a result that nurtures me," said Mr. Belafonte upon accepting the award.

2010 • July • Harry Belafonte was keynote speaker at Envision 2010.  Envision is a collaboration between the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) and the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) to produce an annual forum in New York City that unites leaders from the international filmmaking community with prominent representatives from the UN, civil society organizations, entrepreneurs, activists, journalists, economists, public policy makers and non-governmental organizations to address global issues through the international shared language of filmed documentaries.  

2007 • October • In Oslo, Mr. Belafonte supported the Norwegian National Committee’s fundraising event, which raised a record-breaking US$40 million that year. (Newsline)  

2007 • August • In South Africa, Mr. Belafonte participated in the launch of the Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development.  Although not officially travelling on behalf of the organization, Mr. Belafonte spoke about UNICEF’s work during his speech. 

2004 • February • In Senegal, Mr. Belafonte attended the Regional Conference on Birth Registration and appealed to African nations to redouble their efforts to register births.  He also visited sites focusing on girls’ education and child protection, and met with members of youth organizations to discuss the role of young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS. (Press Release)

2004 • February • In Kenya, Mr. Belafonte visited a Nairobi primary school and met with government and business leaders to discuss the achievements since school fees were abolished and highlight the challenges that remained. He later published an article in the International Herald Tribune discussing the importance of abolishing fees for primary schools. (Press Release) (Editorial)

2002 • May • In New York, at the United Nations, Mr. Belafonte and other UNICEF and United Nations goodwill ambassadors attended the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children. (Press Release)

2001 • August • In South Africa, Mr. Belafonte joined the UNICEF delegation and other internationally renowned figures from the worlds of literature, music and human rights advocacy at the World Conference Against Racism held in Durban. 

2001 • June • In South Africa, Mr. Belafonte witnessed the impact of AIDS and the efforts to fight it in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town. He visited people living with HIV and AIDS and met with President Thabo Mbeki and former President Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel. (Press release) (Archive)

1999 • December • In New York, at the United Nations headquarters, Mr. Belafonte participated in the World AIDS Day symposium. He also  launched the Children Orphaned by AIDS report with Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

1999 • November • In Norway, Mr. Belafonte participated in the Oslo Challenge, a series of workshops hosted by the Norwegian Government and UNICEF on the 10th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The meetings challenged participants to consider the complex relationship between children and the media to ensure that the media’s power is used for the good of children. 

1994 • September • Mr. Belafonte undertook a field mission Rwanda in the wake of the massacres in the country and visited UNICEF-supported centres for unaccompanied children. He also made stops at refugee camps in Zaire and the UNICEF offices in Kenya. (Archive)

1988 • March • In Harare, Zimbabwe, Mr. Belafonte attended the symposium – Children on the Frontline, sponsored by the Zimbabwe Committee for Child Survival and Development and UNICEF.  He headed the steering committee and participated in a concert with many top artists, including Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Youssou N’Dour. (Zimbabwe Herald)

1987 • March • In Dakar, Senegal, Mr. Belafonte chaired the International Symposium of Artists and Intellectuals for African Children. He also performed in a concert along with more than 20 other artists. He observed Senegal’s UNICEF-supported successful third vaccination drive, which resulted in 75 per cent immunization of children. (Archive)

Harry Belafonte profile




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