At a glance: Uruguay
Football superstar Diego Forlán named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
|© UNICEF Uruguay/2005/Bonavita|
|Diego Forlán signs a contract with UNICEF; he will be paid a symbolic sum of one dollar.|
By Mario Diaz
CIUDAD VIEJA, Uruguay, 31 March 2005 – Football superstar Diego Forlán has long been a hero to many Uruguayan children. In March he was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, giving his young fans even more reason to cheer.
“I am very happy with this new role and I hope to work hard so that many children can have a childhood as happy as mine was,” said Mr. Forlán, who played for Manchester United and is now a member of the Villareal professional football club in Spain. He is currently training with the Uruguayan national team for the upcoming World Cup qualifying tournament.
The ceremony conferring the title on Mr. Forlán was held at the NH Columbia Hotel in Ciudad Vieja, Uruguay, and was attended by Mr. Forlán’s family, government officials, members of the Uruguayan Parliament, local and international media, UNICEF representatives, and dozens of children.
|© UNICEF Uruguay/2005/Bonavita|
|After the ceremony, Diego Forlán signs autographs for his young fans.|
Mr. Forlán, who is 25 years-old and goes by the moniker ‘Cachavacha’, signed a one-year contract for the symbolic sum of one dollar. As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, he will “participate in awareness and fundraising campaigns, and fight for the rights of Uruguayan children and adolescents,” said the UNICEF Representative in Uruguay, Anne Beathe Jensen.
“My advice to the children of Uruguay is to work hard and to always stay true to your values,” said Mr. Forlán, who had to request a special permit to leave the training facility and attend the event. He replaces Enzo Francescoli, another Uruguayan football sensation, who held the position beginning in 1996.
During the ceremony, the children in attendance were allowed to ask questions. With unbridled excitement, they asked Mr. Forlán whether he had a girlfriend and inquired about origin of his colourful nickname.
Mr. Forlán joins a distinguished group of over 200 celebrities worldwide who have lent their support to UNICEF. Ricky Martin, Shakira and Joan Manuel Serrat are among the most notable Goodwill Ambassadors from Latin America and Spain.
UNICEF estimates that about one in two Uruguayan children between the ages of 0 and 5 are living in poverty. The child mortality rate is 1.5 per cent, a slight increase since 2003.
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See a list of UNICEF’s International Goodwill Ambassadors