International pop star Katy Perry has become UNICEF’s newest Goodwill Ambassador as of December 3. Perry is the singer of the anthemic ballads “Firework” and “Roar” and she is obviously living up to her songs’ inspirational messages. UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake stated, “Katy Perry is already a champion for children, and we look forward to hearing her ‘roar’ on behalf of UNICEF.”
Perry’s first project with UNICEF was a trip to Madagascar in April of this year. She spent four days there speaking with local people as well as government and UNICEF workers discussing the major issues facing the country as a whole. Perry met with abused and abandoned children and young mothers. She also visited schools and medical centers and learned how UNICEF has been working toward improving poor living conditions in Madagascar. Over half of the people in Madagascar live in poverty, and the country is plagued with chronic malnutrition, poor sanitation, and lack of education. Perry’s time there and her work with UNICEF evidently impacted her, leading to her new position as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Perry has stated that her experiences in Madagascar changed her life. The trip reportedly taught her to realign her priorities away from material possessions and social status, and put her own situation into perspective. She also stated that her music has been influenced by the stories of the people she met, particularly those of oppressed and abused women. Her new hit “Unconditionally” was inspired by her time there.
Goodwill ambassadors are public figures who choose to use their put their fame and influence to good use by becoming powerful advocates for impoverished and suffering individuals globally. As a wildly successful pop icon, Perry is in the perfect position to engage young people as advocates for the world’s poor, neglected, and abused children and adolescents. She plans to focus her efforts on young people, inspiring those with the power to help, and giving aid to the vulnerable people who need it.
She stated, “I believe young people have the power to change their own lives, with our help. I am honoured to join UNICEF as a Goodwill ambassador, and committed to doing everything I can to help children and adolescents who come from such different backgrounds but want the same thing: a brighter future.”
Perry posted this statement on her widely trafficked Tumblr page, as well as some celebratory tweets and pictures from UNICEF. Perry has previously appealed to her social media followers to support UNICEF and its relief efforts for children.
Actor and comedian Danny Kaye pioneered the Goodwill ambassador concept in 1954 and its most famous participant was Oscar winner Audrey Hepburn. Today, Katy Perry joins a long list of committed ambassadors including Amitabh Bachchan, David Beckham, Harry Belafonte, Orlando Bloom, Jackie Chan, Mia Farrow, Danny Glover, Angelique Kidjo, Liam Neeson, Leo Messi, Sir Roger Moore, Vanessa Redgrave and Susan Sarandon, among others.
– Kathleen Walsh