What do Selena Gomez, Sarah Jessica Parker and David Beckham have in common? They are all Celebrity Goodwill Ambassadors for UNICEF.

Founded in 1946 by the United Nations and made a permanent organization of the United Nations in 1953, the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, works to ensure the rights of children. According to the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, children have rights to education, protection, health care, shelter and good nutrition. In the poorest regions of the world, children may be denied these rights because of a lack of access to resources, goods and services.

UNICEF has celebrity ambassadors and supporters in countries around the globe. The ambassadors help to raise awareness of global children’s needs, advocate to world leaders for children’s rights and set an example as globally aware citizens. There are three types of Goodwill Ambassadors and Advocates: international, regional and national. These advocates raise awareness internationally, regionally or nationally, with respect to their position.

The Celebrity Goodwill Ambassador program began in 1954 with its first ambassador, the famous entertainer on the screen and on Broadway, Danny Kaye. Following Kaye were other notable performers, actors, singers, athletes and celebrities. One such actor was Audrey Hepburn, who became a Goodwill Ambassador in 1989. In her time as an ambassador, Hepburn traveled to Turkey, Venezuela, Sudan and many other places, advocating for the rights of children.

Currently, there are over 20 international ambassadors, some of which include:

-Katy Perry: She was appointed to Goodwill Ambassador in 2013. Prior to this appointment, Perry had already visited Madagascar with UNICEF, and UNICEF used her song “Roar” in a public service announcement to help inspire girls.

-Liam Neeson: He became a Goodwilll Ambassador in 2011. Famous for his acting on Broadway and in feature films, such as Taken, which discusses trafficking in children and sexual exploitation, Neeson uses his fame to raise awareness of UNICEF’s causes, such as HIV and AIDS programs in Africa.

-David Beckham: Famous for his soccer skills on Manchester United, he used his interest in sports when he became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2005, focusing on UNICEF’s Sports Development program. Since then, he traveled with UNICEF to places including Sierra Leone and the Philippines. In 2015, he started 7:The David Beckham UNICEF Fund, which furthers UNICEF’s mission to protect children’s rights.

These celebrities are making a lasting change in the fight for children’s rights and programs dealing with the results of poverty. With new advocates and ambassadors every year, it seems UNICEF will be able to positively change the lives of children for another 62 years and counting.

Rachelle Kredentser

Sources: UNICEF 1, UNICEF 2, Look to the Stars 1, Look to the Stars 2, UNICEF 3, UNICEF 4, UNICEF 5, UNICEF 6, IMBD
Photo: Daily News

Most well-known for his performances on the big screen, Brad Pitt is showing the world that he has much more to offer than just cinematic entertainment value. Pitt has been involved in a number of projects and activist campaigns to help those in need around the world.

Below is a list of five remarkable and inspiring things that Brad Pitt has done for the world:

1. In 2004, Pitt joined the One Campaign as a spokesman alongside Bono to help advocate for an additional 1 percent of the U.S. budget to go towards supplying Africa with basic needs such as clean water, education, medicine, and food. Pitt has made frequent trips to Africa using his celebrity status to successfully draw media attention and support for the campaign.

2. Pitt traveled to Haiti in 2006 to visit a school supported by the Haitian foundation, Yéle Haiti Foundation. There, he assisted the charity by aiding projects focused on bettering health, community development, environment and education in Haiti through media, sports, and music.

3. In 2007, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Pitt started a project in New Orleans to help build environmental friendly housing in the Ninth Ward. He and Angelina Jolie bought a mansion in the French Quarter of New Orleans to ensure that the project would be a part of their daily life. Pitt also teamed up with Global Green USA as a sponsor of a competition to design and build energy-efficient housing in the Ninth Ward that was both environmental friendly and affordable.

4. In addition to physically joining the ranks of advocacy campaigns and organizations, Pitt and Jolie continually show their support for global issues by donating to various foundations. In 2006 alone, the couple is reported to have donated more than $8 million to charity.

5. Last on the list of inspiring things, but certainly not the least, is Pitt’s history of adopting children with Jolie. The couple currently has six children, three of whom were adopted from different countries. The celebrity couple has certainly shown the world that adoption is a powerful way to make a big difference in a child’s life.

– Chante Owens

Sources: Today News, Look to the Stars,
Photo: U2 Station

UNICEF’s First Celebrity Ambassador, Danny Kaye

“I believe deeply that children are more powerful than oil, more beautiful than rivers, more precious than any other natural resource a country can have. I feel that the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life is to be associated with UNICEF ” – Danny Kaye.

Celebrities tend to get a bad rap. They make oodles of cash and then most of them use it to live extravagant, self-absorbed lifestyles. But some of Hollywood’s most recognizable names have chosen instead to use their fame for good. Audrey Hepburn, Selena Gomez, and Laurence Fishburne just to name a few, have been UNICEF celebrity ambassadors. These celebrities travel the globe and bring awareness to the incredible work that UNICEF does everyday. And it all started with actor and comedian, Danny Kaye.

Danny Kaye was born David Daniel Kaminsky on January 18, 1913 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the youngest of three sons born to Ukrainian Jewish Immigrants Jacob and Clara Kaminsky. From a young age Danny seemed destined to become an entertainer. At 13 he boldly dropped out of high school to pursue a career in show business. He soon returned to Brooklyn to work a string of odd jobs, none of which lasted very long, and eventually returned to his first love, acting.

During his career Danny wore many hats. He had starring roles in film, theater, and television. The beloved actor appeared in the family classic “White Christmas” alongside Bing Crosby and got the whole country laughing with his role in “The Court Jester”. His zany comedic style and heartwarming attitude won him fans the world over. Then, at the height of his career in 1954, he embarked on a whole new journey, becoming the first ever UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a role he would hold until his death in 1987.

As an ambassador for UNICEF, Danny was the first celebrity to publicly advocate for a global cause. He was vocal about his belief that the world’s children held the key to the future and in an interview he said, “Any organization that perhaps creates a better understanding for the children would in some measure contribute to the security and the health and the peace of the world”.

Danny worked tirelessly to use his fame to bring the plight of the children he cared for so dearly to the attention of the world. He gave countless interviews, starred in a few UNICEF public service announcements, and provided much needed laughter and entertainment for kids around the world. In 1979, he even earned himself a spot in The Guinness Book of Records by flying a jet to 65 cities in 5 days to greet thousands of UNICEF volunteers for the annual Halloween Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign. Kaye continued his mission to educate the world about the lifesaving work of UNICEF until his death in 1987.

Danny Kaye is gone but not forgotten. The legacy he created by using his stardom for good paved the way for countless celebrities to follow in his footsteps. Since 1954, UNICEF has had over 40 international Goodwill Ambassadors.

– Erin N. Ponsonby

Source: UNICEF

Springsteen Joins Academy of Arts and SciencesAdd a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to Bruce Springsteen’s already impressive resume. The rock star/philanthropist was elected to the prestigious and selective honorary society for his philanthropic efforts towards social causes, and now joins the likes of actor Robert De Niro, actress Sally Field, fellow singer-songwriter Pete Seeger and Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Annie Dillard and U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences boasts the membership of some of the most accomplished individuals in the fields of arts, science, academics, writing, and civil, corporate, and philanthropic leadership. “Election to the Academy honors individual accomplishment and calls upon members to serve the public good,” said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz. “We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”

In January, Springsteen was named MusiCares, Person of the Year. The nonprofit organization was set up in the ’80s by the same entity that gives out the Grammys — the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science.

The new class will be inducted at an October 12 ceremony at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Katie Brockman

Source NJ

How To Shock A CelebrityAs Richard Hatzfeld writes on Impatient Optimists, breaking through the clutter of global health propaganda is “like asking someone to pick out the sound of a pin drop in a room full of tambourine-clanging kindergartners.”

The pin dropping in this scenario is End7, a nonprofit organization on a mission to end seven Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD’s) by 2020. Earlier this year, End7 released a new video that begins with international celebrities reacting to the visual horror of NTD’s.

Let’s talk about what NTD’s are first. NTD’s, which affect 1 in 6 people worldwide, prevent children from going to school. They prevent parents from going to work and supporting their families. These diseases push impoverished communities deeper into poverty.

NTD’s comprise of diseases such as:

– Schistosomiasis, also known as Snail Fever, the 2nd leading parasitic killer after malaria

– Lymphatic Philariasis (elephantiasis), the massive swelling of limbs and genitals

– Trachoma, an infectious leading cause of blindness, characterized by white lumps in the upper eyelid and eyelashes curling inward

Not to mention river blindness, roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm – End7 promises that all 100% of donations will be given to treatment programs for these diseases.

This isn’t a mainstream health issue. The U.S. hardly even recognizes this as a health issue due to lack of public awareness and thus, its absence from top health policy discussions.  Upon recognizing this, the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases launched the End7 campaign and promptly took its first step to mass public awareness – by showing the video to international celebrities, like Emily Blunt, Priyanka Chopra, & Tom Felton. Reflecting its inherent effect, the video’s name became “How to Shock a Celebrity.”

End7’s video campaign bluntly highlights the underrated power of sight. Look, it tells us. These diseases are real. They’re terror inducing, and they exist halfway around the world from your neighborhood. What you’re feeling is clearly a normal reaction. Do something about it.

Do what? Watch the video. Share it. Become part of the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Show it to your friends, your family, your co-worker who also eats lunch at her desk.

Maybe even show it to a celebrity.

– Shraddha Anandpara

Source: Impatient Optimists