Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Shakira has joined the bevy of celebrity goodwill ambassadors willing to use their worldwide fame to benefit children and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the world's largest advocacy organization for youngsters said today.
Shakira, 26, is the first Colombian appointed and currently the youngest goodwill ambassador of the "more than 100 stars of film, music, sport and literature," UNICEF said. Some ambassadors are regional and some national.
UNICEF originated the concept of appointing goodwill ambassadors to help focus a global, regional, or national spotlight on its work. It started with film actor Danny Kaye 50 years ago, the agency said.
"UNICEF has done tremendous work in my home nation of Colombia and I have seen first-hand the difference UNICEF makes," Shakira said. "It's rewarding to know that I can join such a great list of stars supporting UNICEF and can personally contribute to improving the lives and futures of children."
Her focus will be to help UNICEF in its programme to get all children into school for a good basic education, using her influence with millions of fans. "Globally, some 120 million children are still not in school, leaving them stuck in poverty and vulnerable to exploitation," the agency said.
The agency's roster of current international goodwill ambassadors also includes Richard Attenborough, Roger Moore, Vanessa Redgrave, Harry Belafonte, Jessica Lange, Whoopi Goldberg, Leon Lai, Mia Farrow and Youssou N'Dour.