Martial arts actor takes on role of Goodwill Ambassador for UN health agency
Martial arts expert and international film star Jet Li was named today as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), which has lauded his efforts on global disaster relief and support for the well-being of young people.
Mr. Li, born in Beijing, is expected to use his worldwide celebrity to raise attention on key health issues including public health responses to emergencies and mental health.
“I am very pleased to appoint Jet Li as a Goodwill Ambassador for WHO,” said the agency’s Director-General, Margaret Chan, speaking from Sichuan, China, where she is attending an international conference on health response to natural disasters.
Ms. Chan highlighted the actor’s commitment to promoting community involvement and young people’s participation in social and health issues as an asset to WHO’s work.
After experiencing the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Mr. Li took a break from acting and set up a charitable foundation supporting international disaster relief efforts, which has been involved in the emergency response to earthquakes in China. He also set up programmes to help young people to cope with psycho-social challenges.
“He has been personally involved in providing emergency response following natural disasters and has promoted mental health amongst youth. We are grateful that he is willing to use his energy and fame to promote health and well-being,” said Ms. Chan.
In his first official function for WHO, Mr. Li will attend the 7 April launch of World Health Day in Beijing, where he will help spread this year’s message of making hospitals safe during emergencies.