Apart from their careers in acting, music, sports and other professions, many celebrities spend their free time working as goodwill ambassadors for UNICEF, making the difference in the lives of children all over the world who are suffering due to tragedy regardless of the cause of their suffering.
Founded in December 1946, UNICEF works to help children around the world, fighting for the basic rights of children and working to help children across the globe have access to food, water, education, medicine and other necessities for them to build better lives. In addition the agency works to protect children from abuse and exploitation, to help in the battle against the spread of HIV/AIDS and to help promote gender equality around the world.
The first celebrity UNICEF goodwill ambassador was comedic actor Danny Kaye who held the position from 1954 until his death in 1987. Other late celebrities who have served as goodwill ambassadors were Audrey Hepburn and Peter Ustinov.
The following celebrities are presently following in footsteps of these three humanitarians, working to make a difference in the lives of children who live in situations of hardship and tragedy all over the world.
For the second part of this list, please see “Celebrities who are goodwill ambassadors for UNICEF, part 2.”
UNICEF People: Goodwill Ambassadors and Advocates: International. UNICEF. n.d. Web. 27 September 2013.
American actress Mia Farrow has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since September of 2000 and focuses her time to raise funds to help children in Haiti and in war torn areas of Africa such as Angola, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.
British actor Orlando Bloom has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since October of 2009; he has worked on providing better education, water and sanitation to poor children and families in Nepal. He also has worked to help children at the Krasnoselsky Center shelter in Moscow in the Russian Federation.
Lord Richard Attenborough
British actor, producer and director Richard Attenborough has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since October of 1987 and he has worked for child relief efforts in South Africa, Mozambique, and Thailand. Over the years he has worked on fund raising efforts for UNICEF and other organizations, using premiers of his movies in the fundraising process.
British soccer player David Beckham has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since January 2005 working with the UNICEF Sports for Development Program. He also participated in fundraising efforts to assist children devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and he was involved in the “Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS” program.
American singer, actor and producer Harry Belafonte has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since March 1987. He chaired the 1987 International Symposium of Artists and Intellectuals for African Children in Senegal, and he has helped in relief efforts for children in South Africa, Mozambique, Rwanda and Kenya.
Hong Kong actor and martial artist Jackie Chan has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since April 2004. He has worked to help children who live in poverty and he has helped to fight against AIDS/HIV discrimination. He founded the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation and the Dragon’s Heart Foundation.
American singer Judy Collins has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since September 1995. A recipient of the Danny Kaye Memorial Award, she has worked in efforts to aid children in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Macedonia. In addition she has continually been an outspoken critic of the use of landmines in warfare. She has participated in numerous benefits and fundraisers in order to raise money for UNICEF efforts.
American actor Danny Glover has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since September 2004, working to combat poverty and disease in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean Islands. He also has worked to bring greater visibility to the issue of the effects of landmines on children in war-torn regions.
American actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since September 2003, focusing on the areas of HIV/AIDS as well as education, human rights and substance abuse. She has also worked to raise funds in order to help victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
American actress Jessica Lange has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since June 2003 working to promote child immunization and to fight against HIV/AIDS. She also travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2003 in order to help children and women after the devastation of that nation’s civil war.