The UN values and heritage
“Today, as globalization brings us all closer together and our lives are affected almost instantly by things that people say and do on the far side of the world, we can do so only if we have global values to bind us together.
Just three years ago, in the Millennium Declaration, all States reaffirmed certain fundamental values as being “essential to international relations in the twenty-first century”: freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature, and shared responsibility.
Many millions of people in the world today are still far from enjoying these rights in practice.
In the face of such a challenge, we can reassert universal values only if we are prepared to think rigorously what we mean by them and how we can act on them.
We may all be sincerely committed to non-violence and respect for life. We may all be genuinely committed to solidarity with our fellow human beings.We may all be deeply attached to tolerance and truthfulness.And we may all be genuinely committed to equal rights and partnership between men and women.
Tolerance and dialogue are essential, because without them there is no peaceful exchange of ideas, and no way to arrive at agreed solutions allowing different societies to evolve in their own way.
In the end history will judge us, not by what we say but by what we do. Those who preach certain values loudest –- such as the values of freedom, the rule of law, and equality before the law –- have a special obligation to live by those values in their own lives and their own societies and to apply them to those they consider their enemies as well as their friends.
Not should we ever be satisfied with things as they are. The state of the world does not allow that.“
- Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Global Ethics, entitled “Do We Still Have Universal Values?”, delivered in December 2003 at Tübingen University, Germany
What is a Goodwill Ambassador?
A Goodwill Ambassador is a person who advocates for a specific cause – a country or an organisation – on the basis of their influence, generally promoting ideals from one entity to another or to a population. A Goodwill Ambassador may be an individual from one country who resides in or travels to another country, in a diplomatic mission (or international friendship mission) at a peer to peer level – country to country, state to state, city to city.
Goodwill ambassadors have been an official (or unofficial) part of governments and cultures for as long as diplomacy has existed.Nevertheless, thegoodwill missions of one countryare usually overseen by the head of state and do not necessarily involve diplomatic credentials beyond a letter of presentation (or letter of credence). However, some states, such as Haiti, do issue credentials that include diplomatic immunity for goodwill ambassadors.
UN Women Goodwill Ambassadors
Since the early 1950s, the United Nations has enlisted the volunteer services and support of prominent personalities from the worlds of art, music, film, sport and literature to highlight key issues and to draw attention to its activities. Over the years, many persons of international stature have lent their names, talents and time to support UN programmes—a number of UN Secretariat units and separately funded and administered Funds and Programmes of the United Nations have designated such individuals as Goodwill Ambassadors or celebrity advocates, who are working on behalf of the United Nations worldwide.
Therefore, as a short history of the UN Women Goodwill Ambassadors, we shall present some of the most influential female celebrities who have left their marking humanitarian heritage.
Academy Award–winning actress Nicole Kidman was appointed Goodwill Ambassador in January 2006 as she is an UN Goodwill Ambassador at present. As UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, her efforts are geared towards raising awareness on the infringement of women’s human rights around the world, with a particular focus on putting a spotlight on violence against women, probably the most pervasive human rights violation that affects as many as 1 in every 3 women.
Ms. Kidman has travelled to countries where UN Women works to end violence against women to amplify the voices of women survivors heard through the media and has helped to raise funds for programmes that address violence against women.“As the Goodwill Ambassador of UN Women, the United Nations’ organization working to empower women and girls, I have seen that there is no limit to what women can achieve when given the opportunity,” says Ms. Kidman. “Working with UN Women, I have met women who had to overcome enormous obstacles, yet who went on to help others and organize to achieve social change. To me, these women embody resilience, strength, dignity—and hope.
British actor Emma Watson was appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in July 2014. The accomplished actor, humanitarian and recent graduate of Brown University will dedicate her efforts towards the empowerment of young women and will serve as an advocate for UN Women’s HeForSheCampaign in promoting gender equality.
At just 24 years of age, Emma has already been involved in the promotion of girls’ education for several years and previously visited Bangladesh and Zambia as part of her humanitarian efforts. She has worked to promote fair trade and organic clothing and served as an ambassador for Camfed International, a movement to educate girls in rural Africa.
“Being asked to serve as UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador is truly humbling,” said Emma. “The chance to make a real difference is not an opportunity that everyone is given and is one I have no intention of taking lightly. Women’s rights are something so inextricably linked with who I am, so deeply personal and rooted in my life that I can’t imagine an opportunity more exciting. I still have so much to learn, but as I progress I hope to bring more of my individual knowledge, experience and awareness to this role.”
After years of dedicated service to UNHCR and the cause of refugees, Angelina Jolie was appointed Special Envoy in April 2012.
In her expanded role, Jolie focuses on major crises that result in mass population displacements, undertaking advocacy and representing UNHCR and the High Commissioner at the diplomatic level. She also engages with decision-makers on global displacement issues. Through this work, she has helped contribute to the vital process of finding solutions for people forced to flee their homes.
Jolie previously represented UNHCR as a Goodwill Ambassador from 2001-2012. She has worked tirelessly, carrying out nearly 60 field missions and becoming an influential advocate on refugee and displacement matters.