UNICEFs Goodwill Ambassadors have joined in commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by appearing in public service announcements meant to draw attention to the groundbreaking international human rights covenant. The CRC turns 20 on 20 November.
In the 30-second PSAs, the prominent UNICEF supporters champion the myriad causes that are important to them. Actress and activist Mia Farrow, for example, speaks about the right of children to be protected from violence. Classical pianist Lang Lang addresses the right to play. And supermodel and businesswoman Claudia Schiffer talks about the right to quality education.
The ambassadors hope they can help turn the worlds attention to the CRC, a legally binding international treaty that has helped shape legislation, guided the work of non-governmental organizations and changed the lives of millions of children.
Queen Rania Al-Abdullah
Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, an ardent and outspoken advocate for the world's children, was appointed UNICEF's first Eminent Advocate for Children in January 2007.
Queen Rania has long been an active supporter of UNICEF and its programmes in Jordan and around the world. She has travelled with UNICEF to earthquake zones in Pakistan, learning centres in India and schools in Argentina, Brazil and Morocco, to emphasize the importance of providing all children -- especially girls -- with quality education.
When international crises threaten the safety of children, Queen Rania is known for speaking out publicly and passionately. Soon after the Gaza conflict broke out in late 2008, for example, she warned "our humanity is incomplete when children, irrespective of nationality, are victims of military operations."
Ishmael Beah, best-selling author and human rights spokesperson, was appointed UNICEF's first Advocate for Children Affected by War in 2007. "For me it's just a way to give me more strength to continue doing what I've already embarked on, what I've dedicated my life to doing -- which is to make sure that what happened to me doesnâ€™t continue to happen to other children around the world," he said.
In 1991, the outbreak of a brutal civil war in Sierra Leone upended the lives of millions. Eleven year-old Ishmael Beah's parents and two brothers were killed. He was forcibly recruited into the war at age 13. After two years, with UNICEF help, he was removed from the army and placed in a rehabilitation home in Freetown.
Mr. Beah continues his advocacy to help change the course for the thousands of children still trapped in wars. In 2008, he co-founded the Network of Young People Affected by War (NYPAW) with a mission to raise awareness of the plight of children in conflict zones, advocate for an end to hostilities and provide role models for children who are currently struggling to recover from war.
Ishmael Beah's book, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, was published in the United States in 2007. It has since been published in Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia and appears in over 35 languages.
Internationally acclaimed actress and humanitarian activist Mia Farrow was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in September 2000. A powerful advocate for children, she campaigns tirelessly for their rights around the world, with a special focus on children affected by armed conflict.
Ms. Farrow has worked extensively to raise funds and awareness for children whose lives are marred by violence in numerous countries, including Angola, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and Nigeria. Along with her son Ronan, a UNICEF Spokesperson for Youth, she has visited the Darfur region of Sudan several times to highlight the devastating impact of continued violence on women and children there.
Born in Los Angeles, Ms. Farrow was the first American actress to be accepted as a member of London's Royal Shakespeare Company. Her performance in Roman Polanski's 1968 film Rosemary's Baby was widely acclaimed, and since then she has made more than 40 films, including, The Great Gatsby, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and her Sisters, Alice, The Omen and Be Kind Rewind.
Noted actor Ewan McGregor -- a star of such films as "Trainspotting," "Moulin Rouge" and the latest "Star Wars" episode -- has been an active supporter of UNICEF since 2004. A number of his visits to UNICEF projects have been featured in high-profile television documentaries.
Mr. McGregor has been involved in the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS global campaign since its launch in 2005, raising funds and awareness in support of children affected by HIV and AIDS. In 2006, he fronted â€˜The Missing Faceâ€™, a documentary that followed him and his friend Charley Boorman on a journey to Malawi and Swaziland, two southern African countries hard hit by HIV. The film was broadcast by Sky Television on World AIDS Day 2006.
Mr. McGregor has also made two intercontinental motorbike journeys with Mr. Boorman to support UNICEF. The trips inspired the â€˜Long Way Downâ€™ project of the UK Committee for UNICEF. The project has raised more than Â£500,000 for programs assisting children affected by HIV/AIDS, war and poverty across Africa.