United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace are prominent personalities in their own fields who have donated their time in order to champion key topical issues facing our world today and to promote UN values and ideals in their countries. They carry out advocacy activities at the national, regional and global levels by drawing public and political attention to the dangers of, for example, drug abuse, illicit human trafficking. Each celebrity is usually assigned to promote the work of a specific UN agency, focusing on campaigns for children or refugees, AIDS, human rights, women or other development issues.

Goodwill Ambassadors are usually famous musicians, sport stars and actors. Due to their personal reputation and professional achievements, their status as Goodwill Ambassador is an important symbol for the national audience. The United Nations encourages Goodwill Ambassadors to use their high-profile status to advocate for much needed attention and support for key issues. Most stars are recruited independently by the various UN agencies. They must have a largely unblemished reputation, a proven interest in humanitarian issues and fame on a global scale.

The Goodwill Ambassadors are designated for a period of up to two years, renewable. There are no set procedures or contractual obligations on either side, although there is usually a symbolic swearing-in ceremony. The Goodwill Ambassadors are not paid salary, although a symbolic payment of $1 per year or equivalent may be granted to them.

The guidelines on designating Goodwill Ambassadors issued by the UN Secretary General could be viewed here.

The UN first hit on the idea of celebrity ambassadors in the 1950s, when Hollywood and Broadway star Danny Kaye was taken to promote children's rights. Different UN Agencies nominate the Goodwill Ambassadors at the global level include Angelina Joli, Jacky Chan, Ronaldo, Anatoliy Karpov and others. To learn more on world celebreties helping UN, please visit the following section.


UN Goodwill Ambassadors Worldwide

Hundreds of prominent individuals in art, sport, literature and entertainment from all over the world help United Nations system globally to extend its public outreach and to address topical issues.

Working with specific agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations these celebrities contribute to:

  • ridding our planet of poverty, combating HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability, protecting human rights together with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Read more on UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors...
  • improving the lives of children worldwide by supporting activities of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Read more on UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors...
  • bringing to the public attention the needs of people in developing countries, especially for reproductive health care, including family planning, sexual health and reproductive rights helping United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Read more on UNFPA Ambassadors...
  • supporting Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) by strengthening awareness on AIDS and moving the AIDS response forward. Read more on UNAIDS Special Representatives...
  • communicating the message of respect and compassion for refugees to the general public and voicing for support and protection to refuggees with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Read more on UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors...
  • raising awareness on the infringement of women's human rights around the world including violence against women by supporting initiatives of by United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM). Read more on UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassadors...
  • spreading ideals of UN Educational Sientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) by promoting basic education, cultural diversity and pluralism, universal access to information. Read more on UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors...
  • advocating for human rights issues, encouraging anti-human trafficking initiatives, raising awareness about this modern form of slavery and promoting efforts to combat it with UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Read more on UNODC Goodwill Ambassadors...


UN Goodwill Ambassadors in Ukraine

Ms. Liliya PODKOPAYEVA - United Nations Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS in Ukraine. Ceremony of designating new UN Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS in Ukraine
Ceremony of designating new UN Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS in Ukraine
Ms. Liliya PODKOPAYEVA - United Nations Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS in Ukraine.

Date of designation: November 2005 - November 2006

Olympic Champion in Gymnastics Lilia Podkopayeva was appointed Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS in Ukraine on 17 November 2005 at the UN House in Ukraine during the press-conference. Full story...

Lilia Podkopayeva is honored master of sport in gymnastics in Ukraine (1994) and referee of the international category. Mrs. Podkopayeva is Champion of the World (Japan 1995), Champion of Europe (Great Britain 1996) and Cup of Europe (1995). In 1996 Lilia became Olympic Games Champion in Gymnastics in Atlanta. She is the owner of 45 golden, 21 silver and 14 bronze medals.

Lilia Podkopayeva is also Ambassador of Council of Europe for Sport, Tolerance and Fair Play.


Mr. Sviatoslav VAKARCHUK - United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador for Youth in Ukraine. UNDP Goodwill Ambassador speaks to young Ukrainians during the Summit on MDGs and youth policy in Ukraine
UNDP Goodwill Ambassador speaks to young Ukrainians during the Summit on MDGs and youth policy in Ukraine
Mr. Sviatoslav VAKARCHUK - United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador for Youth in Ukraine.

Date of designation: September 2005 - September 2007

The soloist of the pop group Okean Elzy was appointed UNDP Goodwill Ambassador for Youth on 5 September 2005. Full story...

As one of the most popular and successful Ukrainian musicians, Mr. Vakarchuk addresses his audience during numerous round table discussions, as well as informal meetings with students.

In 2003 Mr. Vakarchuk was appointed as Honorary Ambassador of Ukrainian Culture and in 2005 Honorary Advisor of the President of Ukraine on youth policy; development and implementation culture initiative.

Promoting responsible decision-making by youth, he met with young people in national universities across the country including Lviv State University, Donetsk National University, National Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kyiv National University after Taras Shevchenko, and others insitutions. Mr. Vakarchuk supports efforts of the UN Development Programme in Ukraine on developing youth culture based on self-sufficiency, individual empowerment and responsibility. In year 2006 he visited Warsaw to meet youth and became mediator in fostering the dialogue of young people in Poland and Ukraine on creating a worthy and secure life and helping the young people to manifest their own active civic positions.

UNICEF Representative Jeremy Hartely and UNICEF National Ambassador Ruslana Lyzhychko
UNICEF Representative Jeremy Hartely and UNICEF National Ambassador Ruslana Lyzhychko

Ms. Ruslana LYZHYCHKO
- National Ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund in Ukraine.

Date of designation: May 2005-May 2006

Singer, winner of the 49th Eurovision Song Contest, was appointed a National Ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on 10 May, 2005. Full story...

Internationally renowned Ukrainian singer and songwriter Ruslana joins a world-class roster of more than 200 stars of film, music, sport, and literature who have embraced UNICEF through the years. As the National Ambassador, Ruslana advocates for the rights of every Ukrainian child to health, dignity and development. She serves as a representative of UNICEF, using her popularity and her personal interest in children's issues, to support UNICEF's mission to ensure every child survives and thrives through adolescence.

l UN Goodwill Ambassador Ani Lorak, the participant and active supporter of the Race for Life 2004 initiative
UN Goodwill Ambassador Ani Lorak, the participant and active supporter of the Race for Life 2004 initiative

Ms. Ani LORAK
- United Nations Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS in Ukraine

Date of designation: 2004-2005

Ukrainian artist Ani Lorak is considered to be a pride of a national musical scene.

Numerous albums, singles as well as countless appearances as a star in popular musicals prove her singer and actress gift. Her repertoire includes more than 100 songs, 14 videos in soul, funk, pop-rock and dance styles.

In 1999 she became a honored artist of Ukraine and in 2003 Ani joined the national Supervising Council for fighting drug addiction.In 2004 she activity supported Race for life initiative organized by UN office in Ukraine. As UN Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS, Ani Lorak took part in national information campaign "Leadership for Results" to promote tolerance and to support people living with HIV/AIDS.

 UN Goodwill Ambassador Andriy Medvedev along with volunteers of the Race for Life 2003 initiative
UN Goodwill Ambassador Andriy Medvedev along with volunteers of the Race for Life 2003 initiative

Mr. Andriy MEDVEDEV
- United Nations Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS in Ukraine

Date of Designation: 2003-2004

Mr. Andriy MEDVEDEV is a well-known professional tennis player from Ukraine, who has started his career in 1991. He became the champion of turners of Master's ceria four times - in Hamburg (1994, 1995, 1997) and in Monte Carlo (1994). In 2004 Mr. Andriy Medvedev was appointed the General Secretary of the Ukrainian Tennis Federation. His primary will is to raise the prestige and popularity of tennis in Ukraine.

In 2003-2004 Mr. Medvedev served as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS in Ukraine and contributed to mobilizing public opinion on this topical issue. As a role-model, he participated in Race for Life initiative aiming to draw attention to the problem of HIV/AIDS and to raise money for Lavra Pechersk AIDS hospice.

Mr. Walid HARFOUCH - United Nations Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS in Ukraine. At the opening of the memorial
At the opening of the memorial

Mr. Walid HARFOUCH
- United Nations Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS in Ukraine

Date of designation: 2001-2003

Mr. Walid HARFOUCH was designated as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS in Ukraine in 2001-2003. He is a young French-Lebanese businessman and also composer and a virtuoso pianist.With the aim to help those suffering from HIV/AIDS Mr. Walid organized a charity campaign "Don't Give AIDS a Chance". A culmination point of this concert was a song "Protect the Life", that was written by him.


To see more illustrations of celebrities contributions to UN activities in Ukraine, please visit our photogallery.


World Meetings of UN Goodwill Ambassadors

  • On June 18-19, 2002 the Secretary-General was hosting the Second Gathering of Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors. This two-day meeting entitled "Celebrity Advocacy for the New Millennium" was held in New York. Full story...
  • On 23 October 2000 the First World Meeting of the Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors took place in New York in 2000. Full story...

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For more information please contact:
Tel: (+38044) 253 9363, 254 0035
Fax: (+38044) 253 2607
UN Communications Officer Ms. Victoria Andrievska