NEW YORK, 20 November 2018 – Emmy-nominated actress Millie Bobby Brown has been announced as UNICEF’s newest Goodwill Ambassador. The appointment – marked on World Children’s Day at United Nations Headquarters and the Empire State Building in New York – makes the 14-year-old UNICEF’s youngest-ever Goodwill Ambassador.
“It’s a dream come true to become a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador,” said Brown. “It’s a huge honor to join such an impressive list of people who have supported UNICEF over the years. I am looking forward to meeting as many children and young people as I can, hearing their stories, and speaking out on their behalf.”
In her role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, the British star of Stranger Things will use her global platform to help raise awareness of children’s rights and issues affecting youth, such as lack of education, safe places to play and learn, and the impact of violence, bullying and poverty. Brown has supported UNICEF’s work since 2016, hosting its 70th anniversary celebrations at the United Nations in 2016, and championing UNICEF’s inaugural World Children’s Day last year. She joins a list of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors including: Muzoon Almellehan, David Beckham, Orlando Bloom, Jackie Chan, Priyanka Chopra, Danny Glover, Ricky Martin, Leo Messi, Liam Neeson, Shakira and Lilly Singh.
“I’m delighted to welcome Millie to the UNICEF family, particularly on World Children’s Day – a day that is all about giving children and young people a voice,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Children are their own best advocates. I know that Millie will use her passion and dedication to defend the rights of vulnerable children and young people everywhere.”
World Children’s Day – celebrated on 20th November – is a global day of action ‘for children, by children’ to raise awareness and funds for the millions of children that are unschooled, unprotected and uprooted. UNICEF is inviting the public to go online and sign a global petition asking leaders to commit to fulfilling the rights of every child now and for future generations, so that every child is in school, safe from harm and can fulfil their potential.
As part of the day, UNICEF is asking supporters to raise their voices in solidarity with the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children by helping ‘turn the world blue’ – by doing or wearing something blue at school, on the streets, on social media, in boardrooms and on sports fields on 20 November. To kick-start the activation, last week Brown starred in a short video encouraging supporters to #GoBlue in support of children’s rights.
To celebrate the annual commemoration, stars and leaders from the worlds of entertainment, government, sport and business will rally for children in support of their rights, and children will ‘take over’ high-profile roles to highlight issues that are important to them. These include:
Iconic landmarks will light up blue, including Sydney Opera House in Australia, Beijing National Aquatics Center, Water Cube in China, Petra in Jordan, and The Empire State Building in the United States of America.
In countries around the world, children will take over parliaments in Montenegro, Peru, Tonga, Suriname and Zambia, amongst others. The Taoiseach of Ireland (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar, will take part in a ‘Kids Takeover’ of his office.
In Brussels, youth delegates will ‘take over’ the European Parliament and tell leaders about the ‘Europe Kids Want.’
In Burkina Faso, young people from West and Central Africa will take part in an ‘Africa Dialogues’ speaking series to tell decision makers about the ‘Africa We Want’.
In India, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar will play a game of unified football with children, with the crowd encouraged to go blue. In addition, children will take over the national broadcaster, Doordarshan, and give awards to MPs that raise children’s issues in Parliament.
In China, Laos, Lebanon, Nigeria, Oman, Tanzania, the United States and elsewhere, children will take over newsrooms to report on issues that matter to them.
In The Netherlands, more than 30 children will be given the chance to take on their dream jobs, from managing a football team to working on the most popular Dutch daily soap, Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden.
More than 50 organizations globally will turn over roles to children or show their support for every child, including FC Barcelona, Beko, All Blacks, Qantas and Amadeus. Johnson & Johnson Headquarters will also be taken over by children as they announce a US$10 million commitment to support UNICEF’s health programmes. The LEGO Group and LEGO Foundation will host a number of `Build the Change’ events around the world where children are invited to share their views on what their dream school looks like.
Alongside Millie Bobby Brown being appointed as UNICEF’s newest Goodwill Ambassador, countries around the world will appoint UNICEF Youth Ambassadors:
Wang Yuan (Roy Wang), 18, singer, UNICEF China Ambassador.
Hima Das, 18, athlete, UNICEF India Ambassador.
Hinna Asefi Wardak, 15, television presenter, UNICEF Afghanistan Ambassador.
Sonam Wangchen, 16, singer, songwriter and musician, UNICEF Bhutan Ambassador.
El Sistema, The National Children’s Orchestra of Venezuela, renewed as UNICEF Venezuela Ambassadors.
A number of collaborations with Youth Advocates will take place as part of World Children’s Day celebrations:
Emanne Beasha, 10, singer and advocate and Joud Mbaideen, 14, author and advocate, UNICEF Jordan.
Raba Khan, 19, social media influencer and YouTuber, UNICEF Bangladesh.
UNICEF India celebrated World Children’s Day (WCD), with this year’s theme focusing on ‘Schools as a supportive environment for Children’. Legendary cricketer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar played a unified football match with athletes from Special Olympics Bharat. Sachin also participated in a panel discussion with Soundarya Pradhan, India’s first ever silver medal winner at the World Junior Chess Championship for the Blind, Prof. Hrushikesh Senapaty, Director, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), Air Marshal Denzil Keelor, Founder Trustee of Special Olympics Bharat and Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF India Representative.
Iconic landmark monuments such as the Rashtrapati Bhawan and the UN House in New Delhi and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in Mumbai as well as the Bhopal Gate were lit up in blue. Media houses such as the Foreign Correspondents Club in Delhi, educational institutions such as the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) in Hyderabad as well as UNICEF state offices across the country joined the #GoBlue campaign in solidarity for child rights. Regional daily Prabhat Khabar turned their masthead blue while Amar Ujala published a series on girls’ empowerment. The public service broadcaster Doordarshan enabled a takeover of their special programmes with children as anchors and prominently displayed the WCD logo at their premises.
Johnson & Johnson, whose support for UNICEF in India is rooted in the mission to expand the reach and quality of healthcare service lit up, its Mumbai office in blue, while Decathlon, a leader in sports goods, organized WCD events across all their stores and their employees engaged with children in various schools. Bridgestone employees showed their solidarity by forming a human chain in the shape of the World Children’s Day logo. Other businesses are also supporting WCD events across the country.
UNICEF India Representative, Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, said, “We are excited to go blue for children. There are millions of girls and boys throughout India who have dreams and aspirations together with a strong conviction that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to. It is our duty to do what is needed to accompany them on this journey. That’s why the World Children’s Day is important. It is a day for children, by children.”
UNICEF India released the findings from a U-report poll, a social messaging tool. The poll conducted among children, identified key facets that make schools a supportive and safe environment. Quality of teaching emerged as the most critical pillar in education and children highlighted the need for a fearless, safe and enabling environment in classrooms. Respondents also highlighted other issues including the importance of innovative and interesting learning materials, parents’ engagement and teacher-student relationship as key to making schools supportive. Bullying emerged as the main cause for abuse and violence against children. Child rights training, support from parents and peers were proposed as the best solutions to the issue.
Inspiring children to come up with solutions to the U-report challenges, NITI Aayog’s Atal Tinkering Labs and UNICEF launched a 72-hour Tinkering Hackathon from 14 to 17 November. The hackathon received 569 submissions from 27 states and Union Territories. The top two innovative solutions, to improve quality of education category and safety in schools, were presented on World Children’s Day.
A series of ‘UNICEF Talks’ were held to spread awareness on the importance of investing in schools as supportive spaces and were led by veteran editors such as Gurcharan Das and Shekhar Gupta as well as former chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Shanta Sinha. Children interacted with nearly 15 Members of Parliament, including Smt. Vandana Chavan, Convenor of the Parliamentarians’ Group for Children as well as Dr. Nardenra Jadav, Dr. K Kamraj and Dr. Vikas Mahatme. Children spoke on various aspects of what schools as supportive and safe spaces means to them and urged to address their challenges.
Thousands of children, actively participated across states. Rajasthan saw children discussing child rights and negotiating for their inclusion in the election manifesto. In Karnataka children came together at the Vidhan Soudha and spoke on child rights with the Chief Minister H.D Kumaraswamy and other legislators. In Uttar Pradesh, media houses such as the Hindustan Times had children as guest editors for a day, while several leading media houses leveraged social media to speak on child rights using the hashtag #GoBlue. FM radio – Red FM, Radio City, Fever HT had their studios going blue with children as Radio Jockeys. In Bangalore, Grammy Award winner Ricky Kej launched ‘My Earth Songs’, a premiere collection for children, on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The day also marked the culmination of a series of initiatives and events that began on 14 November, when UNICEF India appointed sprinter and the Asian Games gold medalist Hima Das as UNICEF’s first-ever Youth Ambassador, to inspire and gather support towards the cause of children and young people.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. Follow UNICEF and for more information on its work visit: www.unicef.org. Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook
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