SECRETARY-GENERAL DESIGNATES CHARLIZE THERON AS UNITED NATIONS MESSENGER OF PEACE

14 November 2008
Note No. 6181

SECRETARY-GENERAL DESIGNATES CHARLIZE THERON AS UNITED NATIONS MESSENGER OF PEACE

14 November 2008
Press Release
Note No. 6181
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

SECRETARY-GENERAL DESIGNATES CHARLIZE THERON AS UNITED NATIONS MESSENGER OF PEACE

Academy Award-winning actress and activist Charlize Theron (South Africa/United States) has been designated by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on ending violence against women.  Her designation will be officially announced at a press conference at United Nations Headquarters on Monday, 17 November 2008.

Recognized for her work to focus attention and mobilize support on social issues, particularly in South Africa, Ms. Theron joins nine other United Nations Messengers of Peace who advocate on behalf of the Organization.

Messengers of Peace are individuals who possess widely recognized talents in the fields of art, film, literature, music and sports, helping to raise worldwide awareness of the Organization’s ideals and activities.  Through their public appearances, contacts with the international media and humanitarian work, they expand public understanding of how the United Nations helps to improve the lives of people everywhere.

In selecting Ms. Theron, the Secretary-General said, “You have used your voice, compassion and special relationship with the public to create a better world.  I am convinced you would be a persuasive and powerful Messenger of Peace.  You have consistently dedicated yourself to improving the lives of women and children in South Africa, and to preventing and stopping violence against women and girls.  I look forward to working with you to end this terrible scourge.”

Ms. Theron founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, in partnership with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), to create a safer, healthier and better life for impoverished children and their families in South Africa, especially those suffering from HIV/AIDS.  As its first mission in 2007, the Project collaborated with Oprah’s Angel Network to provide lead funding for a mobile health and computer clinic designed to improve the health and social development of youth in Umkhanyakude District.  Approximately 5,000 students in this remote community now have access to counselling and testing for HIV and other health issues, and receive computer training and health education, with a special focus on preventing HIV.

Earlier, Ms. Theron participated in a series of public service announcements in support of the Cape Town Rape Crisis Centre, urging no tolerance for rape or domestic violence.

Some of the film roles she has chosen reflect her concern with the issue of violence against women.  Ms. Theron is perhaps best known for her Oscar-winning performance in Monster, in which she played Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer whose youth was characterized by abuse.  In North Country, her character, Josie Aimes, was a woman with a history of domestic abuse who fought back against sexual harassment.

The other Messengers of Peace and their areas of focus are:  conductor Daniel Barenboim (peace and tolerance); actor George Clooney (peacekeeping); author Paulo Coelho (poverty and intercultural dialogue); actor Michael Douglas (disarmament); primatologist Jane Goodall (conservation and environmental issues); violinist Midori Goto (Millennium Development Goals and youth); Princess Haya Bint al Hussein (Millennium Development Goals and hunger); cellist Yo-Yo Ma (youth); and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel (human rights).

For more information, please contact Joanna Piucci, tel. 212 963 7346, e-mail:  piucci@un.org; or Dina Daoud, tel. 917 367 1088, e-mail daoudd@un.org.

For media accreditation, please visit www.un.org/media/accreditation or contact Gary Fowlie, tel. 212 963 6937, fax 212 963 4642.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.