How do Messengers of Peace contribute to the work of the United Nations?

United Nations Messengers of Peace are distinguished individuals, carefully selected from the fields of art, literature, science, entertainment, sports and other fields of public life, who have agreed to help focus worldwide attention on the work of the United Nations.

Backed by the highest honour bestowed by the Secretary-General on a global citizen for an initial period of two years, these prominent personalities volunteer their time, talent and passion to raise awareness of United Nations’ efforts to improve the lives of billions of people everywhere.

The Messengers of Peace, through their public appearances, contacts with the international media and humanitarian work, help expand understanding of how the ideals and objectives of the Organization demand everyone’s attention.

Since the programme’s inception nearly a decade ago, over a dozen individuals have gracefully lent their names, reputations and energy to motivate people to press for a more peaceful world.

How are Messengers of Peace selected?

Due care is exercised when selecting high profile individuals to serve as a Messenger of Peace or Goodwill Ambassador, and established selection criteria ensure that persons of integrity, who demonstrate the commitment and ability to reach a global audience, are designated.

Ultimately, it is the decision of the United Nations Secretary-General to appoint a Messenger of Peace when appropriate.

What is the difference between a Messenger of Peace and a Goodwill Ambassador?

The United Nations Secretary-General appoints Messengers of Peace, while Goodwill Ambassadors are designated by the heads of United Nations Funds, Programmes and specialized Agencies, e.g., UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNHCR. Goodwill Ambassadors are subsequently endorsed by the Secretary-General.

In what type of activity do Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors participate? How is Civil Society involved with the Messengers of Peace Programme?

The role of the Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors is to communicate the activities and concerns of the United Nations to help extend its public outreach.

In the past, celebrity advocates have participated in activities and events ranging from concerts to giving keynote addresses at high-level United Nations events, to using social media such as Twitter and Facebook to broaden a particular campaign’s reach. Messengers of Peace also visit United Nations programmes and activities in the field, which help raise visibility around pressing regional and local issues in international media.

Non-governmental organizations, educational institutions and other non-commercial entities regularly invite Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors to participate in events and activities that are compatible with the purposes and principles of the United Nations, and help raise awareness and educate about the priority issues of the Organization.