<p style=”text-align: left”>In recognition of their tireless efforts to improve the lives of youth through conflict resolution and early childhood education, two Sustainable Development Goals Advocates, Colombian singer Shakira and American actor Forest Whitaker will be presented with the prestigious Crystal Award today, before the official opening of the World Economic Forum.

“Forest Whitaker and Shakira are strong and passionate advocates for the Sustainable Development Goals. The world needs more responsible leaders who work tirelessly to promote the transformative and interlinked Goals and their commitment to leave no one behind. I thank the World Economic Forum for recognising these two inspiring SDG Advocates with a prestigious Crystal Award,” stated Thomas Gass, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs.

Showing outstanding leadership in their field, Forest Whitaker and Shakira together with 15 other eminent personalities, were appointed as Sustainable Development Goals Advocates to support the UN Secretary-General’s efforts to generate momentum to achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030. This Agenda, unanimously adopted by world leaders in 2015, represents a blueprint for making our world more equitable, sustainable and livable.

“It”s humbling to be receiving the Crystal Award from the World Arts Forum in Davos and to be counted among the many distinguished and dedicated artists who have been honored over the years for their selfless commitment to their fellow human beings,” said Forest Whitaker.

“The World Economic Forum provides an opportunity for artists, businesspeople, and world leaders to come together and discuss how we can help make our shared Sustainable Agenda a reality,” Mr. Whitaker added. “I hope this year”s meetings in Davos yield new ideas and partnerships that will bring peace and economic justice to more people around our world.”

“I’m honored to receive this award. For me, more than a recognition of my personal experience advocating for children, it’s a reflection of the growing global understanding that our children’s early years are crucial to both their future, and our society’s sustainable growth in the long run,” stated Shakira.

Both Advocates continue to take bold action on the SDGs. Shakira Mebarak has made education a top priority, placing particular focus on early childhood development. The Pies Descalzos Foundation which she started provides access to quality education for displaced and underprivileged children in Colombia. Forest Whitaker likewise has demonstrated a strong commitment to building peace and prosperity, and with the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative he continues to provide educational tools and better living conditions to young women and men living in regions torn by violence and war.

About the Awards

The Crystal Award celebrates the achievements of leading artists who have worked to improve the world in one of the following areas: cross-cultural understanding peacemaking social inclusion the environment health education and food security.

The two SDG Advocates follow more than 80 other exceptional recipients like Bono, Leonardo Di Caprio, and Andrea Bocelli who all received the Crystal Award in previous years.

About the Sustainable Development Agenda

At a historic UN summit in September 2015, world leaders unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which features 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These Goals aim to create prosperity, improve people’s well-being and address climate change by 2030. Governments, businesses and civil society are already mobilizing efforts to achieve the Goals. Universal, inclusive and indivisible, the Goals call for action by all countries — developed and developing countries — to ensure that no one is left behind.

For more information on the SDG Advocates, please visit: www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sdgadvocates

Media contacts
UN Department of Public Information
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Sharon Birch, T: +1 (212) 963-0564 | E: birchs@un.org