BRAMA, May 10, 2005, 6:00 pm ET|
Ruslana becomes first ever UNICEF National Ambassador in Ukraine
Ruslana Ukrainian pop singer, winner of Eurovision 2004 for 'Wild Dances'
Kyiv, 10 May 2005 -- Singer Ruslana, winner of the 49th Eurovision Song Contest, has been appointed a National Ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the world's leading organization for children, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine Jeremy Hartley announced today.
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.
Ruslana burst onto the world stage with a rip-roaring act at last year's Eurovision Song Contest, carrying off the trophy for her country for the first time.
In her new role, Ruslana will advocate for the rights of every Ukrainian child to health, dignity and development. She will serve 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.
"It is not just a matter of joining a list of stars supporting UNICEF, but having the chance to personally contribute to improving the lives and futures of children," said Ruslana. Based on her continuing commitment to child health and development issues, Ruslana will lend her star power and energies to UNICEF in its battle in Ukraine to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders and prevent the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. "I am also particularly concerned about street children and the many problems that they face," stated Ruslana.
Ukraine is on the threshold of a full-scale HIV/AIDS epidemic, with an estimated one third of a million people living with HIV/AIDS, 11% of which are children. Every year 80% of newborns in Ukraine are not protected from iodine deficiency - which can lead to irreversible brain damage and the loss of 10%-15% of cognitive abilities.
"Fifty years ago, UNICEF was the first global organization to utilize the power of celebrity to further global causes when it named beloved entertainer, Danny Kaye, its first Goodwill Ambassador," said UNICEF Representative in Ukraine, Jeremy Hartley. "Since then, celebrities have contributed greatly to UNICEF and served as voices for those who frequently have no voice - the world's children."
Ruslana joins a famous roster of national, regional and international UNICEF Ambassadors - past and present - that includes Danny Kaye, Audrey Hepburn, Harry Belafonte, Roger Moore, Peter Ustinov, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Lange and Mia Farrow. Famous musicians such as George Harrison and Robbie Williams have also been associated with UNICEF.
"Ruslana, like all our Ambassadors, was chosen based on her compassion, her involvement in global issues, and her deep commitment to helping children. We're very pleased to have Ruslana join the UNICEF family. I know she'll help bring UNICEF's mission to the audience who will have the most impact on our future - young people themselves," Jeremy Hartley said.
The Ukrainian winner of the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest has been very proactive in her international activities including delivering a speech at the European Parliament, holding meetings at the Council of Europe and with the President of the European Commission and the Chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Ruslana is committed to fostering the principles and ideas of the UN Charter.
For nearly 60 years UNICEF (website) has been the world's leader for children, working on the ground in 158 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.