The Irish actor Liam Neeson, a long-time campaigner and advocate on behalf of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), today became a worldwide Goodwill Ambassador for the UN agency.
Accepting the appointment, Mr. Neeson said he was “committed to working with UNICEF to help children overcome poverty, violence, disease and discrimination,” according to a press release issued by the agency.
Mr. Neeson said he was particularly keen to use his profile to spotlight the work UNICEF does to reduce the number of children who die each day from preventable causes.
“It is shocking to me that in this day and age, 22,000 children are still dying every day for want of the most basic things like clean water to drink, a safe place to live or access to medicines when they are sick,” he said.
The 58-year-old has been a National Ambassador for UNICEF in Ireland since 1997 and served as the public face of the agency’s Change for Good partnership with Aer Lingus for 10 years. He also backed UNICEF’s Believe in Zero campaign in Ireland and the United States, which focuses on the plight of the estimated 8 million children each year who do not live to see their fifth birthday.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said the agency was “very lucky” to have the services of Mr. Neeson.
“Liam Neeson is not only a passionate dramatic actor, he is a deeply compassionate humanitarian actor,” said Mr. Lake.
Mr. Neeson has been nominated for many film and stage awards, including an Oscar, a Tony and a Golden Globe. His best-known films include Schindler’s List, Michael Collins, Batman Begins and Love, Actually.