Filmmaker, music producer Deeyah Khan named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for artistic freedom and creativity

UNESCO Press Release N°2016-145

Paris, 17 November   – UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova will designate the Norwegian film director of Punjabi (Pakistani) and Pashtun (Afghan) origin Deeyah Khan a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Artistic Freedom and Creativity. The ceremony will take place on Monday, 21 November at 1:00 pm at UNESCO Headquarters.

Deeyah Khan is being appointed in recognition of her commitment to promote art as a universal language and a strength towards development, dialogue and social cohesion as well as for her contribution to the improvement of fairer and freer societies through her work as a film director and for her commitment in favor of the Organization’s ideals.

Singer, music producer, award-winning filmmaker, Deeyah Khan is fully committed to defending human rights.

In 2010 Deeyah Khan founded ‘Fuuse’, an independent media and arts production company that profiles stories and the voices of women, people from minorities and immigrants to celebrate diversity.

She also created “sister-hood”, an award winning online magazine devoted to providing a platform for the opinions of women of Muslim heritage and works closely with international civil society organizations, such as Freemuse,  advocating for and defending freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide..

Ms. Khan recently received the 2016 Peer Gynt Prize from the Parliament of Norway for her work on human rights.

As a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Deeyah Khan will notably promote freedom of creation for artists, and the creative industries in developing countries in line with the principles of UNESCO’s 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The Convention, in particular, encourages governments to support freedom of expression and freedom of movement for artists and cultural professionals, as well as their economic and social rights.  Following the appointment ceremony, Frank La Rue, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, will moderate a panel discussion exploring issues related to artistic freedom at 3:30 pm in Room IX. The panel will be followed by the screening of Deeyah Khan’s documentary film JIHAD: A History of the Others (50’), exploring the root causes and appeal of radical extremism to young Muslims in the West.

The UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors are an outstanding group of celebrity advocates who spread the ideals of UNESCO through their name and fame. They extend and amplify UNESCO's work and mission and have generously accepted to use their talent and status to help focus the world's attention on the work of UNESCO.


Journalists who wish to cover the ceremony should seek accreditation from the UNESCO Media Service.

 Contact: Djibril Kebe, UNESCO Media Service,

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Watch interview with Deeyah Khan  




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