Ecuadorian diplomat and politician, Ivonne A-Baki was designated as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in February 2010 in light of her contribution to the Organization’s work in the field of Dialogue among cultures.
Her support includes her participation in the UNESCO project “Arabia Plan”, highlighting cultural link between the Arab world and Latin America. She is also a member of international juries for competitions on artistic expressions as bridges for intercultural dialogue.
Ivonne A-Baki was engaged in the Yasuni ITT project which aims to preserve the national park threatened by oil activity. Classified as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO since 1989, Yasuni Park is located in Ecuador at the intersection of the Amazon, the Andes and the Equator.
Ara Abramian, a distinguished representative of civil society in the Russian Federation, was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Dialogue among civilizations in July 2003, in light of his contribution to the promotion of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue and to the development of civil society.
Well known for his cultural and humanitarian activities, Ara Abramian has been awarded distinctions in the Russian Federation and other countries.
The First Lady of Azerbaijan Ms Mehriban Aliyeva was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Oral and Musical Traditions in September 2004, in light of her actions to promote traditional music, literature and poetry, her role in the promotion of musical education and international cultural exchanges. As President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, she champions the preservation and promotion the cultural traditions of Azerbaijan.
Ms Aliyeva created the Mugham International Center in Baku to promote this traditional Azerbaijani musical form, inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
José Antonio Abreu (1939-2018)
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador since 1998, Mr José Antonio Abreu, was a world-renowned Venezuelan conductor committed to making music education a vehicle for development.
Founder of the National Network of Children's and Youth Orchestras of Venezuela (El Sistema), he has trained more than 150 orchestras representing more than 100,000 young musicians. These orchestras are intended to spread music among children in popular districts and to promote music in all strata of Venezuelan society.
In his capacity as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Mr Abreu performed at the Organization Headquarters and around the world to support UNESCO’s programmes promoting musical education for young people and children, or the education of disadvantaged children.
In addition, he served as a Minister of Culture from 1983 to 1988 and President of Venezuela’s National Council for Culture.
José Antonio Abreu passed away on 24 March 2018.
Paul Ahyi (1930-2010)
Born in 1930, Paul Ahyi strove to increase the world’s knowledge and appreciation of African culture. He was convinced that cultural diversity was a key to dialogue between peoples.Through his numerous artistic activities, he played a decisive role in highlighting our common ideals of diversity, tolerance and intercultural dialogue in Africa and the rest of the world.
His works, recognized not only on the African continent but throughout the world, were shown in West Africa, New York, the United Nations, Paris, the Republic of Korea, China, Canada, Italy and Japan.
In light of the contribution he made through his art to UNESCO’s ideals, he was designated as a UNESCO Artist for Peace on September 10, 2009.
Paul Ahyi received a number of other honors, including the Médaille d’Or des Métiers d’Arts (1961). He was also awarded with several distinctions, and was thus appointed Officer of the Mono Order in Togo (1970), Commander of the Palmes Académiques Françaises (1985) and Officer of the Arts et Lettres de France (1985). Paul Ahyi also wrote several books including “La réflexion sur l’art et la culture” and “Togo, mon cœur saigne”.
Paul Ahyi passed away on 4 January 2010.
Virgilijus Alekna, a former Lithuanian discus thrower, was appointed UNESCO Champion for Sport in November 2007, in light of his role in promoting sport at school.
His long career has been crowned by the highest titles: Olympic Champion in 2000, World Champion in 2003, Olympic Champion in 2004, World Champion in 2005 and European Champion in 2006.
Through the Virgilijus Alekna Club, he has been an active promoter of sport and physical education among young people. He also contributed to the Lithuanian Olympic Education Program, a program supported by UNESCO.
Alicia Alonso (1920-2019)
The Cuban ballerina and choreographer Alicia Alonso was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in June 2002, in light of her outstanding contribution to the development, preservation and popularization of classical dance, through which she promoted UNESCO’s ideals and the fellowship of the world’s peoples and cultures.
Through the numerous activities she undertook in her native Cuba, Ms Alonso played an exceptional role to preserve, develop, popularize and promote classical dance, especially among young generations.
As Director and leading figure of the Cuban National Ballet, Alicia Alonso was an inspiration to a new generation of Cuban dancers who gained a notable place in international ballet. In June 1999, she was awarded the UNESCO Pablo Picasso Medal for her extraordinary contribution to dance.
In the years after her designation, she concerned herself with programmes and projects on basic education and on the preservation of tangible and intangible heritage. Furthermore, after 2007, she became the sponsor of UNESCO’s ‘Dance for Life’ programme, aimed at preventing elitism and exclusion in the field of dancing.
In her capacity as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, she organised a special Gala event, which was held at the National Ballet of Cuba in March 2015 to celebrate UNESCO’s 70th anniversary. She also took part in International Dance Day Gala in 2018, organized by the International Theatre Institute under the patronage of UNESCO.
Alicia Alonso passed away on 17 October 2019.
Relja Bašić (1930-2017)
The Croatian actor, Relja Bašić, was born in Zagreb and has completed most of his studies at the Academy of Dramatic Art.
As an actor fluent in five foreign languages, he played leading roles in over 3.000 theatre performances and featured in as many as 120 films and television series, both at home and abroad. He has also directed numerous plays and won several awards, including the Croatian Theatre Award and the European Circle Prize award in 2001.
After fifty years working as an actor, director and artistic manager, Relja Bašić emerged as an outstanding individual, passionate about the well-being of humanity and of the Croatian people and culture. He believed that the present role of theatre was to bring people closer together. He considered theatre to be like a temple in which we are all equal, and hoped to use his talent to demonstrate this.
In becoming a UNESCO Artist for Peace, Relja Bašić was committed to cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, art and creativity. He was also committed to high goals relating to international political priorities, particularly in the post-transitional countries of South-East Europe (S.E.E.).
Relja Bašić passed away on 7 April 2017.
Mr Patrick Baudry, a former NASA French astronaut, was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in September 1999, in light of his personal commitment, as a skydiver, to the service of youth education and the culture of peace.
Patrick Baudry contributed to the promotion of the "Woodcrafting knowledge of the Zafimaniry" in Madagascar, inscribed on the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008. The Zafimaniry community, representing approximately 25 000 people, is the last repository of this unique mastery of forestry and wood carving. Practically all the wooden surfaces of the villages, from utensils to houses, are decorated with elaborate motifs expressing the beliefs and values of the community.
In his capacity as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, he chaired the panel "ICT and Literacy" at UNESCO Regional Conference "Literacy Challenges in the Arab States Region: Building Partnerships and Promoting Innovative Approaches", which took place in Doha in March 2007.
In addition, Mr Baudry participated at the opening ceremony of the Qatar Science & Technology Park in March 2009. This ceremony was held under the High Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar from 1995 to 2013.
Favorite actress of the greatest directors, Marisa Berenson has been closely collaborating with UNESCO since 1993 and was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2001 in light of her multiple actions for disadvantaged children.
In her capacity as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, Marisa Berenson supported the UNESCO Program for the Education of Children in Need. She was also at the origin of the project entitled "Artists and Differences", which aims to promote the rights of disabled artists and their integration into the artistic community.
In 2001, Marisa Berenson helped found the UNESCO Berry Berenson Perkins Fund in memory of her tragically missing sister in the 9/11 Attacks in New York. This fund supported UNESCO's "The Power of Culture" program, which aimed to help young people affected by conflicts or disasters by giving them access to artistic practices to rediscover their history and their cultural identity.
Pierre Bergé (1930-2017)
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador since 1992, Pierre Bergé is an emblematic figure in the fight against AIDS / HIV. Indeed, he devoted his whole life initiating campaigns against this disease through the Sidaction association he chaired since 1996.
Entrepreneur and co-founder of the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house, Mr Bergé has consistently defended with conviction the protection of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Passionate about Berber art and eager to preserve it, he opened in 2011 the Berber Museum in Majorelle Garden (Morocco).
Pierre Bergé provided unwavering support to many events organized by UNESCO and the Organization’s fields of competence, from topics such as climate change to the protection of human rights.
Pierre Bergé passed away September 8, 2017.
H.R.H Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz (1931-2018)
As a strong advocate for access to fresh water and the fight against poverty, His Royal Highness Prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud committed himself to UNESCO's efforts to ensure that thousands of people escape the vicious cycle of poverty and illiteracy.
In his capacity as the Chairman of the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND), which he founded in 1980, he has worked for development, including the promotion of early childhood education and the modernization of education programs. The main objective of the Programme is still to ensure cooperation, coordination and partnership between the various actors of development.
Prince Talal was able to establish a fruitful cooperation between our two organizations and thus contributed to improving the daily life of thousands of disadvantaged.
In 2002 he committed himself to UNESCO in the struggle for the preservation of freshwater resources, in his capacity as a UNESCO Special Envoy for Water.
His Royal Highness Prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud passed away in Riyadh on 22 December 2018.
The international symbol of Gypsy music Chico Bouchikhi was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in May 1996, in light of his commitment to promote a culture of peace.
Through his concerts, Chico Bouchikhi spreads a message of hope and peace for ethnic minorities, highlighting the richness of the culture and the traditions of the gypsies, such as during the first anniversary of the Oslo Peace Agreement between Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat, or through his participation in events such as International Day of Cultural Diversity.
In his capacity as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, Chico Bouchikhi supports the empowerment of girls and women through quality education.
In May 2016, Chico Bouchikhi gave in Marrakech a charity concert under the patronage of UNESCO for the benefit of the Riad Zitoun School. This school, founded in March 1998, is engaged in the education and training of rural girls in the province of Haouz, Morocco.
Montserrat Caballé (1933-2018)
Montserrat Caballé, legendary opera singer and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, supported numerous UNESCO projects and activities in favor of children in need.
Montserrat Caballé used her talent to raise public awareness on numerous causes, including the fight against AIDS in the framework of the World Foundation for Research and Prevention of AIDS founded by Professor Luc Montagnier.
Montserrat Caballé was designated as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador on 22 April 1994 in light of her dedication to the ideals and aims of the Organization. In this capacity, she was committed to the defense of children in need in Somalia, Guatemala, Bosnia Herzegovina, and many other countries. She also performed at UNESCO Headquarters on the occasion of major events such as the Félix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize Award ceremony.
Montserrat Caballé passed away on 6 October 2018.
Well-known Guinean singer, Sayon Camara was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2002 in light of her efforts to promote traditional African music, filled with emotion and hope. Her music is in line with the Mandingo art of the great griots, singing peace and happiness.
In 1999 and 2002, she participated twice at the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize at UNESCO headquarters.
Veronica Campbell Brown
A triple Olympic Gold Medallist, Veronica Campbell-Brown appointed UNESCO Champion for Sport in October 2009, in light of her advocacy for gender equity in sport.
Since her first participation at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, she won eight Olympic medals. She is the second woman in history to win two consecutive Olympic 200 meter events, in 2004 and 2008.
In May 2011, Veronica Campbell-Brown launched her Foundation which supports the education of young women.
Pierre Cardin (1922 - 2020)
The famous French visionary couturier Pierre Cardin was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in January 1991, in light of his contribution to the promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding through art.
Pierre Cardin has given unwavering support to UNESCO's programs, particularly the Chernobyl program entitled "Never Again - Priority Environment", implemented in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia following the nuclear disaster of April 1986.
As UNESCO's Goodwill Ambassador, Pierre Cardin sponsored the "Six Flags of Tolerance" project, a UNESCO initiative for the United Nations Year for Tolerance in 1995. UNESCO has offered the Six Flags to each of its member States, symbolizing the spirit of tolerance.
In March 1999, he organized an elephant race in Jaipur, India, as part of the celebrations planned for the year 2000. The benefits of the event were donated to disadvantaged children in India as part of the UNESCO World Program for the Education of Children in Need.
Maha El-Khalil Chalabi
Maha El-Khalil Chalabi, a strong advocate for heritage, was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in February 2016, in light of her commitment to the "League of Canaanite, Phoenician and Punic Cities", including through the International Association to Save Tyre (AIST) and the Tyre Foundation. As Secretary-General of the International Association to Save Tyre, she seeks to promote internationally and safeguard the city of Tyre, inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984.
Created in 2009, the "League of Canaanite, Phoenician and Punic Cities" is a network of cities designed to strengthen cooperation and dialogue between the peoples of the Mediterranean around crucial issues relating to heritage and cultural diversity.
Ms Lauren Child, the best-selling author of children’s books, was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in December 2008, in light of her efforts to empower childhood development through education and her support to UNESCO’s Programme for the Education of Children in Need.
China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe
The China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in July 2007. The Troupe received this title in light of its role in promoting UNESCO’s activities in Inclusion and Quality Learning Enhancement; and its contribution, through performing arts, to the propagation and promotion of peace, tolerance and hope.
Their dazzling performances make them a symbol of hope, solidarity and remarkable advocates of UNESCO’s activities in the field of inclusion and quality learning enhancement, within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Troupe has acquired international recognition appearing in some of the most prestigious venues in the world such as the Scala in Milan, Carnegie Hall in New York and the Sydney Opera. They participated in the closing ceremony of the 2004 Paralympics Games in Athens and the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
In June 2007, they performed at UNESCO Headquarters for the representatives of the Organization’s Member States.
Marin Constantin (1925-2011)
Marin Constantin, one of Romania’s most prominent cultural ambassadors, was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1992.
His expertise in ancient and classical music, in addition to his talent as a composer and conductor, made him one of the most distinguished classical music representatives.
The Madrigal Chamber Choir, over which he presided, has dedicated much of its work to UNESCO’s activities and to the World Heritage Centre.
Marin Constantin passed away on 1 January 2011.
The flamenco dancer and choreographer Joaquín Cortés was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in October 1999, for his extraordinary contribution to the preservation and promotion of the folkloric and artistic heritage of the gypsy people but also for his commitment to the disadvantaged and for the promotion of the values of equality, tolerance and solidarity among peoples.
The famous Spanish dancer mixes classical ballet and contemporary dance in a style all his own. He travels the world and performs in prestigious venues such as the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the Congress Palace in the Kremlin in Moscow, the Champs Elysée Theater in Paris and the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Concerned about equality between peoples, the famous dancer constantly defends the community of which he is a native as well as the poorest people through his artistic activities.
Cheick Modibo Diarra
Dr Cheick Modibo Diarra, a scientist of international repute and former Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA, was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in May 1998.
His designation came in light of his outstanding role in the Pathfinder Mission dedicated to the exploration of the planet Mars and for his contribution in promoting science education in Africa.
His work is entirely guided by his philosophy that “investing in humankind through education is the only way to obtain lasting and respectable development in Africa”. In 2000, he launched the Pathfinder Foundation, contributing to spread scientific education as a solid base for sustainable development in Africa.
As UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and Chair of the Pathfinder Foundation, he carries out many projects in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa by organizing workshops which teach children about the benefits of science to humanity.
In addition, Mr Diarra organized the World Education Forum in Dakar in April 2000 and the Forum on Africa at UNESCO Headquarters in November 2001.
Manu Dibango (1933-2020)
The famous Cameroonian jazz musician Manu Dibango was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2004, for his outstanding contribution to the development of arts, peace and dialogue among cultures throughout the world.
Manu Dibango believed deeply in the power of music to bring peoples and cultures together, because, as he said in a UNESCO Courier article in March 1991, music is “the most spontaneous, natural form of contact between one person and another”.
In May 2004 Manu Dibango participated in the inaugural concert of the International Day of Africa at UNESCO Headquarters. He supported the campaign for the promotion of a culture of peace in Africa. In January 2010, he participated with 50 other famous musicians and singers in a charity concert "Pour Haïti" in Paris. He also took part in the celebrations during the first International Jazz Day, held at the Organization's Headquarters in 2012. Two years later, Manu Dibango raised the flag of the French language by celebrating the International Day of La Francophonie – for support of the French language was a cause he cherished.
At the same time, guided by a constant spirit of justice, Manu Dibango never ceased to encourage creativity and defend the copyright of creators, thus placing himself at the heart of the missions of our Organization.
Manu Dibango passed away the 24 March 2020 at the age of 86.
Die Brenz Band
Die Brenz Band Orchestra, a German group founded by mentally and physically disabled musicians, was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in February 2005, in light of its fervent commitment to the promotion of peace through its musical activities.
Die Brenz Band is a member of "Peace 21", a foundation dedicated to promoting peace through dialogue and art. It supports the foundation with its numerous concerts in Germany, Switzerland and the Middle East.
In 2002, Die Brenz Band Orchestra performed at the Swiss EXPO.02 national exhibition as part of an event entitled "Pain, Source of Creation".
In his capacity as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, Die Brenz Band Orchestra contributed to the success of the International Music Festival entitled "Festival Makel Los – sans tache" which was held in Beijing in October 2014. This event aimed to promote the rights of persons with disabilities and their social inclusion.
The international superstar Céline Dion was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in September 1999, in light of her commitment to the ideals of the Organization by defending the values of the protection of childhood, the assistance to the most deprived and the fight against exclusion through popular music.
Céline Dion received the Icon Award for her outstanding contribution to the music industry at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards ceremony.
In her capacity as UNESCO Artist for Peace, she made a video speech which was very much welcomed during the Conference entitled “Internet and the radicalization of youth: Preventing, Acting and Living together”, held in Quebec city, Canada, from 30 October to 1 November 2016, in the framework of the UNESCO Information for All Programme (IFAP).
World Champion Judo, David Douillet was appointed UNESCO Champion for Sport in September 2001, in recognition of his commitment to the programs of the Organization for the Education of Children and Youth.
His awareness towards children explains his multiple contributions to the collection of "yellow coins" organized by the Foundation Hospitals of Paris-Hospitals of France, intending to improve the daily lives of young children and teenagers hospitalized in France.
In 2002, David Douillet traveled to Niger to support UNESCO's "Hope and Solidarity around a Balloon" program, which combined educational, sports and cultural activities.
The famous Polish jazz singer Urszula Dudziak was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in February 2016, in recognition of her commitment to using music as a force to raise public awareness on the importance of education of young people.
During her career, Urszula Dudziak collaborated with leading contemporary musicians such as Bobby McFerrin, Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Sting and Ron Carter.
In her capacity as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, Ms Dudziak is involved with UNESCO’s projects and activities aiming to support the education of young people, women empowerment, cultural diversity, as well as artistic education in Kenya and in Tanzania.
In February 2016, she performed with her musicians at UNESCO Headquarters.
Jean Serge Essous (1935-2009)
Born in 1935, Jean Serge Essous was a Congolese saxophonist and clarinetist, and the cofounder of the Afrika Team; the band Bantous de la Capital; OK Jazz and the Orchestre Rock a Mambo.
During his professional career as a Jazzman, Jean Serge Essous performed in several African, European and Latin America countries. He also closely collaborated with Manu Dibango, UNESCO Artist for peace.
Jean Serge Essous was designated as a UNESCO Artist for peace on October 11, 2006, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the UNESCO’s ideal.
Jean Serge Essous passed away on 25 November 2009.
Montserrat Figueras (1942-2011)
Distinguished singer and musician, Montserrat Figueras was a Spanish soprano.
Montserrat Figueras married the famous viola da gambist Jordi Savall, with whom she developed a very personal and distinctive approach to interpreting early vocal music.
Montserrat Figueras gave a memorable performance after the inaugural meeting of the High Panel on Peace and Dialogue among Cultures held at UNESCO Headquarters on February 18, 2010 and marking the official launch of the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures.
She was designated as a UNESCO Artist for peace on June 17, 2008. He husband was also designated as a UNESCO Artist of peace on that occasion.
Montserrat Figueras passed away on 23 November 2011.
Juan Diego Florez
Juan Diego Florez, a Peruvian opera tenor, was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in November 2012, in recognition of his dedication to initiatives related to social inclusion and education.
As President of the Sinfonia Por El Peru Foundation, he champions the creation of children’s orchestras and choirs in Peru. The Foundation aims to transform society through music by giving children and youth important values through music education.
His efforts to promote education for all have been widely recognized, receiving prestigious prizes and distinctions in Peru and in the rest of the world. In 2007, he received the Knight Grand Cross in the Order of the Sun of Peru, the highest decoration in Peru.
Sheikh Ghassan I. Shaker
Philanthropist, humanitarian and long-time supporter of UNESCO, Sheikh Ghassan I. Shaker supported projects for the education of women, children and refugees in Jordan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, Kosovo and Uganda.
He also supported intangible cultural heritage programmes through the sponsoring of the Cultural Space of the Boysun District in Uzbekistan and the Al-Sirah Al-Hilaliyya Epic in and Egypt.
Sheikh Shaker was designated as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1989 and resigned in December 2011.
Ivry Gitlis (1922 - 2020)
The great violinist Ivry Gitlis was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in December 1988, in recognition of his personal commitment to the promotion of projects in the cultural field.
A supporter of peace between Israel and Palestine, he performed at the Oslo Gala, commemorating the first anniversary of the 1993 agreements.
In his capacity as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Mr Gitlis performed at the opening of the 3rd session of the International Bioethics Committee in September 1995.
Mr. Gitlis also supported UNESCO's "Children in Need" Programme, through his participation at the Düsseldorf Gala, Germany.
Mr. Gitlis passed away on 24 december 2020.
Juan Luís Guerra
The internationally recognized singer Juan Luís Guerra was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in September 2008, in recognition of his efforts for the benefit of children in need and his unfailing engagement for youth violence prevention.
The 18-time Latin Grammy winner Juan Luís Guerra is known as the Master of Merengue, a type of music and dance originating from the Dominican Republic, which he helped introducing in Europe.
As a member of the Foundation “America Latin en Accion Solidaria” (ALAS), created in 2006, he fight malnutrition of children in Latin America. The Foundation received the support of the United Nations through an agreement with the World Food Programme (WFP).
In December 2007, Mr Juan Luís Guerra participated in a concert organized by the association “La Ventana De Los Cielos”, supported by UNICEF, for the benefit of children with disabilities.
Zaha Hadid (1950-2016)
Zaha Hadid, founding partner of Zaha Hadid Architects, was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and was internationally known for her built, theoretical and academic work. Each of her dynamic and innovative projects built on over thirty years of revolutionary experimentation and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design. She was named UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2010, in recognition of her efforts to raise awareness of intercultural dialogue and promote excellence in design and creativity.
Zaha Hadid was also the root of many prestigious buildings, including the MAXXI: National Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome, BMW Central Building in Leipzig and the Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg, all hailed as architecture that transforms our vision of the future with new spatial concepts and bold, visionary forms.
Combining innovation and dynamism, Zaha Hadid participated in the deconstructivist movement, and always defied convention to change the general way of looking at space. In her message in UNESCO's Creative Economy Report in 2013, she summarizes her vision of architecture by stressing the inseparable relationship between the creative freedom of technology experts and the needs of communities. Her work was the subject of a critically-acclaimed retrospective exhibition at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2006 and showcased at London’s Design Museum in 2007. Her recently completed projects include the Nordpark Railway stations in Innsbruck, Mobile Art for Chanel in Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York, the Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion in Spain and the Burnham Pavilion in Chicago.
Zaha Hadid passed away on 31 March 2016.
Christine Hakim, one of the most famous actresses of the Asian region, was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for teacher education in South East Asia in march 2008, in recognition of her efforts to raise public awareness on education and upgrading teachers’ status in Indonesia.
Throughout her career, Christine Hakim has played an active role in raising public awareness on educational issues such as the upgrading of teachers’ status. In 1999, she created the Christine Hakim Foundation to consolidate her work, engaging in fund-raising and advocacy events, such as the “Hello Selamat pagi campaign”, which was initiated to assist underprivileged Indonesian children and extend financial assistance to local teachers in remote areas.
In her capacity as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, she recorded a video message on the occasion of the launching ceremony of the ‘One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals” campaign, which took place in April 2010 in Manila, Philippines. The event, organized by the World Health Organization in close cooperation with UNESCO, was a response to the need for disaster mitigation and risk reduction efforts in schools and health facilities.
In addition, she also delivered a message on the occasion of World Teacher’s Day, held at UNESCO in October 2010.
Hakuho (Davaajargal Munkhbat)
Professional Sumo wreastler, Davaajargal Munkhbat (Hakuho) was appointed UNESCO Champion for Sport in September 2008, in recognition of his dedication to promote a better future for young people.
In July 2006, he participated at the UNESCO Children’s Performing Arts Festival of East Asia held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Orchestra H2O Sound of the Earth
The Orchestra H2O – Sound of the Earth was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in December 2016, in recognition of their commitment to raise awareness among young people about water management in a fair and sustainable way.
The Orchestra uses musical instruments made from salvaged waste, such as bottles and cans. Guitars, trumpets and flutes made from recycled pipes and funnels hold a large musical repertoire in order to spread a simple and urgent message: water is a natural resource that could be irremediably drained if the necessary measures are not taken.
H2O - Sounds of the Earth travels all around Paraguay and beyond, with its 50 orchestras of 2,200 children and young musicians and 300 adults from 44 ethnic communities in Paraguay. H2O organizes also during their tours many awareness campaigns about the good management of environment and water conservation.
In March 2018, they performed during the 8th World Water Forum on the theme “Sharing Water”, held in Brasilia, Brazil.
Professional tennis player formerly world number one, Justin Henin was appointed UNESCO Champion for sport in December 2006, in recognition of his personal commitment to the values of excellence, fair play and the fight against doping in sport.
Justine Henin won 43 singles titles, 7 Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic gold medal in 2004 at Athens. Considered as one of the greatest female tennis player of all time, she became the first Belgian tennis player inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2016.
In her capacity as a UNESCO Champion for Sport, she participated in the inauguration of UNESCO Village at the "Paris Stade Francais Youth Tennis Open – BNP Paribas Cup" held in Paris in July 2007. The event reunited young tennis-players from more than 60 countries. On this occasion, UNESCO offered a series of educational workshops and games on a variety of topics related to the Organization’s areas of expertise, including sporting ethics and the fight against doping in sport.
Ikuo Hirayama (1930-2009)
Professor Hirayama, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, became an eminent painter and public figure. Campaigning for the preservation and restoration of the world’s cultural heritage, he publicized the activities of what he called the “Red Cross Spirit for Cultural Heritage”. This movement aims to help people in conflict or extreme poverty with financial and technical aid for the preservation of their cultural heritage.
A UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador since 1989, Professor Hirayama promoted the preservation of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temples, China's Mogao Caves, Afghanistan's Bamiyan Buddhist monuments and North Korea’s Koguryo Mural Tombs. He also funded the Ikuo Hirayama Silk Road Fellowship Program, which awards fellowships to 100 young Silk Road researchers throughout the world.
For more than 20 years, Professor Hirayama supported the Organization’s projects, especially in the fields of education, emergency relief and reconstruction. He was particularly concerned with raising awareness of the value of cultural heritage as a basis for mutual understanding.
Ikuo Hirayama passed away on 2 December 2009.
The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean
Michaëlle Jean was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1968, fleeing the dictatorial regime of the time.
After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Italian and Hispanic languages and literature at the University of Montréal, she pursued her master's studies in comparative literature and taught at the university's Faculty of Italian Studies. Three scholarships allowed her to pursue her studies at the University of Perugia, the University of Florence, and the Catholic University of Milan. She is fluent in five languages: French, English, Italian, Spanish, Creole and fluently reads Portuguese.
During her studies, Michaëlle Jean worked for ten years with Quebec shelters for battered women, while actively contributing to the establishment of a network of emergency shelters throughout Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. She later ventured into journalism and became a highly regarded journalist and anchor of information programs at Radio-Canada and CBC Newsworld. She also took part in documentary films produced by her husband, filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond, including A State of Blackness: Aimé Césaire’s Way (La manière nègre ou Aimé Césaire, chemin faisant), Tropic North (Tropique Nord), Haiti in All Our Dreams (Haïti dans tous nos rêves), and Last Call for Cuba (L’heure de Cuba), all of which earned awards both in Canada and internationally. The couple has a daughter, Marie-Éden.
Michaëlle Jean has won numerous awards, including the Prix Mireille-Lanctôt for a report on spousal violence; the Prix Anik for best information reporting in Canada for her investigation of the power of money in Haitian society; and the inaugural Amnesty International Canada Journalism Award. She has also been named to the Ordre des Chevaliers de La Pléiade, by the Assemblée internationale des parlementaires de langue française, and has been made an honorary citizen by the City of Montréal and the Ministère de l’Immigration et des relations avec les citoyens du Québec, in recognition of her accomplishments in communications.
Sworn in on September 27, 2005, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, 27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, since Confederation in 1867, assumed the function of Head of State. She ensured that the institutional space she occupied could become, more than ever before, a meeting place where dialogue prevails and citizen voices are heard. A fervent practitioner of diplomacy of proximity and diplomacy on a human scale, she also led forty missions and State visits abroad in Afghanistan, in China, in ten African countries, in nine countries in the Americas, and in more than ten European countries.
During her mandate, the Governor General has been awarded honorary degrees from the following universities:
- University of Ottawa (2006);
- University of Foreigners of Perugia in Italy (2006);
- McGill University (2006);
- York University (2007);
- University of Manitoba (2007);
- University of Alberta (2008);
- Université de Moncton (2009);
- Université Laval (2009);
- Royal Military College of Canada (2010); and
- Université de Montréal (2010).
Recently, the Governor General was presented the 2009 United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Canada Award for her outstanding manner in advancing gender equality.
In 2009, she received the Board of Governors Recognition Achievement Award from the National Quality Institute for her contribution to the quality of life of Canadians and humanity.
In December 2014, further to her election as a Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), Michaëlle Jean resigned as a UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti.
The French painter and sculptor Alain Husson-Dumoutier was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in November 1999, in light of his commitment to the UNESCO Programme for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence. In 1996, Alain Husson-Dumoutier collaborated with UNESCO to sculpt the trophy for the Madanjeet Singh Prize for Tolerance and Nonviolence. Established in 1995, the prize bears the name of its benefactor Madanjeet Singh, a former UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
In his capacity as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, Alain Husson-Dumoutier inaugurated after 7 years of investigations and pictorial work an exhibition entitled "Les Rescapés de la Shoah, Courage, Volonté, Vie" at UNESCO Headquarters in January 2014. The exhibition, representing 37 figurative, symbolic or illustrative portraits of the last Holocaust survivors, took place at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva in September 2016.
An internationally renowned musician, Missa Johnouchi was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in August 2006, in recognition of her role in promoting, preserving and safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Through her concerts, she supports the various World Heritage Center Programs.
Since August 2009, UNESCO collaborates with Ms Johnouchi in the ‘Torch-Run World Heritage Concert’ project. This project aims to promote and assist UNESCO's activities in the field of World Heritage. Thus, Missa Johnouchi has performed across the world to promote heritage, in particular during her concert for the restoration of the Baghdad Arab Academy of Music at UNESCO Headquarters. In June 2017, she performed at the church La Madeleine, in Paris, to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.
Cyprian Katsaris, the Franco-Cypriot pianist and composer, was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in October 1997, in recognition of his contribution to promote classical music around the world.
In October 1997, he performed at UNESCO Headquarters in the framework of the 29th session of the General Conference. The musical prelude offered by Cyprien Kastaris and Luis Giron May was a tribute to UNESCO's work for peace.
As part of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures, he participated in the "Peace as Palmyra" concert of the Association of Artists for Peace (ADAP), held in February 2016 at UNESCO Headquarters. This concert, bringing together 9 pianists from all over the world, has spread a message of tolerance in favor of closer relations among peoples.
In September 2016, he contributed to the success of the Batumi Festival through his participation in a conference on UNESCO values. The event also brought together Elisso Bolkvadze and Ino Mirkovic, two UNESCO Artists for Peace.
Mr Marcel Khalifé, a world-renowned Lebanese musician, was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in June 2005, in recognition of his outstanding commitment to the musical heritage and artistic creation.
Interpreter and specialist of the oriental lute, he is also a composer deeply attached to the contents of the texts on which he relies. By associating with the great contemporary Arab poets, he seeks to renew the Arabic song.
In 2004, Mr. Khalifé was a member of the International Jury of the Mondialogo School Contest, the first global competition for schoolchildren involved in intercultural dialogue organized jointly with UNESCO.
In his capacity as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, he performed at the Organization’s Headquarters in June 2005, performing "Takassim (Partitions)", for Oud and Bass.
In addition, Marcel Khalifé participated to the tribute to the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, held on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in November 2006 at UNESCO Headquarters.
H.E. Mwai Kibaki (1931 - 2022)
Former President of the Republic of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki was designated UNESCO Special Envoy for Water in Africa in April 2016.
His designation came in light of his numerous efforts to highlight education as an important tool for the success of water-related projects and activities and to promote water management in a sustainable manner.
In addition, he supports initiatives aiming to make potable drinking water accessible to communities, notably in his capacity as a Patron of the Millenium Water Alliance, a multi-donor-funded initiative that seeks to make potable drinking water accessible to communities that are under threat of water security and scarcity.
H.E. Mwai Kibaki passed away on 22 April 2022.
Vitaliy & Wladimir Klitschko
Vitaly and Wladimir Klitschko were appointed UNESCO Champions for Sport in December 2006, in recognition of their outstanding achievements in sport and for their exemplary efforts in promoting UNESCO’s Programme “Education for Children in Need”. Created in 1992, the programme aims to offer a future to vulnerable children through education.
In 2003, the Klitschko brothers founded the “Klitschko Brothers Foundation”, which is active in fighting drug abuse and homelessness in Ukraine.
Also at home, they contributed to the creation of the International Sport Fund named “Sport – 21st Century”, which serves to foster confidence and hope among people through physical education and sport.
In their capacity as UNESCO Champions for Sport, the Klitschko brothers support UNESCO’s Programme “Education for Children in Need”. In the framework of this Programme, they have visited and supported numerous projects of UNESCO in Ukraine, Germany, Romania, Brazil and Namibia.
French sailor, artist, and author of a series of portraits of women from all around the world, Titouan Lamazou was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in March 2003 in the framework of the celebrations for “International Women’s Day”. Through his work entitled “Women of the World”, a series of drawings and paintings that brought him to over 40 different countries, he contributed to the promotion of women’s empowerment and gender equality.
Ms Gong Li, a famous Chinese film actress, was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in May 2000, in recognition of her dedication to the Organization’s ideals and aims.
Over the course of her career, Ms Gong Li has received numerous awards including three People’s Hundred Flowers Awards and two Golden Rooster Awards, the two most prestigious film awards in China.
In 2014, she chaired the jury of the 17th Shanghai Film Festival, one of the most important film festivals in Asia.
Tania Libertad, one of the greatest voices of Latin American, was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in October 1997, in light of her extraordinary contribution to musical expression that knows no boundaries, and promoting a culture of peace through music and singing.
Omer Zülfü Livaneli
Ömer Zülfü Livaneli is considered one of the outstanding figures in the cultural and artistic life of his native Turkey. Singer, composer, writer, conductor and film director, this multitalented artist has spread UNESCO’s message of multiculturalism and tolerance since his 1996 designation. His songs are performed by renowned international stars and have been recorded by the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra.
He uses his music as a vehicle to bring his message of peace, tolerance and international understanding to the hearts of his countless fans, supporting UNESCO to promote a culture of peace through music.
Livaneli is one of the foremost advocates of Turkish-Greek friendship, giving concerts in both countries to promote good relations between the two neighbours.
Ömer Zülfü Livaneli resigned in 2016.
The former Algerian footballer Rabah Madjer was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in October 2011, in recognition of his role in favor of youth and the promotion of sports values.
In his capacity as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Rabah Madjer supports UNESCO's work for youth in Africa, particularly in favor of youth participation in the development of the African continent.
In April 2012, Rabah Madjer organized a friendly football match in Algiers for the benefit of African youth.
Mr Madjer also participated in the signing ceremony for the partnership agreement between UNESCO and the Saudi club Al Hilal. This partnership, in favor of social inclusion and personal development of young people through sport and especially football, was held in April 2015 in the framework of International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
Valente Ngwenya Malangatana was born in the village of Matalana in the South of Mozambique in 1936. Renowned for his vast canvases toiles and frescos of colourful crowds, he was also recognized as a ceramicist, engraver, sculptor and poet.
After the independence of Mozambique in 1975, Malangatana received commissions for many public works, including the mural paintings of the Museum of Natural History and the Centre of African Studies at Eduardo Mondlane University. Malangatana created a fresco in Maputo during the UNESCO Conference on Culture of Peace and Governance (September 1997).
During the same year Malangatana was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace, and donated of one of his works, entitled “Youth and Peace”, to the Organization. Malangatana exhibited in many countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. His works can be seen at the National Museum of Art of Mozambique, as well as in galleries and private collections in Angola, India, Nigeria, Portugaland Zimbabwe.
Up to his death, he was the Director of the Association of the Matalana Cultural Centre, whose integrated development project is based on economic activity and social mobilization through occupational training and the creation of small businesses.
Malangatana passed away on 5 January 2011.
Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
Nelson Mandela was undoubtedly one of the greatest moral and political leaders of our time. He was revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality. Nelson Mandela served as South Africa’s first democratically elected president from 1994 to 1999, overseeing his country’s transition from minority rule and winning international respect for promoting reconciliation. Since his retirement, he was active on behalf of a number of social and human rights organizations.
Born on 18 July 1918 in Tembu, a small village in the Transkei of which his father was chief, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was the first member of his family to attend school. His involvement in politics began in his student days at Fort Hare University. Joining the African National Congress party in 1942, he became a notable opponent of the white minority government, was arrested for anti-apartheid activism in 1962 and remained in prison until 1990. He earned worldwide recognition as a freedom fighter and “Free Nelson Mandela” became the rallying cry for anti-apartheid campaigners. In 1991, he and State President de Klerk, who ordered his release, were awarded the UNESCO Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize. Two years later, they shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
Nelson Mandela was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador on 12 July 2005 at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. Nelson Mandela was awarded the title “in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the fight against apartheid and racial discrimination, in his country and worldwide; for his dedication to reconciliation between different communities; his unfailing commitment to democracy, equality and learning; his support for all the oppressed of the Earth; and his exemplary contribution to international peace and understanding”.
Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013.
Lily Marinho (1925-2011)
Lily Marinho used her status and role in society to give a voice to the voiceless and to promote a culture of peace and non-violence through the media.
A committed advocate for the rights of street children and families in need, Lily Marinho initiated and supports numerous projects providing children and families with shelter, health care, food and education.
She spoke out on behalf of the weakest people in society, focusing national attention on the issues of homelessness, poverty and illiteracy. A tireless fundraiser for her causes, she continued to donate extensive funds to social and charitable projects. Lily Marinho was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1999.
Lily Marinho passed away on 5 January 2011.
Milton Masciadri, a renowned double bass player from Uruguay, was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in October 1998, in light of his contribution to the culture of peace through the world of music. In his capacity as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, he promotes musical education among young people and spreads a message of peace, tolerance, and respect.
Maria de Medeiros
Portuguese actress known throughout the world for her role in Pulp Fiction, Maria de Medeiros, was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in March 2008, in recognition of her outstanding commitments to arts education.
She participated in several events with UNESCO in April 2008, such as a visit to the home town of the famous painter Malangatana, former UNESCO Artist for Peace, in Mozambique. She also contributed in Mozambique to a meeting with cultural agents and the press to discuss the theme “Arts for Education”.
Maria de Medeiros is the first Portuguese woman to become a UNESCO Artist for Peace.
Rigoberta Menchú Tum
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in June 1996, in recognition of her actions for the protection of indigenous societies.
The fight of Rigoberta Menchú Tum, who tirelessly denounced the human rights violations in Guatemala in the 1980s, was crowned by the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. The symbolic strength of this award greatly contributed to the completion of the peace negotiations that ended 36 years of war in December 1996.
As Chairperson of the Indigenous Initiative for Peace, she championed the protection of the political, social and cultural rights of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities.
In her capacity as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, she contributed to the promotion of the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995-2004).
Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999)
Yehudi Menuhin was born in New York to Russian-Jewish parents, and later obtained British nationality and honorary Swiss nationality. He was a virtuoso violinist and committed to peace.
He made his violin debut at the age of seven in 1923, with the San Francisco Symphony. He then performed in New York the followed year, and then played Lalo’s Symphony Espagnol in Paris and performed at the Carnegie Hall in New York at eleven years old. Yehudi Menuhin also played Beethoven with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
He studied with the Romanian violinist, composer and conductor George Enesco in Paris. His early career took him all over the world playing with the greatest conductors.
His immense legacy does not only lie in his reputation as a musician, but also for his social and humanitarian commitment. During the Second World War, he performed concerts for the Red Cross; and from 1956, he devoted himself to music education by founding the Gstaad Festival in Switzerland, and the Yehudi Menuhin School in Cobbam, Surrey, England in 1963.
He participated in UNESCO's activities, in leading the International Music Council (IMC), a non-governmental organization funded by UNESCO, from 1969 to 1975. He also contributed to the institution of International Music Day – celebrated every year with cultural events on 1 October, in many countries – and launched the IMC/UNESCO Prize.
Yehudi Menuhin was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1992, and remained so until his death in 1999. In this capacity, he traveled the world for two years at the head of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations and UNESCO (1995) in order to spread the message of tolerance and peace.
One of his books Art, Hope for Humanity of 1987 is a manifesto of his commitment to peace and reconciliation.
In addition to the title of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, he was awarded several other honorary titles: he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, received the Order of Merit of Germany and gold medals from the cities of Paris, New York and Jerusalem, and was awarded the Legion of Honour and the Lorraine Cross.
On 1 October 2019, a street in Paris in front of the UNESCO Headquarters was inaugurated in his honour as the Promenade Yehudi Menuhin. The Mayor of Paris stated on this occasion: "Yehudi Menuhin remains to this day one of the greatest virtuosos in the world, known for his commitment to peace, pedagogy and openness to others".
Yehudi Menuhin passed away on 12 March 1999.
The renowned violinist Ino Mirkovic was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in October 1998, in light of his contribution to the culture of peace through the world of music.
In his capacity as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, he performed in January 2006 with Mr Milton Masciadri during an international conference focusing on security in the age of terrorism, promoting peace and tolerance at the Theatre La Fenice in Venice, Italy.
Through music, he promoted cultural diversity and mutual understanding based on respect and dialogue.
Georges Moustaki (1985-2013)
French singer and songwriter Georges Moustaki promotes UNESCO values and ideals of peace through his wonderful songs. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, and raised in a multicultural environment, his songs have been performed by some of the world’s best-known singers: Edith Piaf, Serge Reggiani, Barbara, Dalida, Yves Montand and Henri Salvador amongst others. A multi-faceted artist, Georges Moustaki also composed soundtracks, wrote and painted.
Georges Moustaki was designated as a UNESCO Artist for Peace in 1999 in recognition of his commitment for the promotion of a culture of peace and his contribution to promoting the Organization’s ideals through music and poetry. In his capacity of UNESCO Artist for Peace, he participated in the opening ceremony of the International Year for the Culture of Peace.
Georges Moustaki passed away on 23 May 2013.
Mariana Nicolesco captivates audiences with her soprano drammatico di agilità voice, with her stage personality and her huge repertory that ranges from the baroc to contemporary music: Haendel, Mozart, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini. She has been acclaimed as Queen of Belcanto, Primadonna Assoluta, and Diva Divine at various prestigious establishments around the world: from Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, to the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall in New York as well as the Salzburg Festival and the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Mariana Nicolesco sang in the world première of Penderecki’s Seven Gates of Jerusalem in the Holy City for the celebrations of its 3000 year anniversary. Invited by Pope John Paul II, she sang also in the First Christmas Concert televised from the Vatican through Mondovisione world wide and watched by one billion people. She has received numerous distinctions over the years, such as Honorary Member of the Romanian Academy, Commander of the Italian Republic, Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters in France and the National Order of the Star of Romania in the Rank of High Cross. Mariana Nicolesco was designated as The Most Successful Woman of her native country and received in Germany the special Prize Kulturpreis Europa “for her artistic achievements, for her role as a mentor of the new generation and for her successful efforts bringing Romania to Europe and Europe to Romania”.
Mariana Nicolesco is a laureate of the UNESCO Medal for Artistic Accomplishments and was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace “in recognition of her commitment to musical heritage, artistic creation, dialogue between cultures, and of her contribution to promoting the ideals of the Organization”.
In her capacity as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, Mariana Nicolesco dedicates herself to the great Hariclea Darclée Festival and International Voice Competition that she founded in 1995 in Romania and coordinates ever since, with the participation of over 2000 competitors from 47 countries and 5 continents. In the periods between events, she offers Master Classes attended by a great number of young artists from Romania and many other countries.
Cristina Owen-Jones was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in March 2004, in recognition of her personal commitment to promoting UNESCO's programmes for HIV/AIDS preventive education.
In her capacity as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Cristina Owen-Jones conducted several field missions in Africa, Lithuania and China, where she has met senior staff and activists in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention.
In December 2005, Ms Owen-Jones organized a roundtable on HIV/AIDS prevention programs in the private sector as part of World AIDS Day. Following this initiative, an agreement was signed between UNESCO and the Global Business Coalition on AIDS (GCE) to strengthen the mobilization against the disease.
In November 2010, she contributed to the success of the inauguration of an exhibition entitled "Photos-Voices: HIV and AIDS Education in Africa", which was held at UNESCO Headquarters. This exhibition aimed to provide visibility on various educational projects supported by the Virginio Bruni Tedeschi Foundation in Angola, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.
Edson Arantes Do Nascimento PELE
Edson Arantes Do Nascimento, known as Pelé, was appointed UNESCO Champion for Sport in April 1994, in light of his outstanding commitment to promote sport and help disadvantaged children. Pelé is regarded as the greatest football player of all time. In 1999, he was elected “Athlete of the Century” by the International Olympic Committee and “World Player of the Century” by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS).
In his capacity as UNESCO Champion for Sport, Pelé visited numerous countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Brazil. Through the common language of football, he participated in the promotion of sport as a tool for peace and integration.
Marko Pogačnik was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in February 2016. This title was bestowed upon him in light of his commitment to improving relationships between people and their environments. In his capacity as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, Mr Marko Pogačnik contributes to UNESCO’s activities with the Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) as well as UNESCO Global Geoparks Networks.
Mr Pogačnik also initiated the implementation of a project entitled “Burren” in close cooperation with UNESCO. This project aims to develop ways on how to complement scientific approach with the intuitive, holistic and pluridimensional approach he developed. In this framework, Mr Pogačnik intends to determine how art and science can co-exist to deepen the human knowledge about the nature of life and the nature of earth.
Renzo Piano was born in Genoa on September 14, 1937.
Renzo Piano graduated from the school of Architecture, Milan Polytechnic in 1964. While studying, he worked under the design guidance of Franco Albini.
Between 1965 and 1970 he worked with Louis I. Kahn, in Philadelphia, and Z.S. Makowsky in London. During this period he became friend with Jean Prouvé, who had a profound influence on his work.
Renzo Piano collaborated with Richard Rogers and Peter Rice. He currently has offices in Genoa and in Paris under the name Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
In December 2014, his mandate as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador was terminated.
The Philippine Madrigal Singers
The Philippine Madrigal Singers were appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in July 2009, in recognition of their efforts to promote dialogue and understanding among peoples in South East Asia.
The choir performs a variety of styles but specializes in the madrigal, a popular musical style during the Renaissance when singers and guests would gather around the table during a banquet and make music together. This served as the inspiration for their unique style of singing – singing seated in a semi-circle without a conductor.
In 2009, they performed at UNESCO Headquarters in favor of the rapprochement of cultures.
Samuel Pisar (1929-2015)
Samuel Pisar was granted American citizenship by a special Act of Congress in 1961. Apart from his professional activities at the American, French and British bars, Samuel Pisar was a board member of various public interest organizations, a trustee of Washington’s Brookings Institution, and a member of the board of directors of the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah and of Israel’s Institute of Technology.
Samuel Pisar reflected on his commitment to the idea that “the Holocaust, attacked by incendiary demagogues as a ‘myth’, is an all too real warning for mankind of possible horrors yet to come. For it has revealed, as have more recent genocides and ethnic cleansings, that humans are still capable of the worst as well as of the best, of hatred as well as of love, of madness as well as of genius, and that the unthinkable remains possible. Unless we espouse, through remembrance and education, the core universal values embedded in all great creeds – spiritual and secular – the forces of darkness may return with a vengeance to haunt us again”.
Samuel Pisar passed away on July 27, 2015 in New York. He was a UNESCO Honorary Ambassador and Special Envoy for Holocaust Education.
Cuban musician and founder of the musical movement Nueva Trova Cubana (also known as Nueva Canción), Silvio Rodriguez was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in December 1997. Many of his songs have become classics in Latin American music, such as Ojalá, Unicornio or La Maza: he has become an icon of Cuban culture.
Mr Rodriguez has long been an active protector of the humanistic values of UNESCO, such as accessibility to culture. His final concert of 2017 gathered hundreds of people in the neighborhood of Cayo Hueso, in Havana City, under the idea of celebrating life.
In December 2017, his photo exhibition Canción de Barrio at UNESCO Headquarters revealed the diversity of his artistic creativity. His photos, taken in neighborhoods where he gives free concerts for the people of Havana, highlighted the solidarity of the Cuban people. This exhibition also celebrated the 70th anniversary of the relations between Cuba and UNESCO.
Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007)
The most celebrated cellist of our times, Mstislav Rostropovitch played with and conducted the most prestigious international orchestras. A life-long defender of democratic principles, human rights and tolerance, he enjoyed worldwide respect and admiration for his personal convictions and artistic work.
Mstislav Rostropovitch was a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Grand Officier de la Légion d’Honneur and holder of the most prestigious international awards, he worked alongside UNESCO to promote freedom of expression in the arts and in politics.
Committed to the causes of UNESCO, Mstislav Rostropovitch gave his support to education and cultural projects, using his international standing to promote UNESCO’s appeal for art education in schools. Together with his wife, the celebrated opera soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, he set up a charitable foundation to manage their social projects and activities.
Mstislav Rostropovitch passed away on 27 April 2007.
Yazid Sabeg, former Commissioner for Diversity and Equal Opportunities of France, was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in February 2010, in recognition of his commitment to support youth, his work in favor of cultural diversity and its support for knowledge digitization projects.
In his capacity as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Mr Sabeg helped launch the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures by providing guidance on how to strengthen tolerance, reconciliation and balance within of our societies and around the world.
In addition, he participated in a conference entitled "Diversity, a formidable force for human formation and equal opportunities", held in January 2011 at UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal.
Mr Serik Sapiyev, a renowned boxer from Kazakhstan, was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Sport in August 2013, in recognition of his commitment to promoting education and sport programmes in favour of young people in Kazakhstan. Mr Sapiyev is a two-time world champion and a winner of the London Olympic Games 2012.
As Sport Director of the Kazakh Boxing Federation, he encourages the development of sports in Kazakhstan.
In addition, he is an active supporter of the Astana Alumni Association, a non-governmental organization that promotes education and sports initiatives, as well as youth leadership and charity events.
The Catalan viola da gamba master Jordi Savall was designated a UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2008, in recognition for his commitment as a musician for intercultural dialogue. He became well known for writing movie scores and especially his work for director Alain Corneau’s film Tous les matins du monde, for which he won a César.
In his mission to safeguard and promote western and eastern ancient music to a universal audience, he founded and conducted musical ensembles such as Hespèrion XXI (1974), La Capella Reial de Catalunya (1987) and Le Concert des Nations (1989). With his late wife, Montserrat Figueras, he also founded the label Alia Vox.
Jordi Savall is also recognised for his humanitarian involvement and his projects in favor of intercultural sharing. As a UNESCO Artist for Peace, he developed, in association with UNESCO, his 2015 project “The Roads of Slavery 1500-1588”, which aims to highlight the cultural interactions that emerged from this tragedy and contributes to the reflection on intercultural dialogue by reuniting artists from all over the world for a series of concerts.
In 2016, he visited the Calais “jungle” where he played the viola de gamba with refugees. In November of this year, he launched the project Orpheus XXI to support musician refugees. A year later and with the eight selected artists, he gave a series of highly acclaimed concerts.
Jordi Savall was the patron of the 16th edition of The Week of Sound, which took place between 21 and 27 January 2019. With the Concert of Nations that he founded, he gave a special concert on 23 January at UNESCO Headquarters, “Tribute to the Earth. Storms, Thunderstorms and Marines Parties. 1674 – 1764”.
Ms Márta Sebestyén, one of the leading voices of folk music in Hungary, was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in October 2010, in recognition of her efforts to strengthen, through music, the dialogue among cultures, as well as mutual knowledge and understanding between peoples.
She is best known for adapting folk songs from all horizons to traditional Hungarian style. Through her music, she maintains the traditional musical heritage and the dialogue between cultures.
In her capacity as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, she contributed to the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, notably by highlighting culture linkages between countries, particularly in South and Central Europe.
Madanjeet Singh (1924-2013)
Madanjeet Singh was born on 16 April 1924 in Lahore, present-day Pakistan. He is an internationally known author of several books on art and other subjects, closely interwoven with UNESCO’s programmes, principles and ideals. He served as Ambassador of India in Asia, South America, Africa and Europe.
In 1995, in recognition of his lifelong devotion to the cause of communal harmony and peace, the UNESCO Executive Board unanimously created the biennial “UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence”. The decision was adopted at meetings in Paris and Fez (May 16 to June 4), to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
In the year 2000, Madanjeet Singh created the South Asia Foundation (SAF) to promote sustainable cultural, educational and economic development throughout the region.
Koïchira Matsuura,former UNESCO Director General stated: “Mr. Singh’s personal commitment to fostering culture, dialogue mutual understanding and peace has served as a great source of inspiration to people of many different nations, cultures and religions”.
In recognition of his generosity and untiring efforts to promote these noble objectives, which are also those of UNESCO, Madanieet Singh was designated as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador on November 16, 2000.
The great diplomat, artist, writer and public figure Madanjeet Singh passed away on January 6, 2013. UNESCO and its Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors are committed to continue the pursuit of the noble causes Madanjeet Singh defended over his life.
H.H. Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser
Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, First Lady of Qatar from 1995 to 2013, was UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education from 2003 to 2023.
As Chairperson and President of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser spearheaded activities and projects in basic and higher education, establishing non-profit private schools and learning institutions for children and young people in Qatar.
In 2003, her Highness Sheikha Moza launched the International Fund for Higher Education in Iraq, in cooperation with UNESCO. The aim of this Fund was to provide immediate and long-term assistance for the reconstruction of higher education in Iraq. In her capacity as UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, she also announced in October 2008 the launch of the Fund for Asia (Reach Out to Asia Foundation), in order to promote education in Asia and the Middle East.
As President of the Education Above All Foundation, she champions the Educate A Child (EAC) programme, which aims to reduce the numbers of children worldwide who are out of school. UNESCO works jointly with EAC in over ten countries to enrol out of school children, with a particular focus on the Arab and Asia Pacific regions.
Since January 2016, she is a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocate.
The Peruvian actress and singer Magaly Solier, was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in June 2017, in recognition of her commitment to protecting and promoting the indigenous languages and indigenous music. During her designation ceremony, she performed in Quechua at UNESCO Headquarters.
The actress of Quichuan origins is well known for her movies such as Madeinusa and Blackthorn. In 2009, she starred in the film entitled “La teta Asustada”, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale 2009 and was nominated for an Oscar Award in January 2010.
Through her artistic career, Ms Solier committed to the protection and safeguard of the Andean culture. Her albums, “Warmi” and “Coca Quintucha”, gather traditional songs performed in Quechua, one of the native languages of Peru. Through her musical performances and concerts in Peru, she promotes the indigenous languages and music.
On 21 February 2018, she sent through the Peruvian UNESCO a message in Quechua defending the preservation and use of this indigenous language on UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day.
Wole Soyinka is an academic, playwright, poet and the first African to be awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. He was designated as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1994 in recognition of his dedication to the ideals and aims of the Organization.
Wole Soyinka is one of the Africans most imaginative advocates of native culture and of the humane social order it embodies. His support to UNESCO’s work in these domains was crucial and he attended numerous UNESCO’s high-level conferences and forums aiming to address the issues of African social development.
His mandate as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador ended in March 2009.
Wole Soyinka continues to support UNESCO’s work notably the programmes addressing the issues of African development.
Born in 1961 in the Bulgarian town of Isperih, Theodosii Spassov is an internationally renowned composer and virtuoso player of the kaval, a traditional wooden flute. He broke new ground by composing music for the kaval that brings together jazz, folk and classical music. His compositions include symphonic works as well as film music and pieces for the kaval.
Theodosii Spassov has performed with symphony orchestras and other musical ensembles in Bulgaria and around the world. He has released over 30 recordings, some of them solo performances. Theodosii Spassov has won numerous distinctions at home and abroad, including Bulgaria’s highest prize for the arts, the Golden Age Award. In 1994, Theodosii Spassov performed with Sofia Women's Radio Choir, which won a Grammy award for The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices.
He was designated as a UNESCO Artist for Peace on 16 September 2016 in recognition of his talent, his innovation in creating a unique music style and his virtuoso performance, his commitment to raise public awareness about music as a force to enhance dialogue among people, cultures and communities, as well as his profound commitment to the ideals and aims of the Organization.
Bulgarian football legend Hristo Stoichkov was designated as UNESCO Champion for Sport in May 2016 in recognition of his efforts to promote sport as a tool to advance social inclusion and tolerance, his support to physical education among people with disabilities, his commitment to fight racism and violence in sport.
The former Captain of the Bulgarian football team, Mr Stoichkov, has won numerous prestigious titles such as the European Golden Shoe in 1990, the European Golden Ball in 1994 and the World Cup Golden Boot in 1994. He is also a three time Champion of Bulgaria with his club CSKA Sofia, five time Champion of Spain with FC Barcelona, and winner of the Champions League in 1992.
In Bulgaria, he supports numerous projects and activities promoting sport as a vehicule of social inclusion and tolerance. Such activities raise public awareness on sport as a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote ideals of fraternity, tolerance and non-violence.
Oscar Washington Tabarez
The retired football player Óscar Washington Tabárez was designated UNESCO Champion for Sport in January 2012, in recognition of his commitment to promoting education and sport programmes in favor of vulnerable children in Uruguay through the “Tabárez Project”.
Mr Tabárez was a manager of the Uruguay national football team from 1988-1990, returning to this post for a second time in 2006. He led the team to fourth place in the 2010 World Cup, and to victory in the 2011 Copa América. According to many football experts, Tabarez is considered as one of the best tacticians in modern days.
In his capacity as a UNESCO Champion for Sport, Mr Tabárez aims to strengthen the social and ethic value of sports in Uruguay.
Mr Boris Trajanov, a renowned opera singer, was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in February 2005, in recognition of his commitment to the defense of humanistic values and the promotion of dialogue between cultures and civilizations.
He is widely regarded as one of the best interpreters of the role of Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca. His wide repertoire contains the most important roles from Verdi's operas, such as Nabucco and Conte di Luna.
In his capacity as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, he contributed to the creation of Tree Day in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to help reforest the country and raise ecological awareness. Over 2 million saplings were planted during the first edition of this day through the participation of 200,000 people.
Prince Twins Seven-Seven (1944-2011)
Born in Nigeria in 1944, Prince Twins Seven-Seven was one of the most famous representatives of the renowned Oshogbo school of painting, which is at the heart of Yoruba civilization.
His work reflected the cosmology and mythology of Yoruba culture, depicting a fantastic universe of human figures, animals, divinities and plants. His varied style, using different techniques and astonishing materials, was the most copied in contemporary Nigerian art. A multidimensional artist, Prince Twins Seven-Seven was also recognized as a singer, musician, actor, writer and poet. His work was exposed in numerous exhibitions throughout the world, notably at France’s National Museum of Modern Art – Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Houston Contemporary Arts Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. and the National Modern Art Gallery in Lagos.
Prince Twins Seven-Seven was designated as UNESCO Artist for Peace “in recognition of his contribution to the promotion of dialogue and understanding among peoples, particularly in Africa and the African Diaspora” on May 25, 2005.
Prince Twins Seven-Seven passed away on 16 June 2011.
Violeta Urmana, une célèbre chanteuse d'opéra lituanienne, a été nommée Artiste de l'UNESCO pour la paix en mars 2016, en reconnaissance de ses efforts inlassables pour promouvoir la culture en tant que vecteur de dialogue et de compréhension mutuelle; et son dévouement aux questions qui correspondent à la priorité globale pour l'UNESCO, l’Afrique.
Violeta Urmana est considérée comme l'une des meilleures interprètes des rôles féminins du répertoire d'opéra allemand et italien. Elle a joué dans certains des plus prestigieux opéras en Europe, au Japon et aux États-Unis.
En sa qualité d'Artiste de l'UNESCO pour la paix, elle a participé au 25e anniversaire de l'adhésion de la Lituanie à l'UNESCO, qui s'est tenu en octobre 2016 à Vilnius, en Lituanie.
Giancarlo Elia Valori
The eminent Italian economist Giancarlo Elia Valori was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in May 2001, in light of his commitment to promoting the world's intangible heritage.
In May 2001, Giancarlo Elia Valori founded the Emilia Valori Fund, with the aim of supporting UNESCO in the protection of poetry and traditional and popular songs.
In recognition of his important contribution to the promotion of cultural values, Mr. Valori received the UNESCO Picasso Medal in 1998
Marianna Vardinoyannis (1999-2023)
Ms Marianna V. Vardinoyannis was a world advocate and campaigner for human rights and the protection of children’s health and welfare. She was Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO from 1999 to 2023 and she dedicated her life to save young lives from cancer and protect their innocence from various threats. She was founder and president of the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation”, of the “ELPIDA Friends’ Association of Children with cancer” and of the “Orama Elpidas Association”.
She served as member of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Advisory Board, as Trustee of the MENTOR Foundation against drugs, as member of the Leadership Council of the “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights” center, as Board Member of "The Hellenic Initiative", as Board Member of Concordia, as Trustee of the “Nizami Ganjavi International Center”, as founding member of the “Light of Africa Foundation”, as President of the Honorary Committee of the Special Olympics Hellas, and many other organizations.
She created the first Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Greece (in 1993) and the first Pediatric Oncology Hospital in Greece (in 2010) which receives the 80% of childhood cancer cases of the country. For more than 30 years, she fought against childhood cancer through “ELPIDA Association of Friends of Children with cancer” and helped thousands of children to be cured from cancer, including more than 1200 children who got the possibility to receive bone marrow transplants.
Through the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation” she supported children and families, schools, people in need and refugees in Greece as well as UNESCO programs for education and culture, peace, climate change, protection of monuments and cultural heritage, promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Her efforts were deservedly recognized by the United Nations who awarded Ms Vardinoyannis their highest distinction for humanitarian contribution, the ‘Nelson Mandela Prize’ in 2020.
Venezuela Children Symphonic Orchestra
Founded by the famous Venezuelan musician José Antonio Abreu, the National Children's Orchestra of Venezuela (NCOV) was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in October 1998.
Convinced that "music is an irreplaceable instrument for the rapprochement between peoples", José Antonio Abreu is at the origin of a vast network of orchestras of children and young Venezuelan, gathering more than 150 orchestras representing more than 100,000 young musicians. These orchestras are dedicated to promote music in all strata of Venezuelan society.
The National Children’s Orchestra of Venezuela is one of these orchestras and appeared in numerous prestigious events worldwide. In 1998, they played at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
This action is part of the project "Music at the service of Public Action", which advocates music education as a way to help young people.
Julio Werthein (1918-2013)
Argentinian banker and industrialist Julio Werthein was the visionary and instrumental driving force behind the creation of MERCOSUR. As a successful publisher, he had been a leading advocate of Latin American cultural and educational cooperation. As a leading patron of the arts, Julio Werthein had established a foundation for his activities in this field.
Designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1995, Julio Werthein had worked alongside UNESCO to raise awareness of cultural and artistic values and the necessity for their preservation.
As a highly active advocate for environmental protection, he launched an educational campaign for the conservation of water resources, using his public status to enhance the campaign’s impact.
Through his prominent position in economic and political life, he had spread UNESCO’s message of peace, intercultural dialogue and environmental protection.
Julio Werthein passed away on September 22, 2013, at the age of 95.
Ms Miyako Yoshida, a Japanese ballet dancer, was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in July 2004, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to classical dance.
Ms Yoshida has performed leading roles in prestigious ballets such as Swan Lake, the Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and The Sleeping Beauty. In the course of her outstanding career, she has received many awards and prizes in Japan and in the rest of the world. In 2007, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her services to dance.
During her nomination ceremony held at UNESCO Headquarters, she raised awareness of dance and the arts as a vehicle of aspirations and dreams.
Zhang Jun was appointed UNESCO Artist for Peace in May 2011, in recognition of his long-term commitment to promoting intangible cultural heritage, especially the Kun Qu Opera inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2001).
Zhang has devoted himself to introducing the Kun Qu operatic tradition to audiences, in particular to young people, throughout China and abroad. Since 1998, he has organized over 300 interactive performances that focus on young audiences and has lectured in high schools and universities in both China and the West.
While pursuing his stage career, Zhang Jun, has promoted programmes such as the Hope Project to build schools and improve education in China’s poorest areas. He has also supported numerous cultural initiatives in Shanghai as one of the Ambassador of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.