Helping Put a Smile on their Faces
UNHCR's Goodwill Ambassadors are, along with High Commissioner António Guterres, the most recognizable public faces of the UN refugee agency. They help bring UNHCR to every corner of the world through their celebrity, popularity, influence, dedication and hard work.
Acclaimed soprano Barbara Hendricks, UNHCR's only Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador, has an international reach. Others have a loyal and strong national and regional following, like French singer/ songwriter Julien Clerc or Spanish TV presenter Jesús Vázquez. Popular actress Yao Chen has a huge following among Chinese communities across the world.
Most UN humanitarian agencies have Goodwill Ambassadors and the basic requirement for the post is a real desire to help people in need. UNHCR's Goodwill Ambassadors have each demonstrated interest in refugee issues and have worked with the agency before formally taking up the appointment.
Angelina Jolie, with 10 years of experience as a Goodwill Ambassador, now serves as Special Envoy of High Commissioner Guterres.
Past UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors include actors Richard Burton and James Mason, Italian screen legend Sophia Loren, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and musician Riccardo Muti. The film star Yul Brynner was a special consultant to UNHCR.