Press Releases, 28 May 2002
28 May 2002
MODENA – The UN refugee agency announced Tuesday that Italian fashion designer, Giorgio Armani, is to be appointed a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers will make the appointment Tuesday evening in Modena, Italy, during the annual "Pavarotti and Friends" concert. The celebrated Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti has dedicated this year's concert, which is also starring Sting, Lou Reed, Andrea Bocelli, James Brown and other major musical celebrities, for the benefit of Angolan refugees in Zambia.
Giorgio Armani has been working with UNHCR over the past year – in a personal capacity as well as through his company – by lending support to the agency's public awareness and fund raising efforts for refugees, especially during emergencies. The Giorgio Armani Christmas campaign for Afghan refugees included a substantial donation; the placement of public awareness and fund-raising advertisements in international and Italian media; and direct support by the Armani Group, through the sale of specially designed sweatshirts and promotion of donations by Giorgio Armani customers.
The High Commissioner said that the Goodwill Ambassadorship is being given to Giorgio Armani in recognition of his significant contribution during the Afghan refugee emergency, as well as to mark the beginning of an ongoing partnership in the agency's efforts to protect and assist the world's 20 million refugees and others in a similar predicament.
Lubbers said: "I am proud to welcome Giorgio Armani as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, and grateful to him for accepting the role. I was impressed by Giorgio Armani's rapid and effective mobilization of his company's resources in response to my emergency appeal for Afghan refugees last year. He was active on several fronts – including fundraising and drawing public attention to the crisis. He will be a great partner to UNHCR in mobilizing support for some of the world's most unfortunate and needy people."
Giorgio Armani, a self-made designer and businessman, has maintained a tradition of "giving something back."
"I have always admired the tireless work of UNHCR,' he said Tuesday." I am accepting this role with humility, recognizing that the challenges for the world's refugees are significant. But I have always believed that each individual has an opportunity to make a difference, and I hope that I may have a chance to do just that. Ultimately we all have to assume responsibility for making the world a better place. I am particularly committed to assisting young refugees gain the means to rebuild their lives. After all, children are our future."
Giorgio Armani will visit refugee camps later this year to learn more about UNHCR's education and vocational training projects. Among his other activities, the new Goodwill Ambassador plans to provide support for UNHCR income-generating projects for refugees.
Other UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors include the American actress, Angelina Jolie; the Swedish-American classical singer, Barbara Hendricks; and the Egyptian actor Adel Imam. Giorgio Armani will be the only current Goodwill Ambassador from Italy, although compatriots Riccardo Muti and Sophia Loren are former holders of the title.