News Stories, 28 May 2002
MODENA, Italy, May 28 (UNHCR) – In recognition of his work with refugees, Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani will be named as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador at the annual "Pavarotti and Friends" concert this evening.
"I am proud to welcome Giorgio Armani as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, and grateful to him for accepting the role," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers in a press release on Tuesday.
Armani has been working with UNHCR over the past year – in a personal capacity and through his company – by lending support to the agency's public awareness and fundraising efforts for refugees, especially during emergencies. He responded to the crisis in Afghanistan by starting the Giorgio Armani Christmas campaign for Afghan refugees. It included a substantial donation, the placement of public awareness and fundraising 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.
"I was impressed by Giorgio Armani's rapid and effective mobilisation of his company's resources in response to my emergency appeal for Afghan refugees last year," said Lubbers. "He was active on several fronts – including fundraising and drawing public attention to the crisis. He will be a great partner to UNHCR in mobilising support for some of the world's most unfortunate and needy people."
Armani replied, "I have always admired the tireless work of UNHCR. I am accepting this role with humility, recognising 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."
The new Goodwill Ambassador will visit refugee camps later this year to learn more about UNHCR's education and vocational training projects. Among his other activities, he plans to provide support for UNHCR income-generating projects for refugees.
Other UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors include American actress Angelina Jolie, Swedish-American classical singer Barbara Hendricks and Egyptian actor Adel Imam.
Armani's appointment will be made at the annual charity concert of another UNHCR benefactor, Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. This year's concert, which also stars Sting, Lou Reed, Andrea Bocelli, James Brown and other major musical celebrities, will benefit Angolan refugees in Zambia.