Posts Tagged ‘Charlize Theron’

Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project

Photo: CTAOP

Photo: CTAOP

Fame has some pretty amazing power tangled up with it…it can truly screw a person up who suddenly finds themselves in the spotlight with the world paying more attention than ever before…alternatively, that same attention paid by the world at large can help motivate others for the greater good. Sure, some folks get irate when celebrities use their platform to push their political agendas (usually only irate at the ones who have views differing from our own)…but I kind of feel it is lazy and bordering on irresponsible to not help advance the world, and if your job has given your voice amplification beyond what the rest of us can use…use it! Yes, I, too, get annoyed by celebs around election time, especially those who oppose what I work toward, but there isn’t really anybody on the opposing side of issues like poverty and access to safe drinking water and bed nets to avoid malaria and eradicating HIV/AIDS and so many other universal issues.

Charlize Theron walks the walk as well as she talks the talk, and her organization/foundation, the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Program works hard for a brighter future for Sub-Saharan Africa. Theron is South African and deeply ensconced in trying to prevent HIV infection among youth. Rather than insert the organization’s work in a top-down charity model (as we know, this kind of “help” never works the way it is intended), Theron’s organizations partners with community-based groups on the ground in small communities. These are the folks with expertise and ability to adroitly change tack as needs change, so they are supported through grants, networking, and drawing international attention to their work. CTAOP currently bolsters the work of five groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa. Go to this interactive map to learn more about the innovation happening in these regions, and consider supporting the  work to keep young people healthy and strong, marching into the future.

Stevie Wonder-Messenger of Peace

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has designated Grammy Award-winning songwriter and musician Stevie Wonder as a United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on people with disabilities.

A Messenger of Peace for the UN is a high-profile entertainer, sportsperson, leader of academia, or literature who is charged with making international public appearances to promote the public understanding of improving the quality of life on planet Earth. Big job, big responsibility, and hugely important.

Stevie’s no stranger to reaching out–he is a participant in so many campaigns and projects for others, from hit fund-raising songs “We Are the World” and “That’s What Friends Are For” to numerous campaigns for people with disabilities. In selecting Stevie Wonder for this designation, the Secretary-General said, “Our newest Messenger of Peace is someone who is admired by millions of people and has given back to millions of people. I recognize that he has consistently used his voice and special relationship with the public to create a better and more inclusive world, to defend civil and human rights and to improve the lives of those less fortunate. Stevie Wonder is a true inspiration to young people all over the world about what can be achieved despite any physical limitations.”

Of course, Stevie is in good company. Other Messengers of Peace include, among others,  George Clooney (for peacekeeping), Paulo Coelho (for poverty and intercultural dialogue), Michael Douglas (for disarmament), Jane Goodall (for conservation and environmental issues), Yo-Yo Ma (for youth), Charlize Theron (for ending violence against women), and Elie Wiesel (for human rights).