Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda), 5 June 2010 – He has portrayed Iron Men, mobsters and a hotel manager who saved hundreds of lives during the Rwanda genocide. But in his latest role, Hollywood star Don Cheadle will take on a new kind of challenge – the environment.
Don Cheadle, an internationally respected actor, humanitarian and environmentalist, was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on 5 June 2010, World Environment Day (WED).
The designation was announced in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda during the global WED 2010 celebrations, where Mr. Cheadle took part in the traditional Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony. The renowned actor's trip to Rwanda was especially meaningful given his ties to the country through his Academy Award-nominated role in the 2004 film 'Hotel Rwanda'.
Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director and United Nations Under-Secretary-General, who joined Mr Cheadle for WED, said: "It is an honour to welcome such an icon as Don Cheadle to this important role. UNEP does not appoint Goodwill Ambassadors lightly. Through his humanitarian work and his passion for the environment, Mr. Cheadle will raise green awareness among millions of people around the planet and draw attention to ways we can deal with issues like pollution and environmental-based conflict."
Don Cheadle said: "I would love it if we were able to live in a world which is in harmony with its environment. But it is money over people, money over environment, money over everything. We need to educate people on the environment and draw clear connections now – it is not disparate pieces, it really is a chain of life. We have to connect the dots. I am surprised the environment is not at the top of the agenda. What is more important than clean air and a healthy planet? I hope this designation as UNEP Goodwill Ambassador will give me the opportunity to motivate the public to take action and bring people together to tackle environmental challenges."
Mr. Cheadle has a strong record of humanitarian and environmental advocacy, including work on clean energy and active campaigning for genocide victims. In 2009, he appeared in the UN Seal the Deal! campaign's public service announcement on climate change.
In his capacity as UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, Don Cheadle will use the influential voice of the entertainment industry to mobilize the public to embrace more sustainable lifestyles, promote the greening of the entertainment industry and other sectors, and take part in UNEP public outreach initiatives.
Mr. Cheadle joins the ranks of the other distinguished UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors, Brazilian super model Gisele Bündchen, French photographer and environmentalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Indian cricket star Sachin Tendulkar.
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