Inspiration & Action [co-winner]Angélique Kidjo
A voice loved by thousands of fans around the world, singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo is also a powerful voice for humanitarian and environmental change. Described by Time Magazine as "Africa's premier diva", Benin-born Kidjo uses her celebrity status to speak out in support of a number of important causes, particularly girls’ education and sustainable development.
Kidjo established The Batonga Foundation in 2009, which provides scholarships, school supplies and mentoring programmes and raises community awareness of the value of education for girls in Africa.
Kidjo was raised in both the voodoo tradition and Catholic faith, and speaks of how her childhood taught her respect for nature. As part of her advocacy work on the environment and sustainable development, Kidjo recorded a video for UNEP’s ‘Seal the Deal’ campaign, encouraging world leaders to produce a binding agreement on cutting carbon emissions and tackling climate change.
In 2010, Kidjo was appointed as a Patron for the UN Music & Environment Initiative. Led by the UNEP in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other partners, the initiative aims to leverage the power of music to address some of the most pressing environmental problems facing the planet.
“Any time I can spare from my family, my music, to go around the world and work with different kinds of people, that are struggling everyday to make their lives better and other peoples better, I will do so, because otherwise why am I here?” says Kidjo.
“My life will be useless, if I do not share my talent, my skill and my spirit. I’m not made to live alone, I’m made to live with other people on this planet.”