In a final wave of WED celebrations in Rwanda, Don Cheadle, who is an internationally respected humanitarian and environmentalist, was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme on 5 June. Mr. Cheadle, who starred in the acclaimed film Hotel Rwanda in 2004, is passionate about the link between natural resources and peace. He will advocate sustainable lifestyles, promote the greening of the entertainment industry and other sector, and take part in UNEP public outreach initiatives.
Notes to Editors:
About World Environment Day:
World Environment Day is the people's day for environmental action. Under the theme 'Many Species. One Planet. One Future', this year's event celebrated the incredible diversity of life on Earth as part of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.
This year's global host, Rwanda – a country of exceptional biodiversity that has made huge strides on environmental protection – led the celebrations with three days of keynote events. Thousands of activities were also organized worldwide from Hong Kong to Abidjan, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events and much more.
About the Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony:
Kwita Izina, the uniquely Rwandan event to name baby gorillas born in the Volcanoes National Park in the past year, was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness for the conservation of the endangered mountain Gorillas.
This year, the ceremony at the foot of the Virunga Mountains was timed to coincide with World Environment Day on 5 June. For the first time ever, the global community was involved in the event, with more than 800 people voting online for the 'People's Choice' gorilla name.
The winning name, Zoya, was chosen by 1,272 people out of 3,485 people voting online on the WED website from around the planet. Zoya, suggested by a UNEPandYou follower on Twitter, refers to 'life' and 'light' in several languages: it means 'shining' in India, 'alive' in Greek, and 'twilight' in Iranian. Zoya narrowly beat the runner-up, Yoda – after the beloved Star Wars character – as well as Ijabo and Hitamo.
The WED website also featured a Kids' Choice vote which was also announced at the Kwita Izina ceremony, with more than 424 children out of 1,146 voting for the winning name 'Waka Waka'.
About UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Don Cheadle:
Don Cheadle, an internationally respected actor, humanitarian and environmentalist, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2004 for his lead role as Rwandan hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in the widely-acclaimed film 'Hotel Rwanda'. He took part in the traditional Kwita Izina ceremonies for WED 2010, announcing the People's Choice name for one of the baby gorillas.
Mr Cheadle's strong record of humanitarian and environmental advocacy, including active campaigning for genocide victims, earned him the Summit Peace Award in 2007 given out by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates for his work to stop the genocide and relieve the suffering of the people of Darfur.
He is a strong proponent of clean energy, and he appeared in the UN-wide Seal the Deal campaign's public service announcement on climate change in 2009.
About UNEP Climate Hero Luo Hong:
Luo Hong, Businessman, Photographer, Environmentalist Luo Hong has long devoted himself to natural landscape and wild animal photography. He has been to Eastern and Southern Africa 21 times in the last ten years to photograph wild animals. He has held many exhibitions to raise money for environmental causes and he sponsors UNEP's Painting Competition by Children in China, a hugely successful event with about 1.5 million participants.
He established the Luo Hong Environment Foundation in 2006, setting out to train and reward young talent worldwide for environment protection. He continues to find ways to raise awareness on the environment and share his love for the planet.
About Philips and solar energy:
Philips's support to the Legacy Initiative through solar home systems is part of the company's efforts to offer off-grid lighting solutions in developing economies in this region. Philips, alongside energy company Osram, is also involved in a US$20 million initiative by UNEP and the Global Environment Facility to accelerate the uptake of low-energy light bulbs and efficient lighting systems around the world.
For more information please contact:
Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson/ Head of Media, on Tel: +254 7623084 /Mobile +254 (0)733632755, E-mail: email@example.com
Bryan Coll, Associate Public Information Officer, +254 (0)20 762 3088, or firstname.lastname@example.org