Ivonne A-Baki named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
Ivonne A-Baki, politician and artist from Ecuador, was designated as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, at a ceremony on 15 February at Organization Headquarters.
The designation recognizes Ms A-Baki’s commitment to projects aimed at strengthening dialogue between cultures. As Goodwill Ambassador, she is expected to contribute significantly to 2010 International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, notably through artistic activities. UNESCO is playing a leading role in the celebration of the Year, which Ms Bokova will launch officially on 18 February.
Ivonne A-Baki participated in the negotiations that led to a peace treaty between her country and Peru in 1998. Minister of Foreign Trade from 2003 to 2005, she was instrumental in advancing regional integration projects in Latin America. She also served as Ecuador’s ambassador to the United States and honorary consul general in Beirut, Lebanon.
Ms Baki, of Lebanese origin, speaks English, French and German in addition to her two mother languages, Spanish and Arabic. Holding a Masters degree in public administration from Harvard University, she is also a recognized painter who spent 1990 to 1998 as artist-in-residence at Harvard.
The UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors are celebrity advocates who use their talent and fame to spread the ideals of UNESCO by attracting the public’s attention to its activities. Ms A-Baki joins a roster that includes South African Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela, French philanthropist Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, Italian actress Claudia Cardinale, United Nations Peace Prize Laureate Esther Coopersmith (USA), Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco, and Guatemalan Nobel Peace Price Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum.
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