UNDP Ambassador Named One of World’s Most Influential People

May 5, 2010

Photo: Rankin

Geneva, 5 May 2010 - UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Didier Drogba has been named as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine. TIME announced its annual list of the world’s most influential people on 29 April: The Time 100.  Drogba is in good company, sharing the list with Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Sonia Sotomayor, Yukio Hatoyama, and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

As highlighted by Time Magazine, Drogba, 32, a striker for England’s Chelsea Football Club and the captain of the Côte d’Ivoire team, “has shown the world what’s possible when power and grace fuse on the soccer pitch.” An essay in the magazine points out that the same power and grace fuse in his efforts to promote a better life for the people of Africa.

Drogba works with UNDP to spur action at all levels of society in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, with a particular focus on Africa. He also supports UNDP’s work in conflict prevention and recovery. He is currently working with UNDP on a worldwide advocacy campaign to support free and fair elections, and to encourage citizens to vote.

“Drogba is committed on and off the field to promoting and contributing to important causes that reduce poverty and promote peace;” said UNDP Partnerships Manager Aziyadé Poltier-Mutal.  “Though he has an extremely busy schedule, he always finds the time to support important causes as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.”

As UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, Drogba has appeared in numerous public service announcements on television and in magazines such as Time, Newsweek and The Financial Times, raising awareness of Africa’s challenges and calling for support to achieve the Millennium Development Goals there.

Last year, Drogba participated in two TV spots on cluster munitions / armed violence addressed to governments and to the general public, which were launched at the opening sessions of Ministerial Summits on Armed Violence and regional Conference on Cluster Munitions.  In 2008 he was also member of the jury in UNDP Red Ribbon Awards, an initiative that awards NGO’s throughout the world on their work on HIV/AIDS issues.

Drogba is presently teaming up against poverty on a UNDP advertisement to garner support for achieving the eight MDGs in Africa. World-renowned photographer John Rankin Waddell photographed the football star for this series of UNDP pro bono advertisements. The advertisement is part of a campaign created by the advertising agency Leagas Delaney  that  revolves around the concept of "Teaming Up Against Poverty" to achieve the MDGs. It features celebrities from the worlds of sports, arts, fashion or business. The advertisement is linked to the celebration of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, in light of the fact that it is the first time that Africa is hosting one of the greatest international sporting events.

“Despite the progress made, we still have a long way to go,” declares Drogba from the page of one such advertisement. “Half the people in sub-Saharan Africa are still living in extreme poverty; an African woman dies in childbirth every two minutes and more than 15percent of African children will not reach their 5th birthday.”

Despite his worldwide success and global travel, Drogba says he will never forget his origins. “I have been given opportunities to succeed in life, but I constantly think about the ones who did not have this chance,” he said, adding that it is up to each of us, whatever our occupation, to try and make a difference.  “We all need to contribute to help defeat poverty.”

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