The honor will be presented as the top prize at the 25th annual UNCA Awards gala in New York City on December 8
UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Padma Lakshmi Wins 2021 Advocate of the Year Award by the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA)
December 8, 2021
New York – Emmy-nominated television producer, host, best-selling author and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Padma Lakshmi will be honored by the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) as the 2021 Advocate of the Year. Lakshmi will accept the top-prize award at the 25th annual UNCA Awards gala held in New York City on December 8.
“My mother and I came to the US as immigrants with almost nothing. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I’d be involved in something so-much-bigger than I am. The mere fact that I’m here today, accepting this award, shows that anything is possible,” said Lakshmi, accompanied to the awards ceremony by her 11-year-old daughter, Krishna.
“Fighting inequality is one of the main reasons why I joined forces with UNDP to fight for a future, where everyone—regardless of their income, gender or place of birth—is empowered to live the life they want,” said Lakshmi, who was appointed United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador in March 2019 to focus on fighting inequality, discrimination, and empowering the disenfranchised.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities and deepened the divide between rich and poor,” said Lakshmi. “We have to address this problem of inequality—in all its forms—head-on.”
As the pandemic continues to devastate the world, Lakshmi spearheaded UNDP’s #HalfTheWorld campaign to raise awareness of the alarming rate at which COVID-19 has increased inequalities around the world. Among those hit hardest by the crisis are the four billion people—half of the world’s population—who struggle to make ends meet and lack any social protection such as unemployment benefits or healthcare.
In September 2021, coinciding with the UN General Assembly and the Global COVID-19 Summit, Lakshmi lent her voice and platform to UNDP’s awareness-raising initiative called A Shot for All, to shine a spotlight on vaccine inequity between rich and poor countries and to raise awareness of the importance of making COVID-19 vaccines available and accessible to everyone, everywhere.
“UNDP is grateful to the UN Correspondents Association for recognizing Padma for her powerful, compassionate and effective advocacy work in fighting inequality, especially now, as we battle two of the biggest crises the world has ever faced: climate change and COVID-19,” said Usha Rao Monari, UNDP Associate Administrator. “We must work together with changemakers like Padma and unite forces across all sectors to ensure a green and equitable future that leaves no one behind.”
The 25th annual UNCA Awards will honor journalists from around the world who have provided the best coverage of UN activities worldwide in print, online and broadcasting media in three categories: the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and coverage of the United Nations and its agencies
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will be the guest of honor of the evening. The black-tie event is attended by UN ambassadors, high-level UN officials, Hollywood celebrities, humanitarians, corporate and cultural organizations, and international media.
The top prize of Global Advocate of the Year is given to high-profile individuals who are working out solutions to various global issues, from conflict resolution and humanitarian relief to disease control and climate change. Previous honorees include President Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Nicholas Cage, Stevie Wonder, Michael Douglas, Sting & Trudie Styler, Andrea Bocelli & Veronica Berti, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Leonardo DiCaprio, Angelina Jolie, Adrian Grenier, Amal Clooney and Ashley Judd.
The UNCA Awards is a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging and rewarding excellence in journalism, founded in 1948.
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