WHO appoints Jet Li as Goodwill Ambassador
3 APRIL 2009 | GENEVA - WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan has appointed international film star Jet Li as WHO Goodwill Ambassador.
In his first official function as Goodwill Ambassador, Mr Li will attend the launch of World Health Day in Beijing on 7 April. He will help spread the World Health Day message of making hospitals safe during emergencies.
Jet Li is expected to use his worldwide celebrity to raise attention on key health issues, including public health responses to emergencies and mental health.
"I am very pleased to appoint Jet Li as a Goodwill Ambassador for WHO," said Dr Chan speaking from Sichuan, China where she is attending an international conference on health response to natural disasters.
"Jet Li's commitment to promoting community involvement and young people's participation in social and health issues will be a great asset to WHO's work. He has been personally involved in providing emergency response following natural disasters and has promoted mental health amongst youth. We are grateful that he is willing to use his energy and fame to promote health and well-being," Dr Chan said.
Before launching his film career Beijing-born Jet Li began studying Wushu (Chinese martial arts) at the age of eight and won his first Chinese national championship for the Beijing Wushu Team three years later. Jet Li has represented China in over 45 countries performing martial arts at various state functions. Shortly after retiring from the sport at the age of 17, his film career started with a number of successful martial arts films. Today, his film credits include a string of successful Hollywood movies.
After experiencing the 2004 South Asian tsunami, Jet Li took a break from acting and turned his attention to philanthropy and set up a charitable foundation. He has been involved in the emergency response to earthquakes in China and has also set up programmes to help young people to cope with psychosocial challenges and find a balance in life.
On his appointment as WHO Goodwill Ambassador, Jet Li said: "I would like to thank WHO for this great honor and opportunity. Health is essential to the well-being of humanity, and I am very happy that WHO trusts me to take on this important responsibility. If we do not take care of our bodies, we will not be able to do many things. This is our common belief, and I will do my very best to spread this shared belief to the world."
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