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Messi is UNICEF's Global Goodwill Ambassador


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UNICEF has appointed Lionel (Leo) Messi, FC Barcelona and Argentina national team soccer star as a global Goodwill Ambassador.

Messi’s relatively short career has taken him to the summit of world football. He was named the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009, a year in which he also won the Golden Ball award for the best European footballer of the year. While Messi’s accomplishments as a player are well known, it is his determination to use his fame to help the world´s most vulnerable children that has led to his appointment as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

His team, FC Barcelona, last year achieved a historic sweep of the football championships in 2009, winning the UEFA Champion´s League, the FIFA Club World Cup, La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the European Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup.

In 2006, FC Barcelona and the FC Barcelona Foundation signed a global agreement with UNICEF. Since then, the club has worn the UNICEF logo on its shirt, broadcasting a message about the rights and needs of children as a symbol of the club’s values and its solidarity with children.

Messi joins a list of extraordinary UNICEF spokespersons, including Eminent Advocate HRH Queen Rania of Jordan and Goodwill Ambassadors Mia Farrow, Shakira, Sir Roger Moore, Orlando Bloom and Danny Glover, among many others.

Messi will commence his activities as a Goodwill Ambassador with a planned trip to his native Argentina, the home of the Leo Messi Foundation, which supports access for vulnerable children to education and health care.

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The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

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An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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