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In Photos: Who are the UN's Goodwill Ambassadors - and how were they picked?

Could you name Ireland’s three International Goodwill Ambassadors for UN organisations?

Liam Neeson, one of Ireland's three UN International Goodwill Ambassadors.
Liam Neeson, one of Ireland's three UN International Goodwill Ambassadors.
Image: (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)

UNHCR GOODWILL Ambassador Angelina Jolie yesterday visited some of the 10,000 Syrian refugees who fled the violence in their home country and are staying in makeshift camps in Turkey.

But how do you become a UN Goodwill Ambassador?

Ambassadors are chosen for a range of UN offices, from its Food and Agriculture Organisation (which has an Irish ambassador – check out the slideshow below), to its refugee agency.  According to the UN, fame plays a major part in the selection process.

UNICEF says its ambassadors are chosen on the basis that they have already demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of children worldwide, but it adds that celebrity status helps attract attention to the issues the organisation wants to highlight. UNICEF’s past ambassadors include Hollywood stars Danny Kaye and Audrey Hepburn.

The UNHCR says that its ambassadors are the public face of the organisation and they “help bring UNHCR to every corner of the world through their celebrity, popularity, influence and hard work”.

Ambassadors are chosen on national, regional and international levels. Ireland has three International Goodwill Ambassadors, as shown in the photos below.

Gallery: Check out some of the UN’s current International Goodwill Ambassadors:

In Photos: Who are the UN's Goodwill Ambassadors - and how were they picked?
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  • Nicholas Cage

    Hollywood star Nicholas Cage is a Goodwill Ambassador under the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
  • Ronan Keating

    The Boyzone star is a Goodwill Ambassador the for Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. (John Phillips/UK Press/Press Association Images)
  • David Beckham

    Football star and Mr Posh Spice David Beckham is one of UNICEF's 33 Goodwill Ambassadors. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)
  • Shakira

    Colombian pop star Shakira is a UNICEF ambassador. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
  • Liam Neeson

    UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson. (HT/ABACAUSA.COM/Press Association Images)
  • Angelina Jolie

    UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie visiting Syrian refugees at a camp in Turkey yesterday. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
  • Zinedine Zidane

    Zidane is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
  • Nicole Kidman

    The Australian actress is an ambassador for the UN Women. (Curtis Hilbun/UK Press/Press Association Images)
  • Peter Sutherland

    Irish businessman Peter Sutherland is one of just three Goodwill Ambassadors for the UN's Industrial Development Organisation. (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

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