7 December 2009

Nicolas Cage Appointed UNODC Goodwill Ambassador For Global Justice

VIENNA, 4 December (UN Information Service) - Acclaimed actor and filmmaker Nicolas Cage has been appointed Goodwill Ambassador for Global Justice for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The appointment was made by UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa at the UN Correspondent's Association (UNCA) 14th Annual Benefit Dinner in New York. On that occasion he was also awarded UNCA's Global Citizen of the Year Award for Humanitarian Achievements. "Until today, justice has been a cause without a rebel. Now we have one," said Mr. Costa.

Mr. Cage has starred in some 65 major motion pictures, including: Moonstruck, Wild at Heart, Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas, Con Air, The Family Man, Adaptation, National Treasure, Lord of War, World Trade Center, Ghost Rider, Knowing and The Bad Lieutenant. Mr. Cage received an Academy Award for Best Actor for Leaving Las Vegas and was later nominated for another Academy Award for his dual performances in Adaptation. He is also the recipient of a Golden Globe Award, two MTV Movie Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, among other distinctions. "My real life role as UNODC Goodwill Ambassador will certainly be even more challenging and meaningful than those I have portrayed on screen," said Mr. Cage.

UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said: "Nicolas Cage's characters have exposed us to some of the darkest aspects of human nature. Now he is championing one of the most noble - the quest for justice. The Lord of War has become a messenger for peace, the Bad Lieutenant has turned into a good cop, and the inmate from Con Air has become a champion of prison reform. His star status and strong conviction on these issues will help us achieve security and justice for all."

Mr. Cage has shown a long-standing commitment to global justice and philanthropy. As an Amnesty International advocate, he raised awareness about the horrors faced by child soldiers, arms trafficking, violence against women and other human rights tragedies. He donated US$2 million to establish a fund to help former child soldiers, providing support for on the ground rehabilitation shelters, medical services and psychological and reintegration services. He led a campaign around his film, Lord of War to raise awareness about international Arms Control, supported "Heal the Bay", the Red Cross, the United Negro College Fund, Hurricane Katrina reconstruction efforts, and the Royal United Hospital's Forever Friends Appeal to build intensive care units for babies.

Mr. Cage, who has produced, directed and acted in films often dealing with issues of global justice, terrorism, arms trafficking, sex crimes, and drug trafficking, has already worked closely with UNODC. For example, in May 2009 he launched the Office's " Welcome to Gulu" benefit exhibition at UN headquarters in New York featuring paintings by former child soldiers and abducted girls. Mr. Cage recently returned from a week-long mission with UNODC to Uganda and Kenya which focused on child soldiering and other forms of human trafficking, as well as piracy, prison conditions, HIV-AIDS and drug addiction.

As UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for Global Justice, Nicolas Cage will use the performing arts as an engine for global justice and victim support. "I intend to shine the spotlight on the need for global justice, publicize all the good work that UNODC is doing, and highlight how we can all make a difference," said Mr. Cage upon accepting his appointment.

UNODC is the lead UN agency for promoting global justice. In addition to its high profile drug control role, UNODC works to combat all forms of organized crime including: trafficking in people, weapons, drugs and natural resources; corruption; terrorism; piracy; kidnapping; and money laundering. It also supports the rights of crime victims and prisoners, and promotes alternatives to incarceration.

The United Nations Correspondents Association is a professional organization of nearly 250 journalists from dozens of countries representing scores of publications and broadcasters from all regions of the world, plus the major global news agencies. It represents reporters in dialogues with the United Nations, and sponsors related briefings by sources both inside and outside the UN and an annual gala dinner recognizing outstanding journalism and a Citizen of the World Award. It is also associated with the Dag Hammarskjold Memorial Scholarship Fund which sponsors journalists from developing countries for the duration of the annual UN General Assembly.

* *** *

For further information, please contact:

Simone Monasebian
Representative, UNODC, New York Liaison Office
Telephone: (+1-212) 963-5631 or (+1-917) 294-5762
Email: monasebian@un.org