THE EARTH TIMES
APRIL 30 – MAY 14, 1996
Japanese star aids ‘population programs’
Keiko Kishi is new Goodwill ambassador for the UN
By Ashali Varma
Keiko Kishi, a famous Japanese movie and stage actress has been appointed “Goodwill Ambassador,” for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Nafis Sadik said that Kishi will represent the Population fund in her travels throughout the world and in addition will film, write and speak out on population issues.
On her first goodwill tour, Kishi spent two weeks in Vietnam, recently. She travelled around the country meeting with the people from all walks of life from ministers and officials to school children, parents, NGOs and women working in factories and fields.
Hirofumi Ando, deputy executive director of policy and administration in UNFPA, who accompanied her on the tour said, “We chose Vietnam because it is one of the poorest countries in the world committed to population programs and Kishi was interested in Vietnam.” It was also the first time that UNFPA has taken a Goodwill Ambassador on a tour for two weeks.
Kishi is fluent in French, Japanese and English and was chosen as a Goodwill Ambassador because she is interested in global issues like environment and population and despite her heavy schedule was committed enough to make time for promoting the cause of women.
Ando said that on her tour, Kishi, was especially interested in talking to people in the field – the working women – and was very impressed with the Vietnamese women. She felt that although they were gentle they were also very strong.
In her many meetings with the people of Vietnam, Kishi was also impressed by the fact that as a nation the Vietnamese were not revengeful people. Though they had not forgotten the war, they were not obsessed by it. They are pragmatic and look to the future for building a better life for themselves and their children.
The tour made a tremendous impact on her, said Ando, and she intends to write about her experiences in Vietnam. Kishi has her own weekly television program in Japan and she will produce a special program on Vietnam.
The video on her visit to Vietnam will be shown at an International Symposium on Population and Women, scheduled to be held in Yokohama on May 25, 1996, co-sponsored by UNFPA and the Yokohama Women’s Association.
As a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, Kishi will receive a symbolic fee of $1. Other UNFPA Goodwill Ambassadors are Jane Fonda and Ted Turner.