August 9, 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of Sir Roger Moore’s service as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and the popular British actor and humanitarian is going strong in his starring role as an advocate for the world’s most vulnerable children.
“I’ve been an exceedingly lucky actor, and the luck of it all was that I was able to come and work for UNICEF,” Sir Roger has said. “I think that working with UNICEF has taught me humility. I realize that when I was trotting around the world as 007 I did not appreciate how the other half lives – in fact, it’s more than half.”
Since his appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador in August 1991, Sir Roger has visited UNICEF-supported programmes around the world, bringing attention to children’s needs and enlisting widespread public support and donations. He has given compelling voice to a range of issues, from HIV/AIDS to landmine injuries, disability rights, iodine deficiency and more.
In November 2001, Sir Roger helped launch the partnership between UNICEF and FIFA, the world governing body of football, which includes a focus on preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS among young people.
At the same time, he played a key part in promoting Kiwanis International’s Worldwide Service Project, which has raised more than $90 million for eliminating iodine deficiency, the primary cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage.
Sir Roger received the World Service Medal from Kiwanis for that work.
He also received the German Federal Service Cross in 2003 (for his involvement in battling child trafficking) and the Dag Hammarskjöld Inspiration Award in 2007. The following year, he received the title of Commander of the National Order of Arts and Letters, in France.
Sir Roger was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1999 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003, in recognition of his work with UNICEF. But he is perhaps best known for his successful stage, television and film career, in which he played two iconic action characters, The Saint and James Bond.