Dubai, 20 November 2021 – At the World Children’s Day flagship concert hosted by Expo 2020 Dubai, UNICEF announced the appointment of two new UNICEF Youth Advocates. Gitanjali Rao, an inventor from the United States of America and TIME Kid of the Year, and Saeed Almutaiwei, member of the United Arab Emirates Children’s Parliament, join the 2021 cohort of young thought leaders from backgrounds as diverse as entertainment, education and entrepreneurship to innovation, social justice and media.
Two UNICEF Youth Advocates from the 2020 cohort officiated the appointment, in the presence of Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa, and H.E. Reem Al-Falasi, Secretary-General of the UAE Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.
Priyanka Lalla, a climate activist from Trinidad and Tobago, told Gitanjali Rao: “You join the ranks of young leaders around the world united by a collective mission to realise every right for every child. Your brilliant mind and your dedication will help UNICEF’s mission to reimagine a world fit for every child.”
Abigail Chamungwana (Abby Chams), a multi-award-winning singer, songwriter and musician, appointed Saeed Almutaiwei, telling him: “On behalf of UNICEF, it is my pleasure to announce you as Youth Advocate. You are the first from the Middle East region. Your country is hosting today and giving us, children and young leaders, a platform to advocate change.”
At the event, the new UNICEF Youth Advocates shared their visions for the future.
Gitanjali Rao said: “My vision is to see a future where each and every student has access to education, irrespective of where they are, but also has access to innovation and problem-based learning resources. I believe if every student can be involved in that, then we are solving global problems one step at a time.”
Saeed Almutaiwei added: “It is a historic moment for all of us. I would like to express my thanks. Today we are starting a new era of development.”
The flagship concert, co-organised with Expo 2020 Dubai and the UAE Ministry of Community Development, featured 5 UNICEF Ambassadors and, counting Gitanjali and Saeed, 4 UNICEF Youth Advocates. The two-hour event saw performances and talks from children, youth, and leaders bringing about positive change through arts and innovation, including musical trio and UNICEF Ambassadors Vasquez Sounds, vocalist, instrumentalist and UNICEF Youth Advocate Abigail Chamungwana (Abby Chams), the Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra, violinist Elli Choi, young Emirati poet Mazna Al Ameri, Circus Zambia; as well as members of the UAE Youth Paralympic team. Celebrated Lebanese singer and UNICEF Regional Ambassador Yara closed the flagship concert with an inspiring musical performance – and the release of a new song dedicated to UNICEF and to children.