Emma Watson named as UN Goodwill Ambassador

AFPJuly 8, 2014
British actress Emma Watson, pictured arriving for a charity event at Windsor Castle on May 13, 2014
British actress Emma Watson, pictured arriving for a charity event at Windsor Castle on May 13, 2014 (AFP Photo/Chris Jackson)

London (AFP) - Actress Emma Watson said she hopes to "make a real difference" in her new role promoting gender equality and women's empowerment as a United Nations goodwill ambassador.

The Harry Potter Star will advocate for UN Women's HeForShe campaign which calls for men and boys to stand up against inequalities facing women and girls around the world.

She follows in the footsteps of a host of celebrities, including star Hollywood humanitarian Angelina Jolie who was a goodwill ambassador for refugee agency UNHCR before becoming a Special Envoy.

The 24-year-old confirmed the appointment on Twitter, telling her 13 million followers she was "so excited to start work with the AMAZING people at UN Women!"

UN Women earlier broke the news on its website which then crashed.

In a statement Watson said she hoped to "make a real difference" in the role.

"Women's rights are something so inextricably linked with who I am, so deeply personal and rooted in my life that I can't imagine an opportunity more exciting," she said.

"I still have so much to learn, but as I progress I hope to bring more of my individual knowledge, experience and awareness to this role."

Watson, who was catapulted to fame as Hermione in the Harry Potter movies, starred more recently alongside Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly in "Noah".

She graduated in May from the prestigious Brown University, in America's Rhode Island, with a bachelor's degree in English literature.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director for UN Women, praised Watson's "intellect and passion".

"We are thrilled and honoured to work with Emma, whom we believe embodies the values of UN Women," she said.

"The engagement of young people is critical for the advancement of gender equality in the 21st century, and I am convinced that Emma's intellect and passion will enable UN Women's messages to reach the hearts and minds of young people globally."