Interview: Katy Perry plays role in advocating for children around world
by Stephanie Parker
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- World famous singer and songwriter Katy Perry was appointed on Tuesday by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) as the newest Goodwill Ambassador to raise awareness and "raise the voices" of the UN children- centric agency.
At a special event held at the UNICEF headquarters in New York, the singer was included in an interactive panel discussion with Executive Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake and UNICEF's national ambassador for Ethiopia and Canada, Hannah Godefa.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the Tuesday special event, Perry said, "I just hope that I can raise more awareness and I hope that I can raise voices for UNICEF."
The young female California native has released several #1 music hits around the world. Her latest single "Roar" featured on her fourth album PRISM is a testament to the new album's goal, which is to let your "light in."
As a Goodwill Ambassador, she said, "I hope that I can influence different change in policies and things that are unfair for children and I hope I can help kids in need if they are in trouble."
The 29-year-old singer said that she will focus her outreach especially on children and adolescents who are most vulnerable, including those living in severe poverty, affected by violence, abuse, and neglect, and in emergency and conflict situations.
During the interactive panel discussion portion of the special event, Lake offered a warm welcome to the celebrated singer Katy Perry.
"I think you can sense even just by walking through downstairs here how excited everybody at UNICEF is about you being here, both simply (her) presence but also what you are doing for children now, " Lake said.
He also noted that "now as a UNICEF Ambassador which is great, you are going to make a huge difference especially through social media especially reaching youth to get them more involved in global conversations," he said.
Also during the panel conversation, the newest music video, " Unconditionally," was released. The video featured footage from UNICEF and Perry's trip to Madagascar in April.
In response to a question on her trip by the moderator, she said, "I decided to work with UNICEF, first and foremost I wanted to take a trip, I wanted to have an experience, I wanted to have something to say, I did not just want to sign up for something without knowing what it is was all about."
Consequently, she said, "in order to actually become a UNICEF Ambassador I wanted to know what I was talking about so I made it a point to take a trip to Madagascar in April of this year and it changed my life."
"It is one of those things you hear that if you take one of these trips it could possibly change your life and I heard that and I did not think that necessarily applied to me in the same way, " she said. "Of course and it totally did."
The trip helped the singer "really kind of prioritize" her life and how she handles it.
"It really kind of prioritized my thinking and my whole approach on life and how to find my own joy and happiness that is not based on material possession or social status," Perry said during the panel discussion.
As a result, "I got really inspired to write this song," she said. "The song is based on my experience in Madagascar and seeing these children just have the currency of Love between them and exchanging that."
Perry told Xinhua that she is "happy to be able to share this light, my spotlight with UNICEF because it is an organization that I completely believe in." UNICEF was the first of many humanitarian organizations to enlist celebrities as Ambassadors. UNICEF's first celebrity Ambassador was Danny Kaye in 1954. Perry joins a list of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors including David Beckham, Harry Belafonte, Jackie Chan and Susan Sarandon.