YEREVAN (UNICEF)—UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Armenia announced on Wednesday the appointment of the newest National Goodwill Ambassador, Manchester United player and Armenia National Team captain Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who will support UNICEF in advocating for children’s right to education, sports and play and use his voice to bring awareness to the rights of the most marginalized children in Armenia. The appointment comes on the occasion of UNICEF’s global 70th anniversary, which is marked in December 2016.
Together with UNICEF, Mkhitaryan will encourage Armenian families to get active and enable a fair chance for every child in the country with a focus on children’s and young people’s rights to get quality learning from early years and quality education in an inclusive environment.
“It’s very sad to see that not all children have the same opportunities to attend school and they don’t get access to quality early learning and education. All children should be able to enjoy the opportunity to reach their full potential so they can become productive citizens,” said Mkhitaryan. “I am truly honoured to become a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. I want to utilise my platform to help UNICEF advocate for every child’s right to education in Armenia, especially for those who are most vulnerable,” he added.
Over the past two decades, Armenia has seen considerable progress in expanding access to pre-primary education, introducing inclusive education, and committing to improve quality of learning. However many children are still left behind, including children with disabilities and children living in remote rural areas.
“We are excited to have Mkhitaryan join us as the newest UNICEF Ambassador in Armenia. As a passionate advocate for children and healthy living, Mkhitaryan demonstrates deep commitment to our mission,” said UNICEF Representative in Armenia Tanja Radocaj. “Education contributes to reducing inequalities and eradicating poverty, while supporting the expansion of more inclusive societies. We are thrilled to join together in advocating to make every child’s right to quality, inclusive and early education a priority in Armenia.“
Mkhitaryan is an Armenian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for English club Manchester United, as well as leads the Armenia national team. Mkhitaryan is Armenia’s all-time top goal-scorer since his debut in January 2007. His previous clubs include Pyunik, Metalurh Donetsk, Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund. Mkhitaryan was voted Best Field Player of the season 2015/2016 in Bundesliga; he was also recognized as the best Armenian and CIS player in 2015/2016.
Mkhitaryan joins a large number of most prominent people from sports and culture who support UNICEF work for children all over the world.
He answered questions after the appointment regarding his experience playing for England’s Manchester United club. Mkhitaryan said “Everything is OK at Manchester United.”
Despite receiving little playing time at Manchester United, Mkhitaryan said nothing can prevent him from moving forward, reported Public Radio of Armenia.
“If I give in now, it will mean I have achieved nothing and done nothing to reach there,” he said.
“I will find the strength to struggle in this situation,” the midfielder said.
Mkhitaryan pledged to do his best to reach his goal.
A video of the press conference can be watched below.