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Padma Lakshmi appointed as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador

Indian-American television personality and food expert Padma Lakshmi has been appointed by the United Nations Development Programme as its new Goodwill Ambassador, in support of its fight against inequality and discrimination around the world.

Mar 8, 2019 16:49 IST
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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has appointed Indian-American television personality and food expert Padma Lakshmi as its new Goodwill Ambassador, in support of its fight against inequality and discrimination around the world.

The announcement was made by UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner in a ceremony at the UNDP headquarters on March 7, 2019, on the eve of International Women's Day. In her new role, the award-winning author will help mobilise support for the Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on fighting inequality, discrimination and empowering the disenfranchised.

Speaking on the occasion, Padma Lakshmi said, “As we celebrate International Women’s Day let’s remember that women and girls face some of the worst discrimination and hardships in the world.”

She further added that her main focus as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador will be to shine a spotlight on the fact that inequality can affect people in rich and poor countries alike. She pointed out that though many nations have greatly reduced poverty, inequality still persists.

She said that inequality is compounded by gender, age, ethnicity and race and added that it especially affects women, minorities and others who face unimaginable discrimination in the societies in which they live.

Why was Padma Lakshmi chosen for the role?

According to UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, Lakshmi has a strong record of speaking out for those who have been left behind and of fighting discrimination. He said that they needed more voices like hers to ensure that they can meet the vision of sustainable development goals.

About Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi is an Indian-American author, actress, model, television host, and executive producer.

She started her career with modeling at the age of 21 and has modeled for renowned designers such as Emanuel Ungaro, Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace, Ralph Lauren, and Alberta Ferretti, and appeared in ad campaigns for Roberto Cavalli and Versus.

Her first cookbook, Easy Exotic, a compilation of international recipes and short essays, was awarded Best First Book at the 1999 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards at Versailles.

She has also been the host of the Emmy award-winning cooking competition program, Top Chef, since its season two in 2006.

She also received an Emmy nomination in 2009 for the same in the category of Outstanding Reality Host.

Her debut memoir 'Love, Loss and What We Ate' was released on International Women's Day, March 8, 2016.

Besides, she is also a New York Times bestselling author, the co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America, a Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an ambassador for the American Civil Liberties Union advocating for immigrants’ rights.

In her new role as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, she would be joining a host of globally celebrated actors, athletes, musicians and other high-profile influencers such as Spanish-born international star Antonio Banderas, Award-winning actor Michelle Yeoh and legendary musician Bob Weir.

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