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13.01.2010 Tunisia

UN agency appoints Tunisian film star Ambassador against Hunger

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12 January - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today appointed Tunisian film star Hend Sabry as an “Ambassador against Hunger” to help the agency fight hunger in developing countries around the world, especially in the Middle East region.

“I am delighted to be part of WFP's efforts to help the hungriest people in the world and I will use my profile among film fans to show how even small contributions from individual people can help to ease hunger by feeding hungry children,” said Ms. Sabry.

Since February 2009, Ms. Sabry has travelled to Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, and visited people receiving food assistance from WFP to see the impact of the agency's work on the lives of vulnerable people.

The actress's initial plan includes visiting WFP's operations in Yemen, where the programme is helping more than 175,000 people affected by the ongoing conflict in the northern part of the country.

She is also planning to visit school meal programmes in Egypt and the occupied Palestinian territory, as well as other projects worldwide where WFP is providing meals to some 22 million children – about half of them girls.

“Providing proper nutrition to young children is a simple and effective way of saving the next generation, and building a better future for millions,” Ms. Sabry said.

Over the past year, the compounding effects of the economic crisis – which followed the 2008 high food price crisis – has pushed the number of hungry people past one billion for the first time in history.

“We have realized the power of celebrities in winning the hearts and minds of people and we are confident that Hend will bring the Arab world's attention to how much hunger and suffering there is in the world,” said Daly Belgasmi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Among Ms. Sabry's first roles will be to film a number of public service announcements next week with fellow Ambassador against Hunger and Egyptian film veteran Mahmoud Yassin.

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