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Leonardo DiCaprio named UN Messenger of Peace

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MUMBAI: The Hollywood actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, has been appointed as a United Nations Messenger of Peace to raise awareness about climate change.

On the new appointment, United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said, “DiCaprio is a credible voice in the environmental movement, and has a considerable platform to amplify its message.

 “I am pleased he has chosen to add his voice to UN efforts to raise awareness of the urgency and benefits of acting now to combat climate change,” he added.

DiCaprio will also address a UN summit meeting on climate change on 23 September, a day before the UN General Assembly's annual gathering of world leaders begins. Leaders from the 193 member states of the United Nations are expected to attend the climate session.

"I feel a moral obligation to speak out at this key moment in human history - it is a moment for action. How we respond to the climate crisis in the coming years will likely determine the fate of humanity and our planet," the actor said in a statement.

The Academy Award-nominated star of The Wolf of Wall Street and The Aviator joins other celebrities, from Audrey Hepburn to Angelina Jolie, who have represented various UN organisations.

In 1998, the actor established the ‘Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’, whose mission is protecting Earth's last wild places and building a more harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world, the United Nations said in the statement.

The organisation has contributed funds toward protecting tigers in Nepal, elephants in the wild, and marine animals, including sharks.

In February, DiCaprio pledged a donation of $3 million to marine conservation and followed with an additional $7 million pledge several months later.

On 21 September, two days before the UN Climate Summit in New York, the Clinton Foundation will honour the actor for his committed environmentalism during a Manhattan gala event featuring Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.

There are currently 11 other messengers of peace and one goodwill ambassador, the United Nations said. Other Hollywood industry notables who have been given the Messenger of Peace title by the UN in recent years include Edward Norton, Michael Douglas, Charlize Theron, George Clooney and Stevie Wonder.

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