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Tuesday, October 20, 1998 Published at 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK


Ginger Spice takes on diplomatic role

Geri Halliwell: Set for Aids-fighting role

Girl Power comes to the United Nations on Tuesday when former Ginger Spice, Geri Halliwell, follows in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren by becoming a UN ambassador for goodwill.

[ image: Danny Kaye: Promoted children's rights]
Danny Kaye: Promoted children's rights
Her role for the UN's population fund will include promoting the organisation's programme on contraception and Aids prevention around Britain.

Ms Halliwell, 26, is to meet with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York on Tuesday to discuss taking on the role.

Duncan Kennedy: "Performer and party animal has turned population ambassador"
The former Spice Girl is the latest in a long line of celebrity diplomats - the first, the Hollywood and Broadway star Danny Kaye, was such a success in promoting the rights of children that the tradition has grown from strength to strength.

Film legend Audrey Hepburn travelled to Somalia during the country's darkest hour and the UN is now calling on celebrities such as Mohammad Ali, Michael Douglas and Luciano Pavarotti to help promote its causes.

Halliwell's role will be to help combat the spread of Aids by promoting safer sex.

Busy with other charity work

[ image: Geri arrives in New York ahead of her meeting with Kofi Annan]
Geri arrives in New York ahead of her meeting with Kofi Annan
She has been busy with other charity work since she left the Spice Girls in May.

In September she agreed to front a breast cancer awareness campaign, and spoke of the breast cancer scare that she went through when she was 18.

She said then: "It's really nice to be able to give something back. I'm an energetic person, I'm a real worker. If I can make a difference I'm happy to do that."

[ image: Audrey Hepburn comforting a child in Somalia]
Audrey Hepburn comforting a child in Somalia
Last week she travelled to Uganda to make a film for Comic Relief.

But as Halliwell begins her UN role, she has a long way to go before she matches the example of actor Sir Peter Ustinov.

In August, the UN's Secretary-General paid tribute to Sir Peter's 30 years of working with the UN.

"His qualifictions are unbeatable," Mr Annan said. "He speaks French, German, English, Italian, Russian, Spanish and even some Turkish and Greek. He could double as a representative of all the member states."

Other British celebrities working for the UN include Robbie Williams who travelled to Sri Lanka recently with veteran rock star Ian Dury on a Unicef mission.

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