An eye exam can detect more than just vision problems. Find out more in the AARP Eye Center.
by Mary P. Willis, AARP The Magazine, January 12, 2009
It's been two and a half years since Harry Belafonte, 78, serenaded an audience with "Day-O," but you could hardly say he has retired. In fact, these days he's busier than ever, speaking out against civil injustice and traveling as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. "There's no question that of all the agencies within the UN, UNICEF is the most compelling, the most successful, and the most dynamic," he says. Belafonte speaks with some authority, having been associated with the organization since 1987, not long after he spearheaded the classic concert and recording of "We Are the World," which raised more than $100 million for famine relief worldwide. Since then he has made more than 20 trips to Africa, the Caribbean, and South and Central America to help children in crisis. As a result of his 2004 visit to Kenya, where he supported the government's decision to permanently eliminate school fees, more than 1.3 million children have entered school for the first time. Last year, during a visit to Dakar, he spotlighted the problem of unregistered births in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 17 million children go uncounted. "With no birth certificate or source of origin, these children are literally considered nonexistent," he says. The idea that a single child could so easily be forgotten is unimaginable to Belafonte, who believes his role as an artist is to give voice to the voiceless. "Harry is much more than a big name," says UNICEF's Maria Zanca. "His loyalty and longevity have made him the face that people associate with the cause of children."
*The name of this award was originally the Impact Award. In 2008, the awards were renamed as the Inspire Awards.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Featured AARP Member Benefits
See All >
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
You'll start receiving the latest news, benefits, events, and programs related to AARP's mission to empower people to choose how they live as they age.
You can also manage your communication preferences by updating your account at anytime. You will be asked to register or log in.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at