Susan Sarandon, Celine Dion Named Goodwill Ambassadors

Susan Sarandon and Celine Dion accepted roles as Goodwill Ambassadors.

ByABC News
October 16, 2010, 9:24 AM

Oct. 15, 2010— -- Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon and popular singer Celine Dion on Wednesday proudly and humbly accepted international roles as Goodwill Ambassadors in the fight on hunger for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

As part of the celebration of the UN World Food Day, the FAO Director General Jacques Diouf proudly announced at Rome, Italy headquarters of FAO, that Sarandon and Dion, along with Italian actor Raoul Bova (known in the US for his role in Under the Tuscan Sun) and Philippine singer Lea Salonga had accepted the call to join the battle against hunger. They join the ranks of other celebrities such as Carl Lewis and Pierre Cardin.

"I am proud to be able to use what celebrity I have to draw everyone's attention to the very real and dramatic problem of hunger, food insecurity and extreme poverty," said Sarandon as she accepted the appointment.

"As a mother, I can't imagine anything more upsetting, demoralizing, frustrating than not being able to feed your child," Sarandon added, "and so I am accepting this award as a call to action."

"Almost 1 in 6 people wake up hungry, not knowing whether or not they will have enough to eat -- these are the most vulnerable and voiceless people in the world."

In 2009, according to the FAO, the number of hungry people in the world reached a "critical threshold" of one billion, in part because of soaring food prices and the global financial crisis.

Celine Dion, who was unable to attend the ceremony in Rome, sent a video message.

"More than a billion people suffer from hunger and malnutrition at a time when the world has more than enough food to feed everyone," she said. "This is totally unacceptable and time is running out."The World Food Day event is entering 30th year, and this year's theme is "United Against Hunger."

"With willpower, courage and persistence," says the statement on the FAO website, "and many players working together and helping each other – more food can be produced, more sustainably, and get into the mouths of those who need it most."