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Press release

Film director Naomi Kawase named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador


UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, has appointed Japanese film director Naomi Kawase as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Cultural and Creative Industries. Ms Azoulay named Naomi Kawase in recognition of her commitment to culture and creativity at the service of the development of more just societies, especially for girls and women, and of her support for the Organization's objectives. 

Committed to the representation of women in the film industry in Africa, Ms Kawase, on Thursday took part in UNESCO’s conference on Diversity and Gender Equality in African Cinema. In 2020, she launched the UNESCO-Nara Residency with the Organization, opening up new creative and production opportunities for ten young African women filmmakers.

Considered the “filmmaker of human relationships,” Naomi Kawase’s work draws on her personal experience to blend fiction and documentary. In 2007, she won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival for her film The Mourning Forestand in 2013 served on the Jury of the 66th edition of the Festival. She is also the official film director of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.  

There is something beautiful about the world of film. It has the ability to suspend time and space in such a way that we can relate and feel beyond differences of gender, sexuality, nationality, race and religion. I believe strongly in the power of creative expression. In times of inequality and discrimination, these spaces of expression turn our attention away from ourselves and force us to think for a moment about the ‘other’.

Naomi Kawase

As a Goodwill Ambassador, Naomi Kawase, who in May 2020 moderated the Resiliart Japan debate on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Japan's creative sector, will contribute to the Organization's work for the diversity of cultural expressions and artistic creation.

UNESCO's Goodwill Ambassadors use their talent and visibility to promote the Organization’s values and objectives. Through their creativity, initiative and influence, they spread UNESCO's values and ideals to a wide and diverse audience.


Media contact: Thomas Mallard, t.mallard@unesco.org