UNESCO has named Vinicius Junior its latest Goodwill Ambassador for his heroic humanitarian efforts off the pitch.
The 23-year-old Brazilian established the Vini Jr Institute in his native Brazil in 2021, aiming to help disadvantaged kids in Brazil. More specifically, the program offers access to sports facilities, educational programs, and cultural activities to help promote social change.
UNESCO's Director General Audrey Azoulay Presents Vini with the Designation
“Vinícius Júnior isn't just an exceptional football player, he has also from a very early age been committed to promoting equal opportunities through education in Brazil,” said UNESCO's director general, Audrey Azoulay, who presented Vini with the honorable designation.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) actively promotes international collaboration by advancing educational, scientific, and cultural reforms to uphold justice, the rule of law, human rights, and fundamental freedoms outlined in the United Nations Charter.
“He's a role model for a generation, and UNESCO feels honored to have him as one of our Goodwill Ambassadors,” added Azoulay.
“Receiving this invitation to be a UNESCO Ambassador at the age of 23 is more than an honor; it's a victory and a responsibility that I'll carry for life,” Vinicius tweeted on X. He becomes the second Brazilian sportsperson after Pele to take on the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador role.
Said Vini: “Of course I want to be remembered as a great player, but also as a citizen, who made an effort to do something different.
“I've fought for education since I was 19, and my Institute is growing month by month in Brazil. With the power of UNESCO, we're going to have an impact worldwide.”
The standout winger has also won plaudits back home for the continued resiliency show against repeated racist jeers in stadiums across Spain. He spearheaded an anti-racism campaign in his home country last year following his reception of the 2023 Ballon d'Or Socrates Award.
Back in June 2023, the state of Rio de Janeiro introduced a new anti-racism law, dubbed the ‘Vini Jr. law,' to curb racism at sporting events.