South Korean Soccer Player Son Heung-Min Kicks Off WFP Goodwill Ambassador Role

Photo: WFP/KOREA/2022
World Food Programme
Published July 21, 2022

Son Heung-Min steps up to support the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) as it responds to a global hunger crisis

International soccer superstar Son Heung-Min has joined the U.N. World Food Programme as a Goodwill Ambassador. He joins a host of high-profile figures lending their support to the organization as it seeks to respond to an unprecedented global hunger crisis.

When he was 16 years old, Son moved to Germany where he played for Hamburg SV. In 2013, he moved to Bundesliga’s Bayer Leverkusen and two years later transferred to the English Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur –the team he still plays with today.

“My own experience of overcoming enormous challenges with courage and positivity during my teenage life abroad and being away from my family encouraged me to be able to support people in challenging situations,” Son said in a statement.

“As a U.N. World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassador, I will be a voice to support the mission to end hunger as the pathway to global peace and stability – for the people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impacts of climate change.”

He added, “My passion and courage in the football field will continue to extend beyond the playing field to support U.N. World Food Programme operations.”

Portrait of Son Heung-Min and David Beasley
Photo: South Korea

U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley said Son is joining as Goodwill Ambassador at a “crucial time.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Son Heung-Min, a true star of the soccer world to the U.N. World Food Programme family,” said U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley. “With Son on our team, we’re more determined than ever to kick hunger into touch.”

Last year, Son collaborated with the U.N. World Food Programme by lending his voice to its Korean-language “We Deliver” video which drew a powerful parallel between scoring goals on the pitch and the U.N. World Food Programme’s emergency responses.

Portrait of Son Heung-Min
Photo: WFP/KOREA/2022

Son Heung-Min scored 23 goals in the 2021/22 season, making him one of the top scorers of the season and earning him the Golden Boot.

“Son’s message has captured the heart of every Korean,” said Marian Yun, Director of the U.N. World Food Programme’s office in Seoul. “He embodies the spirit and legacy of a country that was once a war-torn recipient of U.N. World Food Programme assistance to now emerging as one of the most developed countries in the world.”

“Korea’s own development story of ending poverty and hunger stands as a brilliant example of what the U.N. World Food Programm strives to achieve in the countries where it operates.”

Son Heung-Min WFP Global Goodwill Ambassador
Photo: WFP/Duckgwan Moon/2022

With considerable influence and popularity spanning across continents, Son will not only shine a spotlight on the plight of the millions of people going to bed hungry but will also be a voice inspiring global commitment and action to end hunger.

As a Goodwill Ambassador, Son follows in the footsteps of Canadian singer-songwriter Abel Tesfaye (aka ‘The Weeknd’) and actor Kate Hudson, among other public figures.

The appointment is a welcome development as the U.N. World Food Programme warns the world is at a ‘critical crossroads’: Immediate action is required for the 50 million people in 45 countries teetering on the edge of famine.

This story originally appeared on WFP’s Stories on July 13, 2022 and was written by Peyvand Khorsandi. 


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