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Dhaka Tribune

Runa Laila Saarc’s goodwill envoy on HIV/AIDS

Update : 23 Apr 2013, 02:40 PM

Renowned singer Runa Laila on Tuesday received her nomination letter to be a Saarc Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS, the first Bangladeshi to do so.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni handed over a formal letter from the Saarc Secretary-General to Runa Laila yesterday during a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital, UNB reported.

Runa Laila was nominated as one of the three Saarc Goodwill Ambassadors for HIV/AIDS at a meeting of the selection committee held at the Saarc Secretariat, Kathmandu early this year.

The two other Saarc Goodwill Ambassadors are Bollywood star Ajay Devgan and Pakistani journalist and documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

The committee considered 10 nominations from the Saarc member states based on the individuals’ regional stature and eminence, appeal to the target audience, relevance in delivery of message, likely commitment and innovative ways that could be utilised in promoting advocacy and awareness in combating HIV/AIDS.

While expressing her reaction to media, Runa Laila said: “I surely feel happy. It’s a matter of honour for me. My work has just started from today.”

Runa Laila said her key work would be to create awareness among people about HIV/AIDS. “In our region, the perception and idea is low about the HIV/AIDS.”

She said she did not communicate with the other two ambassadors. “I hope I will work together with them.”

The Saarc Goodwill Ambassador programme was conceived in 2008 with an aim to engage regionally well-known personalities to create greater awareness about HIV/AIDS in South Asia and to facilitate the implementation of Saarc regional strategy and its work plan on HIV/AIDS.

The Goodwill Ambassadors under the programme undertake visits to the Saarc countries to raise awareness and advocate greater support to the fight against AIDS.

Their interactions with children and people affected by HIV and AIDS help remove the social stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.

Shabana Azmi, internationally acclaimed actress and eminent social activist from India, and Sanath Jayasuriya, a legendary cricketer from Sri Lanka, had previously been Saarc Goodwill Ambassador.

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