Goodwill Ambassador is a collective term sometimes used as a substitute honorific title or a title of honor for an Ambassador of Goodwill; but, most appropriately for a generic recognition, it is a job position or description that is usually indicated following the name of the individual recognized in the position. Goodwill ambassadors generally deliver goodwill or promote ideals from one entity to another, or to a population.
A goodwill ambassador may be an individual from one country who resides in or travels to another country, in a diplomatic mission (or international friendship mission) at a peer to peer level; that is: country to country, state to state, city to city; or, as an intermediary representing the people at the other extreme of an organization.
Goodwill Ambassadors have been an official (or unofficial) part of governments and cultures for as long as diplomacy has existed; to exchange gifts and presents; humanitarian relief; or development aid, using well known celebrities, scientists, authors, known activists, and other high society figures. Goodwill missions of countries are usually carried out or overseen by the head of state, and do not necessarily involve diplomatic credentials outside of a letter of presentation (or letter of credence). However some states do issue credentials that include diplomatic immunity for their goodwill ambassadors such as Haiti.
Many governmental, multilateral, nongovernmental, and nonprofit organizations utilize goodwill ambassadors to promote their programs and reach out to others with programs that are based on good relations that are usually secular and apolitical. Among the organizations that use goodwill ambassadors to deliver agendas include Sister Cities, the United Nations, organizations of the United Nations, the African Union, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Rotary International, and many others including the government of the United States of America as seen in 2009 when former President Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea on a special goodwill mission and the Commonwealth of Kentucky with the Kentucky colonels.
Alternatively, Websters Online Dictionary presents a specialty definition for a goodwill ambassador as one that promotes goodwill and solicits trade for local business firms who are members of parent organization: Develops list of prospective clients from such sources as newspaper items, utility companies' records, and local merchants. Visits homes of new residents, prospective parents, recently married couples, engaged persons, and other prospects to explain and sell services available from local merchants. Usually presents token gifts or gift certificates to induce clients to use local services or purchase local merchandise. Prepares reports of services rendered and visits made for parent organization and member firms. May solicit new organization membership. May explain community services available. May organize clubs and plan parties for new residents.
Organizations that utilize goodwill ambassadors.
- African Union
- Commonwealth of Kentucky
- European Union
- Global Peace Index
- Globcal International
- Lions Clubs International
- March of Dimes
- Muscular Dystrophy Association
- National Down Syndrome Society
- Olympic Games
- Rotary International
- Sister Cities International
- United Nations
- United Nations Association
- World Nature Organization
United Nations organizations with goodwill ambassador programs
- United Nations Messengers of Peace
- FAO Goodwill Ambassadors
- UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS
- UN Environment Programme
- UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors
- UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors
- UNODC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
- UNFPA Goodwill Ambassadors
- UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors
- UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors
- UNIDO Goodwill Ambassadors
- UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassadors
- WFP World Food Programme
- WHO Goodwill Ambassadors