UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Languages
Since 1999 Vigdís has served as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Languages and is the first and so far only spokesman for languages at a global level. The role of the Goodwill Ambassador is to draw people’s attention to the importance of languages for cultural diversity and to provide support for languages that are under threat of extinction.
World Theatre Ambassador
Vigdís was appointed a World Theatre Ambassador at the World Congress of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) in Madrid, Spain, in 2008. The ITI is dedicated to creating platforms for international exchange and engagement in the education of the performing arts and operates under the banner of UNESCO. It was formerly based within the UNESCO headquarters in Paris but was transferred to Shanghai at the end of 2015.
ITI World Theatre Ambassadors, past or present, are:
- Augusto Boal, Brazil
- Santiago Garcia, Colombia
- Václav Havel, Czech Republic
- Girish Karnad, India
- Wole Soyinka, Nigeria
- Shang Changrong, China
- Ellen Stewart, US
- Robert Sturua, Georgia
- Anatoli Vassiliev, Russia
- Arnold Wesker, UK
Vigdís and Václav Havel (1936-2011) met both as heads of state and through their shared interest in theatre. The ITI explains the thinking behind its choice of ambassadors as follows, that “each in her or his own way, whether through a particular activity or simply by their presence and the fact of lending their name, reinforces the mission of the ITI to raise the profile of theatre in the world. Their association with the ITI is a source of inspiration for current members and for newcomers.”
World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST)
From 1999 to 2004 Vigdís acted as chair of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST). The Commission acts in an advisory capacity under UNESCO and encourages discussion of and increased attention to ethical values in decisions relating to science and technology.
Mondialogo – forum for intercultural dialogue among young people
Mondialogo is a collaborative initiative launched by Daimler AG and UNESCO in 2003 that seeks to promote intercultural dialogue and exchange among young people on a global level. The initiative is based on three pillars: the Mondialogo School Contest, the Mondialogo Engineering Award and the Mondialogo Internet Portal, which serves as a platform for dialogue and communication. Vigdís acted as UNESCO’s representative on the board during the launch of the project.