GRASP Ambassador Nadya Hutagalung to Address UN General Assembly in World Wildlife Day Event
Asian media personality Nadya Hutagalung, who engages a global audience on issues of wildlife conservation, “green” living and sustainable development, has been appointed as a Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) Ambassador.Among Ms. Hutagalung’s first responsibilities will be to address the United Nations General Assembly during celebrations to mark World Wildlife Day on 3-4 March in New York.
The UN General Assembly event on 4 March will promote the theme, “Let’s Get Serious About Wildlife Crime,” and will be attended by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, General Assembly President Sam Kutesa, and Clinton Foundation Vice-Chair Chelsea Clinton, among others.
“GRASP is pleased to be able designate Ms. Hutgalung as an Ambassador,” said GRASP programme coordinator Doug Cress. “The visibility and credibility she commands not just in Asia, but around the world, will allow us to reach an even larger audience with vital messages regarding the protection of great apes and their habitat.”
Ms. Hutagalung is one of Asia’s most recognized faces, and was voted one of Asia’s Leading Trendmakers by Asiaweek magazine, alongside the Dalai Lama, Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat. In 2009, Ms. Hutagalung was named one of Singapore’s Top 20 most influential people by CNN and was named Best Host TV Host by ELLE magazine.
“To be invited to join the United Nations’ only species conservation programme, GRASP, is really a great honor,” said Ms. Hutagalung. “With stories of my mother rescuing baby orangutans before I was born and my father hailing from Sumatra, the orangutans were the first species that really drew me into wildlife conservation back in the late 90’s.
“I have since focused on various aspects of sustainable living, education and most recently my ivory demand reduction campaign, Let Elephants Be Elephants. Joining GRASP really is like coming full circle. This appointment is just the very first step in working towards raising the level of awareness of the plight of the great apes, their habitats and the indigenous communities.”
Ms. Hutagalung is GRASP’s fifth Ambassador, joining Jane Goodall, Richard Leakey, Russell Mittermeier and Richard Wrangham.
“I am pleased to welcome Ms. Hutagalung as a GRASP Ambassador, and I very much look forward to working with her,” said Wrangham, a professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University. “That she might be able to engage Asian audiences on some of these issues of global concern is an important opportunity — and objective — that cannot be overlooked.”
Ms. Hutagalung was a featured speaker in “The Nature of Crime: The Extent and Impact of Illegal Wildlife Crime” sessions of the World Leaders Dialogue during the recent IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, and served as Singapore’s Ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour for the last six years. Ms. Hutagalung is the co-founder of the Let Elephants Be Elephants” campaign that seeks to reduce the demand for ivory in Asia.
In 2012, the International Green Awards nominated Ms. Hutagalung as “Most Responsible Celebrity” alongside George Clooney, Robert Redford and Penelope Cruise, and she was later named “Hero of Philanthropy” by Indonesia Tatler magazine.
In 2013, Ms. Hutagalung was appointed to the board of The Green School in Bali, Indonesia, which recently won the “Greenest School on Earth” title awarded by the US Green Building Council.