Angélique Kidjo, the dynamic singer and songwriter, was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2002. Kidjo was born in Benin and began her career at age six by performing in her mother's theatre troupe. Her music is heavily influenced by West African rhythms and incorporates a range of other traditions, such as funk, rumba, salsa, jazz, souk and makossa. Kidjo has won a number of awards including the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music for her album Djin Djin. Kidjo is the first woman to be listed among "The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa" by Forbes Magazine. The Daily Telegraph in London describes her as "The undisputed queen of African music."
As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Kidjo travels widely and makes time to visit UNICEF projects while on her concert tours. In 2007, Kidjo co-founded the Batonga Foundation to provide African girls with secondary school and higher education opportunities. She is an energetic campaigner for children and youth, speaking out on issues that affect them, especially their right to an education.