Jason Raize Resource

"I wanted to speak with some of the people at the UN and make sure that they were trying to communicate with my generation. They wanted to meet with me and talk about ways to communicate in a more productive way."
--Jason Raize, ZoogDisney chat

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United Nations
Jason Raize at a 2000 UNEP event
Katje Hansen, Master of Ceremonies Pierre Quiblier, Jason, and UNEP spokesman Tore Brevik at the UNEP International Photographic Competition on the Environment 2000 Gala
(Credit: Photo UNEP © Gabor Szilagyi

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) designated Jason a Goodwill Ambassador in October 1999. According to a UNEP press release, Jason's appointment had been based upon "his commitment and dedication to furthering the cause of the environment through the use of his creative talents to inspire respect for our natural heritage and to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the earth's resources."

Then 24 years old, Jason was the youngest individual ever to receive this honor.

UNEP officially announced Jason's appointment on October 26, 1999, at the WILD Awards for environmental responsibility in the private sector. Adnan Amin, Director of UNEP's Regional Office for North America, told the crowd that The Lion King promoted saving the environment and preserving endangered species, and that Jason's ability to connect with audiences of all ages, paired with his dedication to environmental causes, would help these issues become more real to people. He also pointed out that UNEP had a special affinity for Simba: the name meant "lion" in Swahili, an official language of Kenya which is where UNEP was based.
When Jason spoke at the October 1999 awards ceremony, he stressed the importance of raising awareness in order to protect the environment. He believed that his work enabled him to communicate with diverse people, in particular the young generation. The event concluded with Jason performing a number from The Lion King.

Regarding his interest in the UN, Jason said in his ZoogDisney chat, "I did a lot of communication with the UN. I was always very interested in the United Nations as a concept -- the fact that there is a group that unites most of the world, and we have one place where all of these countries can get together and discuss issues. Our generation takes that for granted. Past generations realize that this is not normal, and that countries didn't always get together and communicate like this."

Jason appeared at several events associated with UNEP, including the UNEP International Photographic Competition on the Environment 2000 Gala (pictured above) and the 2001 WILD Awards presented by UNEP, the WILD Foundation, and Animal Planet. He was also listed as a scheduled performer at the World Wilderness Congress in South Africa in November 2001.

Jason's television show Keeping it Wild with Jason Raize enabled him to bring additional attention to the environment and endangered species.  In fact, Jason scheduled the show's premiere party in fall 2001 at the UN Headquarters in New York.

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