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Learn English with Priyanka Chopra. Join Priyanka Chopra at the United Nations as she celebrates UNICEF’s 70th anniversary with a heartfelt speech about children’s rights and the power of collective action. Discover how her decade-long involvement with UNICEF has shaped her advocacy for the oppressed and learn why she believes in the power of humanity to create a better future. Chopra shares harrowing tales and inspiring messages, urging us all to choose humanity and act now to ensure a better world for children everywhere.

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Priyanka Chopra: Empower girls, change the world.

Empower girls, change the world.

Priyanka Chopra


First Speech:

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It is such an honor for me to be here tonight in this iconic UN building celebrating UNICEF’s 70th anniversary.

First of all, I want to take a moment to celebrate every minute of these 70 years where UNICEF has worked selflessly for every child. Today we all stand here to renew that exact pledge to every single person involved in UNICEF, keep doing what you’re doing because the world is a better place because of you.

My involvement with UNICEF started 10 years ago in India. Today I stand here humbled, enriched, committed because of that exact experience. I want to thank the India team who has worked tirelessly with me for over 10 years now for the amazing journey so far. And I want to thank UNICEF for giving me this opportunity to extend the work that I can do to the world.

Everywhere we look today, you can see the advancement of man, how the human mind has basically invented, created, and built a whole new world. Yet strangely, every time that I have been on the field, I’ve wondered how that same human mind continues to allow the exploitation of children across the world, where girls are being denied to go to school, where children are living without clean water, medical care, protection, even food, where their bodies and minds are unprotected from violence, abuse, and exploitation, where they are targets of war.

Every day, horrifying images, fresh horrifying images, flash across our screens. A 10-year-old girl dressed as a bride, marrying a man twice her age. A boy sitting at the back of an ambulance trying to understand what just happened to him. A girl watching her brother go to school as she prepares for another day of housework. A boy’s lifeless body washing up on a beach far, far away from his home.

Ladies and gentlemen, people of the world, I, we, ask you to join us today to become the collective voice of oppressed children across the world in our fight against the injustices that they have had to endure every day. I thank you for being there today. I’m humbled, inspired, even more as I look around and I listen to everyone here, not just to be a part of UNICEF, but to be involved with all of you individuals who have selflessly dedicated their voice, their time, their heart into helping the world see light, that we are seriously endangering our future, which is our children.

I recently read a quote somewhere that being human is given, but keeping our humanity is our choice. So let’s choose humanity. Let’s choose to act now. Let’s choose to fight now. And let’s choose to ensure a better world for our children and their children and the generations to come. My wish for children is freedom, the freedom to think, the freedom to live. Thank you very much.


Second Speech:

Priyanka Chopra: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, this incredible panel of women that are so inspiring. I’ve worked with UNICEF now for about 12 years and mostly with education and rights for girl children.

Whether it was my travels around India, Jordan recently to the Zaatari camp with Syrian refugees, whether it was Zimbabwe, where the numbers are staggering, one out of three girls under 18 has been sexually violated, 100%. South Africa, violence comes out in so many forms, whether that’s sexuality, whether that is physical violence, emotional violence.

The one thing that I have seen that usually works within communities is to be able to empower women and young girls, young girls giving them the right to tell them it is okay, especially in developing countries like you were speaking, ma’am, right now, about if a girl wears a certain outfit, she’s judged for it and she asked to be raped. Or if a girl hits puberty, she will not be allowed to go to school anymore because she might be raped. Or it might, and that will bring honor, that will bring dishonor to the family.

These are certain little things that are set in mindsets which have been, for thousands of years, been told to us as women that we dictate our intention or everything that we want to achieve by the clothes that we wear or the way that we speak or how loudly we speak or what point we’re trying to make. So what has worked is empowering these young girls and boys in schools by telling them that a real man is not violent and a real woman is not tolerant of it. Because what happens is society tells boys that it’s okay to be violent and then women just become tolerant.

And when these girls are empowered, I’ve seen so many kids that I have met who go into their own communities and despite of being ousted, despite of being told that they’re too much women and they’re bad influences and they will probably turn the other girls into bad influences, they go out there, knock on doors and make the change. So we need to start young. We are not going to be able to change the mindsets of older people, unfortunately.

Host: And starting young, how do you get girls and boys to be more engaged in this fight, both girls and boys?

Priyanka Chopra: Well, again, I think the fact that everyone sitting in this room, they are people who are influencers, governments, people in higher positions and platforms. Once you, like in India, for example, we have incredible laws that have been passed for the protection of women, which local and international communities have pushed the government to do. And now implementation is what is important.

You see young people with the use of social media, with the use of being aware, socially aware by parents teaching their children, by making them, like how Malala’s father addressed us and he said, my father was exactly the same. He told me that no one will ever tell you to not have an opinion because that’s the one thing that’s taken away from a woman is her opinion and her right. And my father empowered me to be able to sit in front of you and say anything that I want from my experiences. And it’s that with the internet, with the social media that we have, it can become something which is horrible, but it can also become a boon by us being able to… These kids are dictating and teaching themselves. We’re not going to be able to tell them this is how life is led. They’re discussing it on their own. They’re on their phones, they’re on Facebook, whether I was at the Dari camp, whether I was in Rajasthan in India, whether I was in Zimbabwe. So the access and the information that we provide to them is very important. And UNICEF and so many other NGOs and amazing organizations are doing such great groundwork, which you said, going into the field and actually changing mindsets.