Benin-born Angélique Kidjo is one of the biggest world music stars of the last 20 years. "Africa's premier diva" according to Time Magazine, and one of the most powerful celebrities in Africa according to Forbes. Angélique is an inspiring and passionate campaigner for Oxfam and has travelled to various Oxfam projects to help raise awareness.
In 2005, Angélique lobbied world leaders at the Hong Kong meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign. Together with Mexican actor Gael García Bernal and Chinese rock star Anthony Wong, she presented Oxfam's Big Noise petition – 18 million signatures calling for fair trade rules – to the Director General of the WTO, Pascal Lamy.
Angélique visited the Wajir district of northern Kenya in 2006, a region ravaged by drought and witnessed Oxfam's emergency work in action, helping to raise awareness about the crisis in the Horn of Africa.
In 2007, the singer travelled with Oxfam to the eastern part of Chad, a highly insecure part of the country which borders on the war-torn region of Darfur in Sudan. She called on world leaders to use all diplomatic means to establish an immediate ceasefire in the neighboring Darfur region.
A dynamic and dedicated advocate for the poor, Angélique has taken part in a wide range of activities on behalf of Oxfam. She has attended high level meetings with the president of Chad, the president of Benin, the president of Kenya, the French foreign minister and the UN Secretariat. She has spoken and performed at public events, including concerts in New York and South Africa for the Control Arms campaign, and Berlin for the G8 concert.
In 2008, Angélique sang on the ‘In my Name' song with Will.i.am from The Black Eyed Peas, calling on world leaders to deliver their promises to the worlds' poorest citizens and meet the Millennium Development Goals. She appeared in the video and attended the launch at the UN. YouTube views for ‘In my Name' have reached over 1.5 million. She has also donated profits to Oxfam from video downloads of her single ‘Gimme Shelter'.
In December 2009, Angélique attended the Copenhagen Climate Conference. She spoke in front of over 20,000 people and handed over a petition to Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Angélique is one of Oxfam's ‘Sisters on the Planet', a campaigning group highlighting the disproportionate impact that climate change is having on poor people and women in particular. She is a major motivating force for women's issues around the world.
Video: Angélique supports the GROW campaign
Having grown up in Benin in West Africa where more than one third of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition, Angélique is supporting Oxfam's GROW campaign:
"Oxfam is a feisty campaigning organization," says Kidjo. "I support them not just because of their amazing humanitarian work in countries like Chad, but also because they campaign and tackle the root reasons why people are poor."
In 2008, she received Benin's Commander of National Order of Merit for loyal services to the nation. Multi-lingual, motivational and an indomitable campaigner, Angélique has proved to be an inspiration to those who work with her.