The World Health Organization (WHO) has unveiled internationally acclaimed artists Renée Fleming and Pretty Yende as Goodwill Ambassadors for Arts and Health.
This prestigious announcement was made as part of WHO’s 75th Anniversary commemoration during the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly on 22 May 2023.
“Renée Fleming, one of the most celebrated singers of our time, and Pretty Yende, an extraordinary soprano known for her dazzling performances, have been selected for their artistic achievement and advocacy for improved health outcomes through creative means,” said WHO.
On 8 April 2023, Fleming and Yende performed for a special concert titled Healing Arts, dedicated to WHO’s 75th anniversary in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, remarked: “WHO is honoured to have Renée Fleming and Pretty Yende join as Goodwill Ambassadors for Arts and Health. Their unparalleled talent, dedication to the arts, and commitment to advancing health and well-being make them ideal ambassadors for this important cause.”
“Their involvement will inspire individuals, communities and policy-makers to recognize and harness the transformative power of the arts in the pursuit of better health for all,” he added.
Fleming brings a wealth of expertise to her new role. She has captivated audiences worldwide with her luminous soprano voice and compelling artistry. Beyond her remarkable vocal talent, Fleming has been a fervent advocate for research at the intersection of the arts and health.
Her presentations worldwide with scientists and practitioners, her leading role in major initiatives, and her association with WHO demonstrate her commitment to harnessing the transformative power of the arts to better society.
“I am elated that the preeminent global health agency is recognizing the powerful impact of the arts in health, and I am deeply honoured to be entrusted to share this message,” said Fleming.
“Every day, advances in neuroscience and clinical research reveal more about the benefits of arts therapies, experiences, and education, with implications for well-being throughout the human life span. However, we have only just begun to realize the amazing potential of this work, and I look forward to expanding awareness and access as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador,” she underscored.
Pretty Yende has mesmerized audiences with her exquisite voice and stunning performances. As a soprano with a deep understanding of the power of music, she has demonstrated her commitment to using her talent to improve society.
“I am delighted to be appointed a WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Arts and Health. I hope to help establish a foundation for continued investigation into the arts being a fundamental ingredient in improving our physical, mental, and social well-being.
“I am grateful to WHO for paving the way for new research and providing their global platform to spread the word and generate research on the connection of arts and health,” Yende said, adding that she looks forward to all the possibilities of doing essential work in her native South Africa and globally “for a better and healthier tomorrow.”
The appointments of Fleming and Yende highlight the profound link between arts and health. Engagement in creative activities, such as music, art, and dance, positively impacts physical, mental health, social well-being, and overall quality of life.
Through their roles as Goodwill Ambassadors, Fleming and Yende will promote the integration of arts into health-care systems, advocate for access to creative arts therapies, and champion the importance of artistic expression in improving health outcomes globally, WHO stated.