NEW YORK/BRUSSELS/LONDON/JOHANNESBURG - During the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 18 July, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced the designation of South African Rugby Union Captain Siya Kolisi as a Global Advocate for Spotlight Initiative — the global partnership between European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.

As a UN Global Advocate, Mr. Kolisi will lend his name, time, influence and support toward ending violence against women and girls around the world, including by calling on men and boys to take responsibility and become part of the solution.

“Gender inequality harms everyone because it prevents us from benefiting from the intelligence and experience of all of humanity,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “I am pleased to announce that South Africa’s Siya Kolisi is our new global champion for the United Nations - European Union Spotlight Initiative, engaging other men in fighting the global scourge of violence against women and girls.”

“I am committed to using my time and my platform to bring about positive change for not only women and girls in South Africa but all around the world,” said Mr. Kolisi. “This is of particular importance to me as I witnessed the devastation gender-based violence caused during periods of my own childhood.”

“As men, we need to re-educate ourselves and focus on nurturing educated sons, as well as empowered daughters. As a father of two girls and two boys, I have a responsibility to change the narrative and show that everyone has a voice, and everyone deserves to be treated equally and with respect. I’m honoured to have partnered with the UN Secretary-General and Spotlight Initiative to help develop a sustainable infrastructure that combats the issue of gender-based violence once and for all.”

Siya Kolisi was named captain of the South African National Rugby Team, the Springboks, in 2018, making him the first black test player to captain the team in its 129-year history. In 2019, he led his country to victory in the World Cup finals against England, securing his position on the national and international stage and instilling pride in South Africans from all walks of life.

Mr. Kolisi’s partnership with Spotlight Initiative, secured via Roc Nation Sports, will include activities that raise awareness of violence against women and girls, and the role men must play in ending violence for good. It comes at a time when violence against women and girls is spiking globally in response to lockdowns to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“As a company that is driven by social conscience, we strongly support our client ambition in the philanthropic space, providing the most effective tools and resources available,” said Michael Yormark, President of Roc Nation Sports International. “In the case of Siya, Spotlight Initiative is a great global platform to partner alongside to make real positive change, on a subject he is very passionate about. We are thrilled to be on this journey with Siya and witness first-hand the impact that he and Spotlight Initiative can have on calling for unity and influencing change.” 

Mr. Kolisi’s appointment became effective on 1 July 2020 for an initial two-year period.

BACKGROUND

Spotlight Initiative 
The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.
It is the world’s largest targeted effort to end all forms of violence against women and girls, with programmes in more than 26 countries around the world.
Launched with a seed funding commitment of €500 million from the European Union, it represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality as a precondition and driver for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Spotlight Initiative is responding to all forms of violence against women and girls, with a particular focus on domestic and family violence, sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, femicide, trafficking in human beings and sexual and economic (labour) exploitation.

Kolisi Foundation
In March 2020, Mr. Kolisi and his wife Rachel Kolisi founded the Kolisi Foundation to alleviate extreme poverty, mentor underprivileged youth and promote equality. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the foundation has delivered essential supplies to families experiencing food insecurity and provided hygiene products to front-line health workers.

Roc Nation
Roc Nation, founded in 2008 by Shawn ‘JAY-Z’ Carter, has grown into the world’s preeminent entertainment company. Roc Nation works in every aspect of modern entertainment, with recording artists, producers, songwriters and more. Roc Nation’s client list includes some of the world’s most recognizable names: from Rihanna and J. Cole to Buju Banton and Casanova. Roc Nation is a full-service organization, supporting a diverse roster of talent via artist management, music publishing, touring, production, strategic brand development and beyond. Roc Nation Sports was founded in 2013, bringing the organization’s full-service approach to athletes across the NFL, NBA, MLB, and international football including Todd Gurley, Kyrie Irving, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Robinson Cano, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Siya Kolisi and more.

For media enquiries contact:

Koye Adeboye
Head of Communications
Spotlight Initiative 
koye.adeboye@un.org

Kelly Hogarth
Director of Brand Strategy & Business Communications
Roc Nation Sports International
khogarth@rocnation.com