Stroumboulopoulos accepts role as UN food ambassador

George Strouboulopoulos talks to reporters and fans backstage at his CBC TV show Tuesday night. Photo – Melanie Schawill. (STROUMBO_UNAMBASSADOR_E)

George Stroumboulopoulos has added another credit to his career, but it has nothing to do with the media.

The former MuchMusic VJ and late-night host of CBC TV’s George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, revealed on his show tonight that he’s been selected by the United Nations as the first Canadian ambassador for the UN’s World Food Program.

The significance of this new role was not lost on Stroumboulopoulos, who has set his sights first on Pakistan, a nation he recently visited. While there he said, in an interview on the set of his television show, that he had a chance to see first-hand how impoverished Pakistan is.

“I think this appointment is going to be a really great way for me and Canadians to be able to connect with the people of Pakistan,” Stroumboulopoulos said. “Most people don’t really realize how bad things are over there right now.”

Stephen Lewis, former Canadian ambassador to the UN and recent guest on Stroumboulopoulos’s program, said that the TV host will be an important advocate for the WFP in Canada.

“We need storytellers and George brings a voice,” Lewis said. “He’s not a self-indulgent celebrity and I believe he’s going to make an impact.”

Despite the high profile nature of the appointment, Stroumboulopoulos said he doesn’t consider the role as a means to enhance his celebrity.

“Honestly I don’t really care why people do these things, as long as they’re doing it,” he said. “If something positive can come out of it, even if it’s for someone’s self interest, then let them do it. But personally, that’s not my motivation for wanting to do this.”

Though his career thus far has been almost exclusively entertainment and broadcasting, Stroumboulopoulos said he has a passion for humanitarian work.

“If I didn’t have a TV show, this is what I would have been doing,” he said. “I think it’s really important that we do things that are close to us.”