Waris Dirie and the fight against female circumcision
Waris Dirie: UN Special Ambassador
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Waris Dirie: UN Special Ambassador

So you left the world of modelling...
I didn't really have time to lose with these people. I'd already moved onto other things in my head, in my life. I left fashion behind that day. I'd waited for that moment for a long time but when it came, I was ready to say bye-bye!

It was also at this time that Kofi Annan heard about your story and contacted you about becoming a goodwill ambassador. How did you feel?
In the beginning, I was surprised, sceptical even. But I sensed that the United Nations believed in what I was saying, in what I wanted to do. So off I went. Our collaboration lasted for about two years.

But I felt out of place very quickly, I wasn't in step with this organisation. I struggled to believe that they could change the world. The administration is too big, too weighty... it's too chaotic actually.

And I felt like they weren't putting the fight against female mutilations amongst their priorities. So after a certain time, I started to ask myself what I was doing with them. What am I there for? To go to parties and drink cocktails? For me, female mutilations are extremely serious, for them that wasn't the case, at least not in the way I had expected. So I left and created my own organisation.

© Wenn/Sipa

Women in Focus Editor
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