UNDP and Maria Sharapova: Doubles Partners?

Tennis star Maria Sharapova is teaming with the United Nations Development program to sponsor a scholarship program for Chernobyl-affected youth. From the UN News Center:


18 September 2008 – The tennis star and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador Maria Sharapova announced today that she is donating $210,000 to an initiative that will offer scholarships to youth from regions of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.

Announcing the joint initiative between UNDP and her private foundation, Ms. Sharapova noted her own connection to the issue – she was born in 1987 after her family fled Belarus for Siberia because of concerns about radiation in the wake of the Chernobyl accident.

“It has always been my dream to contribute to the recovery of a region where I have a personal connection,” she said, according to a UNDP press release. “Enabling talented young people to pursue higher education is part of a broader effort to build a brighter future for the region.”

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(photo from Flickr)