Newly appointed UNICEF Ambassador Aria Mia Loberti

6 Questions With UNICEF Ambassador Aria Mia Loberti

Advocate, actress and Fulbright Scholar Aria Mia Loberti has earned a new title: UNICEF Ambassador. We sat down with Loberti to discuss her new role, including the experiences that led her to this point in her career and what she hopes to achieve for the world’s children. 

As a child, Aria Mia Loberti learned to advocate for herself at school and in her community. She earned a triple-major undergraduate degree from the University of Rhode Island and a graduate degree as a Fulbright Scholar from Royal Holloway, University of London.

While working toward her doctoral degree in ancient rhetoric in the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, Loberti auditioned for and won the lead role of Marie-Laure LeBlanc, a blind teenager in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, in the 2023 Netflix adaptation of Anthony Doerr's 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "All the Light We Cannot See." 

She was first introduced to UNICEF by her parents when she was just 4 years old.

Q: Congratulations on the launch of your acting career and being named a UNICEF Ambassador! What does this new role mean to you? 

ARIA MIA LOBERTI I never exactly set out to be an actress. I did, however, always aspire to work with UNICEF. All I’ve ever really wanted to achieve is to leave people and places better than I found them, and I think UNICEF does that beautifully. 

My parents read me a picture book about Audrey Hepburn and how she used her voice to change lives with UNICEF. I always remembered it vividly and always wanted to be involved.

UNICEF Ambassador Aria Mia Loberti hugs children in a learning space decorated with children's artwork in Kosovo.
Children welcomed Aria Mia Loberti to a UNICEF early childhood learning space during a visit to Kosovo in April 2023. © Arben Llapashtica for UNICEF 

Q: As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador from 1988 to 1993, Audrey Hepburn set a high standard for her compassion, humanitarianism and commitment to UNICEF and the world's children. What do you hope to accomplish as an Ambassador? 

ARIA MIA LOBERTI I want to be the role model I wanted to look up to when I was a little girl. 

I’m most looking forward to using my voice to create a sense of power, ease and peacefulness in other young people who want to make change. I want to create a safe space where young activists can feel comfortable expressing themselves and find the resources they need to make the changes they want.

Q: You traveled to Kosovo, where you witnessed UNICEF’s program work in action, and met with youth climate activists who are speaking out about environmental pollution in their community. What did you learn? 

ARIA MIA LOBERTI One of the things that my time in Kosovo taught me, in addition to the power of youth activist voice, is that climate change is an immediate issue. It’s something you can see and breathe and feel in your body. It’s a frightening illustration of how important it is for us to take climate action now.

The young people I met in Kosovo are changing the definition of what it means to be a climate activist. The idea of a “climate activist” is shifting. Before, it may have been a politician; Now, it’s a vocal young person.

I would love for my generation to be more comfortable addressing leaders. I recognize this is a privilege we have in the U.S. that doesn’t exist everywhere. We should take advantage of this privilege to make change and make a meaningful difference here and across the globe.

We can each take small steps … Those are the ripples that make change — but we need to ensure we’re making waves, too. We need to urge our leaders to take action.

In Kosovo, UNICEF Ambassador Aria Mia Loberti, center, in dark glasses and UNICEF logo shirt, meets with young climate activists speaking out about environmental pollution in their community.
Near a coal-fired power plant in Kosovo, Aria Mia Loberti, center, met with young activists who are raising awareness about the harmful effects of environmental pollution in their community. © Arben Llapashtica for UNICEF 

Q: As an activist, what advice do you have for preserving mental health amid increasingly frequent and severe global crises and societal challenges? 

ARIA MIA LOBERTI We don’t always have to be optimistic, but we can still take time to make change and to feel grounded in that change.

I would love for the wider community, but especially younger people — my generation and the generation after mine — to fully appreciate the mental health journey they’re on and where they are on their journey. 

Only good can come from sharing our mental health stories with one another and recognizing the human in one another.

Wearing a UNICEF logo T shirt, Aria Mia Loberti smiles while listening to UNICEF staff and partners introduce children’s educational programming in Kosovo.
"All I've ever really wanted to achieve is to leave people and places better than I found them, and I think UNICEF does that beautifully," says UNICEF Ambassador Aria Mia Loberti. © Arben Llapashtica for UNICEF 

Q: The world can call you many things — an activist, actress, scholar, Ambassador — but how do you define yourself? 

ARIA MIA LOBERTI I’m still working on that, but there’s a line in "Hamilton" that I think perfectly sums up what I want: “Legacy? What is a legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see."  

I want to make sure that I’m not only striving for immediate change but that I’m leaving space for the seeds I plant to grow and for more people to walk through them. 

I don’t know exactly how I want to be defined, but I very much want to ensure that whatever I’m doing, I’m staying present, looking to the future intelligently and grounded in kindness.

Q: Any final thoughts?

ARIA MIA LOBERTI So many of us are waiting for a better version of ourselves to come along or for someone else to take action, but you are enough as you are now. The world needs you as you are, right now.

If you feel an urge to speak out and if you feel a sense of courage or fortitude within you, make sure you do not lose it. 

You can join Aria in taking action for the world’s children — right now. Your support makes a meaningful difference. Please donate. 

Please Donate


TOP PHOTO: Newly appointed UNICEF Ambassador Aria Mia Loberti traveled to Kosovo in 2023 to learn more about UNICEF's education and health programming, and to meet with young climate activists. "I’m most looking forward to using my voice to create a sense of power, ease and peacefulness in other young people who want to make change," she says. © Arben Llapashtica for UNICEF