Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Celebrated singer Runa Laila has been made new SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS for the next two years.
She is the first Bangladeshi to become the goodwill ambassador of the SAARC along with two others from India and Pakistan.
Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dipu Moni handed over the formal letter from the SAARC secretary general to Runa Laila when she called on her at the foreign ministry in the capital Dhaka on Tuesday afternoon.
“The SAARC goodwill ambassador programme was first conceived in 2008 with the purpose of engaging regionally well-known personalities to create greater awareness about HIV/AIDS in South Asia and for facilitating the implementation of SAARC Regional Strategy and its Work Plan on HIV/AIDS,” a foreign ministry statement said. 
Two other new goodwill ambassadors are leading Bollywood Actor Ajay Devgan and Pakistan’s first Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
The SAARC Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS Programme has been initiated to raise awareness and advocate greater support to the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Shabana Azmi, an Indian actress and social activist, and Sanath Teran Jayasuriya, Sri Lankan cricketer, have earlier served as SAARC goodwill ambassadors for HIV and AIDS for the period of 2008-2010.
They make interactions with children and people affected by HIV and AIDS and plea to the public to remove the social stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.
BBN/SSR/AD-23Apr13-8:20 pm (BST)