AMSTERDAM, May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU), a leader in global payment services and Global Partner of the UEFA Europa League, and the Western Union Foundation, today announced they will collaborate with UNICEF, the world's leading international children's organization. Western Union's PASS Initiative turns every successful pass in the UEFA Europa League competition into funding that supports education for young people around the world.
The PASS initiative is fronted by former international football star Patrick Vieira. It started during the Group Stage of the UEFA Europa League Season 2012/13, which kicked off on September 20, 2012. The season concludes May 15, 2013 with the UEFA Europa League Final 2013 between Chelsea FC and SL Benfica at the Amsterdam ArenA.The PASS initiative is expected to run for the three years of Western Union's sponsorship of the UEFA Europa League until 2015. Through the program, Western Union is committed to supporting education in select countries around the world. The collaboration with UNICEF will initially focus on education programs in Nigeria, Jamaica and Turkey. Funding will support UNICEF projects including teacher training and curriculum development; financial literacy, vocational and life skills training for adolescents; school improvements; and more. The Western Union Foundation's grant will enable UNICEF to scale these interventions, aiming to provide access to one million days of education for children. On the evening of the UEFA Europa League Final 2013, Chelsea FC and Nigeria striker Victor Moses, who's so far contributed 161 passes, said: "Western Union's PASS initiative has done a great job in helping bring education to even the most under privileged countries, and I've been honored to be a part of such a fantastic campaign. The UEFA Europa League is a massive tournament and we're all looking forward to what should be a great final" "We are grateful for Western Union's continued support of UNICEF. This expanded commitment to education will help UNICEF invest in training teachers, and provide vocational and life skills guidance to improve young people's chances of completing school and successfully transition into the workplace as adults," said Tim Hunter, International Fundraising Director at UNICEF. "We are proud to work with Western Union to help more children access a quality education and transform their lives." "Moving money for better is at the heart of what we do, and education is one of the main reasons our customers send money," said Diane Scott, Executive Vice President, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Western Union, and a member of the Western Union Foundation Board of Directors. " PASS harnesses the power of football to raise awareness of unmet educational needs, and with UNICEF we can impact the lives of secondary school students around the world." "Where I come from, opportunities for a quality education are rare," explained Vieira the former AS Cannes, AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Juventus FC, FC Internazionale Milano, Manchester City FC and French international player. Vieira is currently football development executive at Manchester City FC. "Football was my ticket to success, but for the vast majority of young people, education is the key that allows them to become whatever they want to be. That's why I support this campaign. It will benefit students, teachers and schools in places like Senegal where I was born and lived until moving to France at the age of eight." In support of PASS, Western Union has been carrying out a marketing and communications program for its customers and UEFA Europa League fans from around the world. Fans can learn more at http://www.wu-pass.org or join the conversation on Twitter @wu_pass. About Western Union