At the launch of its philanthropic commitment program that honours inspirational women, a global Japanese luxury beauty brand introduces a young Syrian education activist as its first award recipient.

Radiance is a key word in the beauty industry and helping you to look radiant is one of the goals that many skincare brands aspire towards.

On top of this goal, Cle de Peau Beaute – a global Japanese luxury brand from Shiseido Cosmetics –  is taking radiance up a notch. At the recent global launch in Tokyo, the brand announced the roll-out of the Cle de Peau Beaute Power of Radiance Program –  an inaugural event that was hosted by Cle de Peau Beaute’s Global ambassador Felicity Jones.

The launch event introduced Cle de Peau Beaute Power of Radiance Program’s first award recipient, Muzoon Almellehan, a 20-year-old Syrian education activist and the first person with refugee status to be appointed as Unicef’s newest and youngest Goodwill ambassador in June 2017.

The event was supported by American journalist and activist for women’s rights, Cindi Leive; Japanese film director known for being the youngest individual to win the Camera d’Or and the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, Naomi Kawase and award-winning Singaporean television host, actress and motivational speaker, Belinda Lee – who all shared their experiences on affecting positive change through a live panel discussion with Muzoon.

Speaking at the UN, Muzoon says “We are able to make a difference in the lives of millions of children around the world when we are serious about it.”

“As CEO of Shiseido Group I’m very excited with this program which honours inspirational women all around the world. It is in line with the brand values of Cle de Peau Beaute, that is creating radiance. Shiseido Group is in the middle of a transformation journey called Vision 2020. It is a strategic plan for our group of becoming a truly global company with our Japanese heritage. Our key strategy is to drive the prestige global business including Cle de Peau Beaute, which I call our crown jewel,” says Masahiko Uotani, president and CEO of Shiseido Company, Limited, at the launch.

“The Cle de Peau Beaute Power of Radiance Program is a multi-year philanthropic commitment that aims to honour inspiring women around the world, who has tirelessly promoted women’ and girls’ education,” says Yukari Suzuki, Cle de Peau Beaute chief brand officer.

The Program will select an Award Recipient annually who will receive a grant – an amount of which the brand declined to reveal – which would be donated to a charity of her choice, in support of educational initiatives for women and girls.

The grant will be funded from global sales of Cle de Peau Beaute’s beauty range. “With this undertaking, Cle de Peau Beaute aims to empower women and children on learning and gaining knowledge,” Yukari explains.

The brand believes in this cause because better educated women tend to be healthier, participate more in the formal labour market, earn higher incomes, have fewer children, marry at a later age and should they choose to become mothers, enable better health care and education for their children.

All these factors can help lift households, communities and nations out of poverty. Along with her family, Muzoon fled the conflict in Syria in 2013, living as a refugee for three years in Jordan before they resettled in the United Kingdom.

“Muzoon is the perfect embodiment of someone whose beauty is radiating from within and around her, and this is what we think is true beauty. I mean, she is an incredible person,” says Yukari.

“I thank everyone for listening to my story on the importance of education and would especially like to thank Cle de Peau Beaute for this amazing award. This award means so much and is such a great motivation for me. This will help so many other children by giving them the opportunity to education and to live a normal life, so on behalf of UNICEF, for which I am the goodwill ambassador, we are so grateful,” says Muzoon.

When Muzoon left Syria in 2013 she had to leave everything behind. “My father told me to only take the most important thing to me. I chose my school books. They were heavy but I carried them with me all the way from Syria to Jordan. Education taught me to keep going and to fight for what I wanted. With education, we can be successful, without it I cannot achieve my dreams and I cannot be independant,” Muzoon reveals.

“My family, especially my dad, cares about education and have instilled in me the importance of education since young and I learnt that education not only changes me but it can also change the lives of people around me,” Muzoon points out. It was during her 18 months at the Za’atari camp in Jordan that Muzoon saw how many children would miss out on learning and she began advocating for access to education for children, especially for girls.

“When there is a war everything stops. No work. No school, nothing,” Muzoon reminds us. As a Unicef goodwill ambassador Muzoon travelled to Africa and she says, “I saw so many children suffering who don’t have access to education. They don’t have food and can’t go to school as they live in very poor conditions. But Unicef tries to help and gives children hope by providing education in a camp. Through Unicef it changes the lives of many children and that is why I represent Unicef.”

On what empowers her, Muzoon says: “Education and challenges inspire me. When you suffer you can achieve great things. When I look back I am thankful for the challenges I faced as it helped me to be grateful. Sometimes we have so many things but we don’t appreciate them. But, when you lose them, you start to appreciate them.”

Muzoon points out that with this award she is encouraged to continue doing what she is doing as she is representing these children who don’t have a voice.

“We all have bad days but for me I try to think of the positive part of my life. I think of the many people who don’t have what I have. That way I keep myself positive and this keeps me going. I also have the determination to do what I do as long as I like what I do,” Muzoon says.