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Liberian soccer star George Weah was named African, European and World Player of the Year in 1995 and has since become a prominent humanitarian and politician.
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Named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1997, he took part in educational initiatives to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and to rehabilitate child soldiers with vocational training.
Realizing the importance of soccer as a stabilizing force in Liberia, Weah spent an estimated $2 million of his own money on travel, equipment and salary expenses for the national team, the Lone Stars. Serving as player-manager,
he led the Lone Stars on an impressive run through the 2002 World Cup qualifying rounds, but the team fell just short of invitation to soccer's ultimate tournament.
Weah ran for Liberia's presidency as a member of the Congress for Democratic Change in 2005, but lost in a run-off to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Unity Party. In 2011, he was again on the CDC ticket, this time as vice president, but Sirleaf remained in office.
Despite the political setbacks, Weah remains an immensely influential and popular figure in his home country. Since June 2010, he has served as an ambassador for 1 Goal, a FIFA-supported campaign that aims to provide educational opportunities for disadvantaged children. In December 2012, Weah announced that he had agreed to represent Sirleaf's administration as a peace ambassador.
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