Of Bhutan, happiness and development!

New Delhi: Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn, Bangladeshi singer Runa Laila and Oscar-winning Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy have been named as SAARC Goodwill Ambassadors for HIV/AIDS.

A meeting of the selection committee was held recently at the SAARC Secretariat and of the 10 nominations received from the member states, the three celebrities were nominated.

The selections were based on criteria of regional stature and eminence; appeal to the target audience; relevance in delivery of message; likely commitment of the candidate and innovative ways that could be utilised in promoting advocacy and awareness in combating HIV/AIDS.

The SAARC goodwill ambassador for HIV/ AIDS programme commenced in January 2009 with actress Shabana Azmi its first mascot.

"SAARC Goodwill Ambassador programmes have been very effective for generating advocacy and awareness relating to HIV/AIDS in the region. Shabana Azmi during her tenure did tremendous jobs on advocacy and awareness in Nepal and Bhutan.

"This year, Runa Laila (Bangladesh), Ajay Devgn (India) and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Pakistan) have been selected goodwill ambassadors for advocacy and awareness on HIV/AIDS in SAARC member states," said Kashi Kant Jha, director of SAARC Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Centre (STAC).