Charlize Theron was named a U.N. Messenger of Peace yesterday at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The South African-born actress, now an American citizien, will have a special focus on ending violence against women. Theron grew up in an abusive household and at 15, witnessed her mother shoot her father to death in self-defence. Theron has also founded a project to promote HIV/AIDS education for children and their families in her former homeland. “You have used your voice, compassion and special relationship with the public to create a better world,” said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Other U.N. peace envoys include George Clooney, Michael Douglas and Jane Goodall.