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Joel Madden, newly appointed UNICEF ambassador, and his partner Nicole Richie were on hand Saturday night to pull the switch that will officially kick off the holiday season with the 2008 Snowflake lighting, inside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.

The United Nations Children’s Fund provides worldwide funding for childhood immunizations, fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS, as well as education for young girls.

The event kicks off the holiday season in large cities across the country and is intended to act as a beacon of hope, peace and compassion. Rihanna will preside over a similar lighting ceremony for UNICEF in NYC.

Joel and Nicole have a young daughter Harlow, who will be a year old on January 11th.

Photo gallery below.

Photos: WENN