Person wearing a blue UNHC-labeled vest is shaking hands with a kid. The kid is sitting amongst other kids.

Theo James meets Syrian refugee children at a community centre in Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp in July 2023. © UNHCR/Andy Hall

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today announced the appointment of the British actor Theo James as its newest global Goodwill Ambassador.

Accepting his new role, James said: “I am very proud to join UNHCR as a Goodwill Ambassador. The experience of my own family has given me an understanding of the sacrifices and struggles that refugees face. During the Second World War, my grandfather was forced to flee on a small boat from Greece to Syria, and his courage and resilience has inspired me to help make a difference to the lives of displaced people.”

A producer and star of dramas like The Gentlemen and The White Lotus, James has been supporting the work of UNHCR since 2016. He has travelled to meet asylum-seekers and refugees in Greece, France and Jordan and has helped raise awareness of the importance of securing access to mental health services for refugees.

Dominique Hyde, UNHCR’s Director of External Relations, said: “I am delighted to welcome Theo James as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, at a time when more people than ever have been forced to flee their homes. As a long-standing supporter, he has shown genuine commitment and empathy towards refugees and has provided a vital contribution towards our advocacy and fundraising work.”

“No one chooses to become a refugee,” James added, reflecting on his experiences meeting families who have fled war. “But we can all choose how to respond to people in need of sanctuary, whose lives depend upon it. Refugees arrive in new countries with skills, qualifications and ideas, they just need the chance to contribute. My grandfather was welcomed and offered shelter by the people of Syria, which enabled him to rebuild his life as a doctor and give something back. That’s why it is important for me to stand in solidarity with refugees who have fled conflicts today, and to help share their stories.”

“They need our support now more than ever.”

This week, UNHCR published its annual figures on global forced displacement, which found that the number of people uprooted from their homes now stands at 120 million.


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