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Cate Blanchett and Ben Stiller among stars joining UNHCR’s campaign for solidarity with refugees

Cate Blanchett speaking with Syrian refugee

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett with Syrian refugee and business woman Razan Alsous. © UNHCR/Caroline Irby

As the first-ever Global Refugee Forum begins, UNHCR social media campaign calls for everyone to play a role in helping refugees

By UNHCR staff in Geneva, Switzerland

A new social media campaign launched today by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, celebrates the strength, resilience and skills that refugees can bring to their new communities.


The social campaign, which went live as the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) gets under way today, is backed by Goodwill Ambassadors, high-profile supporters, refugee advocates and mayors across the globe who are sharing the positive stories and voices of refugees on their social media channels, building a momentum of action and solidarity. The campaign rallies support behind the core message that “everyone has a role to play” in helping refugees and highlights how we can all help to counter xenophobia, intolerance and fear and empower refugees to rebuild their futures.

The campaign kicks off with a powerful multi-voice video in which refugees are joined by celebrities and advocates to rally support around the core message of the GRF – that everyone has a role to play in helping refugees. The video features UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors and celebrity supporters including Ben Stiller, Nomzamo Mbatha, Adut Akech, Cate Blanchett, MIYAVI, Jung Woo-sung, Barbara Hendricks, Yusra Mardini, Neil Gaiman, Praya Lundberg, David Morrissey, Mercy Masika, Alfonso Herrera, Mahira Khan, Nitin Sawhney, Maya Ghazal, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Danny Ocean, Riz Ahmed, Raghad Haddad, Amanda Palmer, Benedict Cumberbatch, JJ Bola, Emi Mahmoud, Jesus Vasquez and others.

The short video’s central message is: ‘Xenophobia, negative stereotyping and fear are on the rise. All around us. Getting louder and louder and louder. Something needs to change. It is time to see refugees differently, to see that refugees, like everyone – when given the chance and the opportunity – can reach their potential, have a positive impact and give back.’

“At the start of the Global Refugee Forum today, we stand at a pivotal moment in history. UNHCR is urgently calling for increased commitment and support that will help every refugee – and the communities they are living in – to not just survive, but to thrive,” said UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett.

“Communities themselves stand to benefit by providing opportunities for refugees. Whilst we look to global leaders meeting in Geneva this week to renew and remake commitments, everyone has a role to play in supporting refugees; to access education, employment and safe living conditions. Everyone counts, every voice, every action – however small – can make a difference. We all have a positive part to play. Let’s seize this opportunity.”

The social media campaign is running across major social media platforms. UNHCR is also driving activity via its @refugees TikTok account by inviting users of the short-form video platform to create and share content as part of the bespoke hashtag ‘challenge’, #EveryoneCounts.

The social media activations lead people to UNHCR’s new personality-style quiz which gives users the opportunity to experience some of the difficult choices decision-makers have to make when responding to refugee crises. The quiz results assign users with a specific role – ‘activist’, ‘entrepreneur’ or ‘community builder’ – that they can play in supporting refugees. Quiz-takers are given suggestions of real-life actions they could take and encouraged to post their result on social media using a custom set of Instagram GIPHY stickers.

“It is so inspiring to find people from across the globe engaged, enthused and calling for commitments and actions to support refugees and communities hosting them,” said Dominique Hyde, UNHCR Director of External Relations.

“UNHCR works all over the world, day in day out to protect and assist refugees. But we simply cannot do this alone. We need everyone to play their part, to take action for refugees, to speak out, to challenge xenophobia and make their voices heard.”

UNHCR is co-hosting the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) this week from 16 to 18 December in Geneva, aimed at taking stock and generating long-term help for refugees and the communities hosting them. More than 70 million people worldwide have been driven from their homes – 25 million of these are refugees, having fled across international borders and being unable to go home.

Government and business leaders, civil society and NGOs are among those attending. Focusing on education, jobs, protection, energy and solutions, the Forum will bring together humanitarian and development actors in an effort to boost support – for refugees and host communities.

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Originally published on UNHCR on 16 December 2019