UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today announced the appointment of internationally acclaimed actress and philanthropist Kristin Davis as its Goodwill Ambassador.

Three years ago, Davis started her journey with UNHCR by travelling to Northern Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, meeting South Sudanese refugees and hearing their stories. Moved by refugee accounts, Davis wrote about her trip.

“Despite losing so much, despite having their lives re-set to zero, they still want to achieve – for their families, for their community, for their country. It seems to me that the very least that each one of us can give to refugees across the world – but particularly those in our own schools, in our own communities, in our own countries – is the promise of honouring these words: ’You are welcome here. You are safe now. We are here to help you.”

Davis championed UNHCR’s work through media interviews and via her social media channels. She has also supported key UNHCR advocacy and fundraising events and campaigns – including traveling to Australia in 2016 to help raise funds for women victims of sexual violence in DR Congo.

Most recently, last month, Davis visited resettled refugee families in Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Those were emotional visits as Davis was reconnecting with refugees she had first met while in Rwanda with UNHCR, including Catherine, a Congolese refugee mother and her disabled daughter Makena.

“The families I met in Rwanda arrived into the US during a time when refugee resettlement was in the news daily. We were worried that something would, at the last minute, block their long journey to safety. Luckily they were able to make it to the US and reunite with their family members,” Davis said. “My experience with these families has shown me how a suspension of resettlement would seriously affect refugees who are victims of conflict and persecution. Without resettlement, women like Catherine and her disabled daughter would have their dreams put on hold of finding safety and rebuilding their lives.”

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, welcomed Kristin Davis as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR. “Kristin’s advocacy helps us humanize the refugee issue and press the case for a more positive narrative about refugees; both their need for protection and support but also their contribution to communities,” UNHCR’s Grandi said.

“This appointment builds on years of dedicated support from Kristin and at a time of increased need to support refugees, with conflicts forcing thousands to flee their homes every day,” he added.

Accepting her new role, Davis said: “I am delighted to be part of this incredible organization and my latest trip came at a time of great concern for the refugee community. Over 65 million people around the world are now displaced and my hope is that by sharing these stories and meeting people as individuals and not numbers will help bridge understanding and compassion.”

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