UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today appointed prominent Indonesian businessman and philanthropist, Dato Sri Tahir, as its third Eminent Advocate in recognition of his valuable and selfless work on behalf of millions of refugees...At a special ceremony in Abu Dhabi, Tahir said he was delighted and honoured to be named as UNHCR's first Eminent Advocate from Asia.

Dato' Sri Prof. Dr Tahir, MBA

On 18 November 2016, Dato' Sri Prof. Dr Tahir, MBA, was appointed as the first Eminent Advocate for UNHCR in Asia, committing to raising awareness about global refugee issues and engaging other business leaders to support refugees.

Dr Tahir is the founder and chairman of Indonesia’s Mayapada Group and the Tahir Foundation. A self-made entrepreneur, he has over the last three decades built the Mayapada Group, a consortium of businesses in banking, insurance, healthcare, retail, real estate development and media.

As a prominent businessman, Dr Tahir was awarded with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2011. He is also the first Asian to sit on the board of trustees at the University of California, Berkeley.

A generous philanthropist, Dr Tahir is committed to giving back to society and is the first Indonesian signatory of the Buffett-Gates Giving Pledge. His commitment to benefit society and people drives his generous contributions through the Tahir Foundation which has supported multiple initiatives in healthcare and education.

Dr Tahir has been awarded numerous accolades for his notable contributions to society, including the highest state title of "Dato' Sri" from the Sultan of Pahang of Malaysia and the Bintang Jasa Utama by the Indonesian president Joko Widodo, the highest medal of honour of its class.

Dr Tahir has continued to demonstrate his commitment to helping people in need through advocacy and fundraising for UNHCR. In 2016, he generously donated US$2 million to UNHCR’s first global fundraising campaign, Nobody Left Outside, which calls on leaders in the private sector to raise funds to provide adequate shelter for 2 million refugees by 2018.  

After visiting Syrian refugees in October 2016 in Jordan, Dr Tahir donated US$1 million to UNHCR's Cash Assistance Programme in the country, thus securing for one year 667 Syrian refugee families in the country. Dr Tahir also sponsored a fundraising concert "Voices for Refugees" in which he expressed his concern for refugees and reiterated his support for UNHCR. The concert was televised nationally on 1 October 2016 and was watched by 1.78 million people across Indonesia.

At a ceremony in Abu Dhabi where Dr Tahir was awarded the Eminent Advocate for UNHCR by the High Commissioner, Dr Tahir pledged a further US$10 million to support the education of youth in the MENA region, with specific interest in secondary education of refugees in Jordan.

In Asia, no other individual has donated so much to UNHCR. In addition to his role as Eminent Advocate, Dr Tahir has been named Champion of the Global Shelter Coalition. This Coalition is a group of philanthropist peers who aim to call on other private sector leaders to join forces with UNHCR and work together to provide and improve shelter solutions for refugees around the world.