Goodwill Ambassadors and celebrity friends
The UN refugee agency is lucky to be able to call on a small group of friends who use their influence and popularity to help spread awareness about UNHCR's work, raise funds for its operations and lobby governments. They are the refugees' messengers of hope and complement the work of UNHCR's most valuable asset - our national and international staff around the world.
UNHCR's high-profile supporters include royalty, actors, artists, authors, models, musicians, photographers and sports stars. Special Envoy Angelina Jolie is the most high-profile and Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks the most experienced with more than quarter of a century of service to the refugee cause.
But they include several others with a wide popular following ranging from Goodwill Ambassadors Julien Clerc, Jesús Vázquez and Osvaldo Laport as well as Goodwill Envoy Khaled Hosseini to Honorary Patrons Yao Chen of China and Kris Aquino of the Philippines, and supporters like Colombian singing star Juanes and former Sudanese refugees, basketball player Luol Deng and supermodel Alek Wek.
Many represent UNHCR in events and focus on refugees in media interviews and some use their influence to lobby governments. By undertaking missions to remote and conflict-ridden places where UNHCR operates, the Goodwill Ambassadors and supporters help remind the world of the refugees' suffering while letting them know that they are not forgotten by the world outside. Without them, UNHCR would have a much harder job.