Jesús Vázquez and UNHCR
Spanish TV presenter Jesús Vázquez started collaborating with UNHCR in 2006 and has since used his popularity and public influence to raise funds and awareness for refugees and to promote UNHCR's global operations.
Vázquez made his first field trip with UNHCR in March 2007, when he visited the refugee camps at Dadaab in north-east Kenya. On his return to Spain, he launched a multimedia campaign to raise awareness and funds for hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees in the world's largest refugee camp complex.
Following this initiative, Telecinco featured video messages recorded by Jesús Vázquez about UNHCR and refugees. These helped raise funds and gave important visibility to UNHCR in Spain. Next, Vázquez hosted a series of hour-long documentaries on refugees for the TV channel. The first focused on his trip to Kenya.
In July the following year, Vázquez was appointed a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador weeks before he returned to Dadaab as well as visiting UNHCR-funded projects in Nairobi and a settlement for internally displaced Kenyans in Naivasha, a market town in the Rift Valley. In October 2008, he participated in the Luciano Pavarotti memorial concert in Petra, Jordan, which helped raise funds for UNHCR's work in Afghanistan. Vázquez produced a TV spot to explain and raise visibility about this work.
Working closely with UNHCR's office in Spain, Vázquez has also taken part in fund-raising campaigns, including an annual marathon in Madrid and an art exhibition, "Refugi@rte", that raised money for UNHCR projects in Africa and the Middle East in 2009 and 2010.
In 2011, Vázquez travelled to southern Tunisia to talk to refugees in Choucha camp, which they had reached after fleeing from the unrest in Libya that eventually toppled Muammar Gaddafi. He also met UNHCR staff and discussed the resettlement of refugees with Spanish diplomats. The following year, 80 refugees from Choucha began a new life in Spain.
In June 2012, Vázquez travelled to Colombia to learn more about the plight of internally displaced people. He visited several projects run by UNHCR for thousands of IDPs in the run-down area of Soacha, on the outskirts of the capital, Bogotá. Once again, he recounted his experiences back in Spain before a large TV audience.
The Goodwill Ambassador has supported numerous UNHCR campaigns and events, including the annual World Refugee Day. He uses every opportunity to promote the refugee causes during his own TV shows and media interviews. Vázquez has also backed initiatives with enterprises and government entities aimed at strengthening the integration of refugees and asylum-seekers in Spain.