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UNHCR wins prestigious Webby Award for YouTube series challenging perceptions about refugees

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UNHCR wins prestigious Webby Award for YouTube series challenging perceptions about refugees

23 April 2024
Three Stories of Hope Away From Home || We Were Here #worldrefugeeday

"We Were Here" is an original documentary series produced by UNHCR and YouTube that seeks to challenge stereotypes about refugees by focussing on the shared passions that unite us.

GENEVA – We Were Here, a three-part video series produced in partnership by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, and YouTube to challenge perceptions about refugees, has won the people’s choice award in the documentary category of the Webby Awards.

The series pairs popular content creators with refugees in Jordan, Germany and Uganda who share the same passions for music, food, and innovation.  

The announcement today of the winners of the 28th Annual Webby Awards, which celebrate the best of the internet, acknowledges UNHCR’s commitment to challenging stereotypes and misperceptions about refugees and highlights the importance of making sure refugees have opportunities to develop their skills and pursue their passions while in exile.

“Winning the People’s Voice Webby Award is a significant recognition for the refugees we serve around the world,” said Dominique Hyde, Director of External Relations, UNHCR.

“Too often we see narratives that seek to divide us, but by focusing on what unites us, the passions that drive us all, we are reminded of our universal and basic need for protection. Worldwide, more than 1 in 73 people have been forced to flee their homes. They deserve to be seen and heard. We are incredibly grateful to the refugee creators who have allowed us to share their stories and to all the partners who supported this initiative. This is truly a collective win.”

“YouTube is the place where people come together and find their voice. The video series 'We Were Here'  talks about challenging stereotypes and perceptions about refugees by shining a light on what unites us – our shared passions. We're proud that YouTube could play a role in sharing these powerful stories with the world,” said Camilla Hill, YouTube Marketing Director.

In an episode focusing on music as an expression of belonging and identity, English DJ and producer, Jax Jones, meets the female Ukrainian hip-hop trio, For Sho, for a studio recording session. The episode sees the artists collaborate on a track that explores life in exile from the war in Ukraine and their new lives in Germany.  

Welsh chef and vegan entrepreneur, Gaz Oakley, also meets Congolese permaculture expert, Bemeriki, and they discover a shared approach to growing food. When his family fled Congo for Uganda, his grandmother took with her seeds so that she could grow food for the family.  Here is where his love for cultivation began.

In Jordan, Swedish American inventor and innovator, Simone Giertz, meets Syrian toymaker Mohammad at his workshop, exploring the novel materials and mechanisms he uses and working together to create a remote-controlled helicopter.   

The series was created and produced in partnership with Uncommon Creative Studio and Lief, award-winning multi-disciplinary creatives, to mark last year’s World Refugee Day, on 20 June 2023. The team includes renowned director Alma Har’el as executive producer, Oscar-nominated director Laura Checkoway, internationally acclaimed Jordanian director Mahmoud Al Massad, and British-Ghanaian rising star Curtis Essel. The film scores were overseen by music supervisor Bridget Samuels.

Notes to editors

Watch the 'We Were Here' series on YouTube.


UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. UNHCR delivers life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, help to safeguard fundamental human rights, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. We also work to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality.

About YouTube

Launched in May 2005, YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch, and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small. YouTube is a Google company.