Actor Ben Stiller has been supporting the UN Refugee Agency since early 2016. Over the years, he has travelled with UNHCR to meet refugees in Germany, Jordan, Guatemala and Lebanon, supported multiple projects and campaigns to advocate for the rights of refugees and helped to elevate their voices in media and social media. Ben was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador in July 2018.
Ben has a special interest in the Syrian refugee crisis. To date, he has travelled to meet Syrian refugees three times and has shared his platform with refugees to tell their own stories in conversation. In 2019, he visited Lebanon just before the 8th anniversary of the Syrian conflict. He met refugee families struggling to survive, including Yazan, an 8 year old who was selling vegetables on the street to help support his family. Upon returning from Lebanon, Ben called for urgent support for the millions of Syrian refugees living on “a knife’s edge” and raised awareness about their plight. He spent the remainder of 2019 advocating for support for Syrian refugees and helping to raise funds. He travelled to Washington, DC and testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee imploring the US government to “not look away” and to continue providing vital and much needed support.
In addition to field travel, Ben has played a key role in UNHCR projects and campaigns. He has filmed multiple fundraising videos over the years in support of UNHCR emergency appeals including for winter, Covid-19 and Syria. In sum, his content has generated over $3 million (including matched funds) and counting. In early 2020, he travelled to Albany, New York where he participated in a press conference at the State Capitol advocating for support of resettled refugees in New York. In 2019, Ben supported the launch of #EveryoneCounts by using his platform to speak with former refugee and supermodel, Adut Akech, giving attention to her experiences of fleeing from South Sudan.
In 2018, Ben narrated UNHCR’s 1 Billion Miles to Safety Campaign promo video. To mark World Refugee Day that same year, he appeared in a special edition Buzzfeed Tasty film, alongside writer and former Iraqi refugee Ahmed Badr. In support of our #WithRefugees campaign, Ben participated in an advocacy film encouraging the global public to stand in solidarity with refugees, and he spoke at UNHCR’s event in the UN General Assembly Hall ahead of the historic UN Summit on Refugees & Migrants in September 2016. He has also participated in numerous other fundraising, advocacy and media events.
Recent support and field visits