“Refugee stories are different – different continents, languages, religions, cultures. But one thing they have in common is the joy to live in a country free from conflict. A place to raise children and dream of safer future. We can’t feel what refugees feel, but we can make their stories heard. Understanding and compassion can be a real lifesaver.”
As a singer of Armenian origin, born in Kyrgyzstan and raised in the Russian Federation before finally settling in Belarus, Iskui Abalyan knows first-hand what it’s like to be displaced. She has a family history of forced migration, first in response to the long-term ethnic conflict in the Southern Caucasus and more recently as a result of the unrest in Ukraine.
It is this personal experience that Iskui brings to her work with UNHCR. Over the course of three years of fundraising and advocacy activities, and now as National UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Iskui has championed the message of tolerance towards refugees in Belarussian society. Following recent visits to urban Ukrainian and Syrian refugees, Iskui has joined other high profile supporters, refugees and UNHCR staff from around the world in adding her voice to our #WithRefugees campaign film. Ahead of an historic Summit on refugees and migrants at the UN General Assembly in September 2016 the #WithRefugees campaign calls on world leaders to act in solidarity and take shared responsibility in their response to the global refugee crisis. Iskui is actively encouraging her friends, family and fans to get behind the campaign and sign the petition.