About Yao Chen
Yao Chen has worked with UNHCR since 2010. Started working as UNHCR’s Honorary Patron in China, she visited urban Somali, Sudanese and Palestinian refugees from in and around the Philippines capital, Manila.
In April 2011, the actress travelled to Mae La camp in western Thailand, her first visit to a refugee camp.
In April 2012, she travelled to Africa and visited refugee camps in southeastern and northeastern Ethiopia. Ethiopia is one of the world’s poorest country. She spoke to Somali refugees who fled because of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.
In June 2013, Yao Chen was named UNHCR’s Goodwill Ambassador in China– the first in China.
As a famous Chinese actress with over 80 million Weibo followers – the Chinese equivalent of Twitter – she reaches the audiences with messages about her visits and refugee issues. She also supported UNHCR work by donation and active participation in World Refugee Day activities.
In January 2016, she won the Annual Crystal Award at World Economic Forum, the first female winner in China, for her contribution in raising awareness of the refugee crisis.
In June 2017, Yao Chen met with UNHCR High Commissioner, Filippo Grandi, in Beijing and renewed her tenure as UNHCR’s Goodwill Ambassador.
In 2019 Yao helped to promote the Chinese version of fellow GWA Khaled Hosseini’s book, Sea Prayer. Yao has stated ‘Every one of us is a beam of light that can dissipate a small piece of darkness. Together, we can light up the hope and future of many refugees’.
At present, Yao Chen has ended her tenure as UNHCR goodwill ambassador, but she continues to show solicitude for the forcibly displaced.