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British Hollywood actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw named UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

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British Hollywood actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw named UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

24 February 2021
Uganda. UNHCR Supporter Gugu Mbatha-Raw at the Women's Centre in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, with Sifa Semeki, a refugee.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw at the Women's Centre in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, Uganda, May 2019, with Sifa Semeki, a refugee.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today announced the appointment of British actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw as its newest global Goodwill Ambassador. Gugu has been working as a High-Profile Supporter for UNHCR since 2018 and is a powerful advocate for the rights of refugees.

“I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to work in support of refugees and help amplify their voices. I am always amazed by their courage and strength in the face of such seemingly insurmountable odds and it’s a real honour to play a part in sharing their stories. The Covid crisis has made us all aware of the fragility of the lives we build and the importance of doing all we can to support those who have had to leave the place they call home,” said Gugu.

“The crisis has also taught us that, in this interconnected world, we are only as strong as the most vulnerable in society. Inclusion of refugees is vital in ensuring the wellbeing of whole communities.”

Gugu’s robust engagement with UNHCR and advocacy for people forced to flee has seen her take part in UNHCR’s EveryOneCounts campaign, challenging xenophobia and advocating for stronger partnerships to find solutions to global displacement. She also contributed to UNHCR’s COVID-19 awareness appeal and to an IMDb and UNHCR partnership, Films of Hope, to raise funds for the Covid Solidarity Appeal.

She has spent time in the field, hearing directly from refugees about their experiences of conflict, displacement and exile. This included visits to Burundian and Congolese refugees in Rwanda as well as in Uganda, learning from refugee women who survived conflict-related sexual violence and also refugee youths living with albinism.

In her public advocacy for refugees, Gugu has spoken at UNHCR events in Venice , Los Angeles and London and has written about the refugee cause in outlets such as Refinery29 and Vogue. She has also used her own artwork to raise awareness for refugees on social media and is a keen supporter of MADE51, a programme that empowers refugee artisans by helping them sell products globally.

“We appreciate Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s heartfelt advocacy and support for refugees and welcome her to the UNHCR family. We look forward to continuing our work together to help raise attention on the issues and needs facing refugees,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

“Now more than ever, in the context of the unprecedented impact of the Covid pandemic, the voices of refugees – some of the most marginalized and forgotten people on earth – need to be heard and amplified”.

Gugu is known for her award-winning role in Belle, Beyond the Lights and Black Mirror San Junipero and most recently starred in The Morning Show,

Misbehaviour and Summerland. She will next been seen in Loki, the Marvel limited series coming to Disney + this Spring. Gugu was awarded an MBE in 2018 for services to Drama.

To find out more about Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s work with UNHCR, visit:

For media enquiries, please contact: Claire Lewis [email protected] +44(0)7880230934

  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Goodwill Ambassador announcement video can be accessed here
  • Photos can be accessed here
  • B-roll can be accessed here (visuals only)