15 December, 2015
ISLAMABAD: UNHCR’s Goodwill Ambassador (GWA) in China, Yao Chen, has arrived in Islamabad on a four-day official visit to meet Afghan refugee women and children and seek first-hand information to garner support for the education of refugee children.
Yao Chen is an acclaimed Chinese actress and one of the world’s top micro-bloggers with 71 million fan following on social media. She is also named the 83rd most powerful woman on the planet in 2015 by Forbes. Yao Chen started working as UNHCR’s Honorary Patron in China in June 2010, when she visited urban refugees in Philippines capital, Manila.
During her stay in Pakistan, Yao Chen will meet the 2015 Nansen Refugee Award Laureate Mrs. Aqeela Asifi, a dedicated Afghan refugee teacher, who became an agent of change through her brave and tireless dedication to education for Afghan refugee girls in Kot Chandana refugee village in Pakistan while herself overcoming the struggle of life in exile.
The GWA visit comes at a very important time when influx of refugees and migrants to Europe reached staggering new levels this year, dominating headlines and prompting stormy political debate, pushing the decades old Afghan refugee issue in the background.
Pakistan continues to hosts the largest protracted refugee population for over three-decades. Children below the age of 18 and youth below the age of 30 constitute 80 percent of the total 1.5 million registered refugee population in Pakistan. Yao Chen is a great advocate of refugee children’s education.
During her interaction with different stakeholders, Ms. Yao will underline the importance of investing in refugee education and youth empowerment as the best means to ensure peaceful development in Afghanistan.
For her humanitarian work, Yao Chen has received different awards from leading local Chinese magazines. In 2013, she was among four prominent personalities from China to be nominated to Time magazine’s list of “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
Yao Chen paid a courtesy visit on, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Federal Minster for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) and the Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees Dr. Imran Zeb Khan in Islamabad. Yao commended Pakistan for its exemplary hospitality towards refugees and said, that Pakistan’s contribution to the global refugee cause deserves full recognition and support by the international community, particularly at the time when we witness increased pushbacks of refugees, asylum fatigue and diminishing solidarity to refugee hosting communities.