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Former refugee wins global Nansen award for championing education for displaced children

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Former refugee wins global Nansen award for championing education for displaced children

28 November 2023
Abdullahi Mire stands in a library in front of a huge bookshelf, clutching a biology book

The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award's 2023 global laureate Abdullahi Mire in one of the libraries he founded at Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp.

GENEVA – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, announced today that Abdullahi Mire – a former refugee and journalist who has championed the right to education while putting 100,000 books in the hands of refugee children in Kenya – will be the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award’s 2023 global laureate. 

“Abdullahi Mire is living proof that transformative ideas can spring from within displaced communities,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “He has shown great resourcefulness and tenacity in strengthening the quality of refugee education.” 

Born in Somalia, Mire grew up in the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. He was eventually resettled to Norway, but a yearning to serve his community drew him back. He found work in Kenya as a journalist and set up the Refugee Youth Education Hub, a refugee-led organization that has opened three libraries in the camps – stocked with donated books – and expanded learning opportunities for tens of thousands of displaced children and youth. 

“The win is not for me alone,” said Mire, 36. “It is for all the volunteers I work with… It is for the children in the schools.” 

Several regional winners will also be honoured this year: 

The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Geneva on 13 December at the Global Refugee Forum 2023. Hosted by journalist Ann Curry, the event will showcase the winners’ work and feature performances by Lous and the Yakuza, MIYAVI and Ricky Kej. It will also be livestreamed. 

The awards are made possible through support from the Governments of Norway and Switzerland, IKEA Foundation, and the City and Canton of Geneva. They are named after the Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen

The Nansen ceremony is open to all journalists attending the Global Refugee Forum, but separate registration is required. A live feed will be available to broadcasters. For assistance, please contact [email protected]. Multimedia content about the winners is available on Refugees Media and via the media page (from Nov 28). You can also download the B-roll.

For more information on this topic, or to book interviews with the winners, please contact: