UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today announced the appointment of popular TV personality Raya Abirached as a Regional Goodwill Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Abirached has been working as a High-Profile Supporter with UNHCR since 2017 and is a powerful voice and advocate for the forcibly displaced across the world.
Prior to her appointment, Abirached had been working closely with UNHCR on several campaigns and appeals. The first female Arab to be appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, her engagement with UNHCR began in 2017 through MBC Hope, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of MBC Group. Since then, she has consistently advocated for refugee rights through her participation in UNHCR’s Ramadan and winter campaigns, as well as in various emergency appeals.
Speaking on the occasion, Raya Abirached said: “I am deeply honored and humbled by being chosen as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. I do not take lightly the responsibility and tasks ahead and hope, with an open heart, that I can make a small difference in the lives of those in need throughout our region. Thank you UNHCR for your trust.”
Welcoming Abirached’s appointment as UNHCR’s Goodwill Ambassador, Houssam Chahine, UNHCR’s Chief of Private Sector Partnerships in MENA said: “We are very delighted to honor Raya’s dedication and commitment, especially as this announcement comes during the Holy month of Ramadan, where #EverySecondCounts in making an impact in the lives of refugees and advocating on their behalf.”
He added: “Goodwill Ambassadors play a vital role in bringing the refugee cause closer to the public and we look forward to continue inspiring more people in our region and globally to take action for refuges and those internally displaced, through Raya’s voice and platforms.”
As well as providing digital advocacy to UNHCR over the past four years, Abirached has undertaken numerous initiatives to provide support to refugees and internally displaced populations. These include her participation in field missions to Lebanon and Jordan, and hosting ‘Dafathon’; a live fundraising event to provide fuel to heat refugees’ homes throughout the harsh winter season. This year, she will also be supporting UNHCR’s global Ramadan campaign ‘#EverySecondCounts’ which focuses on the incredible impact individuals can create within seconds, in the lives of refugee and displaced families whose lives turned upside down within moments and who have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety.
Of Lebanese descent, Raya Abirached has been an established media personality in the Arab world for the past two decades and is well known for her celebrity interviews and for presenting popular regional TV programmes. Abirached is a presenter and producer at MBC Group and one of the faces of the hit television talent show ‘Arab’s Got Talent,’ which she co-hosts. She also hosts ‘Scoop with Raya,’ a show that provides audiences across the region with the latest news and interviews from the world of Hollywood.
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Head of Campaign and Advocacy Team, UNHCR
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. We deliver life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, help safeguard fundamental human rights, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. We also work to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality.