The United Nations refugee agency today announced the appointment of Academy Award-winning actress Cate Blanchett as a global Goodwill Ambassador.
The announcement comes as Ms. Blanchett returns from a mission to Jordan to witness the ongoing humanitarian operation for people displaced by the conflict in Syria.
“I am deeply proud to take on this role,” Ms. Blanchett said in a press release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“There has never been a more crucial time to stand with refugees and show solidarity. We are living through an unprecedented crisis, and there must be shared responsibility worldwide. It feels like we’re at a fork in the road, do we go down the compassionate path or do we go down the path of intolerance?” she asked
During her trip, Ms. Blanchett met Syrian refugee families to hear first-hand about the perilous journeys they had undertaken and the daily challenges they face. She said that, as a mother, she wanted her children to go down the compassionate path.
“There’s much more opportunity, there’s much more optimism and there is a solution down that path,” she stressed.
Prior to her appointment, Ms. Blanchett worked with UNHCR for more than a year to raise awareness about the forcibly displaced. In 2015, she travelled to Lebanon to meet Syrian refugees and to hear about the experiences of stateless people as part of her support for UNHCR’s #IBelong campaign.
UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett visits refugees in Jordan. Credit: UNHCR
She has also supported World Refugee Day, UNHCR’s appeal for the Europe refugee crisis, and attended the Women in the World Conference in New Delhi to represent UNHCR and moderate a high-level panel discussion on the global refugee crisis.
Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said he was “very pleased” that Blanchett had taken on this new role.
“Goodwill Ambassadors play a pivotal role in creating better public understanding and support for refugees, and never has there been a greater need to build these bridges,” Mr. Grandi said.
“She has already demonstrated great commitment to the cause and we look forward to seeing her inspire many more people in her new role,” he added.