Supermodel and humanitarian Helena Christensen has been announced as the new Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.
The 50-year-old Danish model – who has also established a respected career as a photographer – has been working closely with UNHCR since 2015, using her creativity and experience to communicate refugee stories and amplify the voices of those who have been suffering or displaced.
For the past five years, she has travelled across the world to countries including Rwanda, Ukraine and Colombia, before receiving her new appointment as Goodwill ambassador.
She witnessed UNHCR’s work first hand while in Colombia in 2015, where she documented internally displaced women living in rural and urban environments. Similarly, Helena also met refugees in Rwanda who had fled violence and persecution in Burundi. There, she supported UNHCR’s initiative to increase funds for shelter, food, and daily needs for the victims of the refugee crisis.
Commenting on her new position, Helena said: ‘Over 68.5 million people are displaced around the world and the number is rising. There has never been a greater urgency to show support for refugees. I hope to continue to advocate for refugees and humanize their stories.’
She continued: ‘Those like Maribeth, whom I met and photographed in Colombia, Marcelline in Rwanda and Olena in Ukraine. I was so moved getting to know these remarkable women and to play a part in sharing their incredible stories.’
Meanwhile Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, added: ‘Helena will be a wonderful Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR. She has real passion for and commitment to refugees as well as an ability to capture and tell stories of refugees through her photography. This is precisely the role of the Goodwill Ambassador – to raise awareness and share the stories of those that have been forced to leave their homes. I look forward to working with Helena in the years ahead.’