Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Take action on World Humanitarian Day

Today is World Humanitarian Day, which is our opportunity to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the globe. When we asked our staff what being a humanitarian meant we got a mix of answers. “Someone that puts others before them.” “Being kind to other people and respecting their rights.” “Seeing beyond race or religion.” Or as someone said to me, “it means the love of humanity.”

As the head of Australia for UNHCR, it’s my job is to ask Australians to support someone who has no one else to rely on, in another country thousands of kilometres away who they are unlikely to ever meet. The fact that we currently have 70,000 Australians who are doing just that is something very personally inspiring, and it’s also a strong message that Australians do care about refugees.

UNHCR is a unique organisation to work for with 80 per cent of my colleagues working on the frontline, often in remote places and conflict zones. Today we are raising funds for UNHCR’s emergency operations in some of those places through our Action Hour campaign, which we just launched in Melbourne.