UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency today announced the appointment of Nikki Samonas, media personality and actress and Kwame Annom, professional culinary chef, as their newest Goodwill Ambassadors.
Both Nikki and Kwame’s journey supporting the plight of people forced to flee their homes began in 2017 with UNHCR’s LuQuLuQu campaign. In their roles as LuQuLuQu High Level Influencers, they have used their voices to help change the narrative of refugees.
In 2017, Nikki visited Ampain refugee camp in Ghana to learn more about UNHCR’s emergency response work and meet with families forced to flee their homes. This first visit affirmed Nikki’s commitment with UNHCR. “Ever since my participation with the LuQuLuQu campaign and my visit to Ampain refugee camp where I met with resilient refugee families, I have sought to transform public perception of our forcibly displaced African brothers and sisters – to recognize their strength, courage and hope. I am overjoyed to continue my journey with UNHCR as a Goodwill Ambassador. I wish to use my new role to champion ways to improve the lives of the most vulnerable communities in Ghana,” said Nikki.
Kwame, commonly referred to as Biishville, has used his unique craft as a culinary chef to draw attention to the refugee cause. “I remember meeting with refugee families in 2017 and cooking with them in the camp. I was so inspired by these families – that despite the grave hardship they had undergone, they welcomed me into their shelters. It made me realize that I have a unique opportunity to use my profession as a chef to amplify the call for action to support families forced to flee. Now as a Goodwill Ambassador, I dedicate my role in uniting refugees, host communities and donors to increase support and awareness for the refugee cause and UNHCR’s work on the ground,” said Kwame.
Their appointment comes at a time when UNHCR’s Global Trends report states that over 79.5 million people worldwide are forcibly displaced. Ghana currently hosts 13,355 refugees from over thirty different countries including Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Liberia, Sudan and Cameroon.
In response to Nikki and Kwame’s appointment, Esther Kiragu, UNHCR Representative in Ghana stated: “Nikki Samonas and Kwame Annom are Ghana’s first UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors, and we are incredibly happy to welcome them both into their roles. Both Nikki and Kwame have demonstrated a deep commitment to the refugee cause, lending their voices, platforms, networks and personal support to drawing attention to the refugee situation in Ghana and the role that host community and private sector can play in alleviating the struggle and challenges of forced displacement.”
Kwame and Nikki most recently supported UNHCR’s Mask4Refugees campaign and previously participated in UNHCR LuQuLuQu’s Step for Safety walks, the UNHCR Greatest Gift Christmas campaign and concert.