Dear IKEA co-workers,
On behalf of UNHCR and its entire staff, a warm welcome to the 2014 Nansen Refugee Award Ceremony.
You will be attending a very special ceremony as we mark 60 years since the Nansen Refugee Award was established in 1954 in honour of Fridtjof Nansen, the Norwegian polar explorer and humanitarian.
Through the Nansen Refugee Award, UNHCR recognizes individuals and institutions who believe that refugees deserve the same opportunities as we do. They are the heroes of the forcibly displaced.
There have been some famous laureates of past awards, such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Luciano Pavarotti. Many, however, are unsung and less known and work in dangerous areas—like Butterflies, the group of courageous Colombian women who are the winners of this year’s award for their work with victims of violence and sexual abuse in Buenaventura, Colombia. What unites Nansen Award laureates is their tireless dedication to the forcibly displaced.
The IKEA Foundation is UNHCR’s foremost corporate partner and, since 2010, has helped transform the lives of thousands of refugees in Ethiopia, Sudan, Bangladesh and the Middle East. The UNHCR-IKEA Foundation relationship encompasses innovation and a wider cultural change within the organization, including providing a better education for children and exploring how to provide refugees families with safer long-term shelters. The focus on self-sufficiency and solutions, rather than aid dependence and handouts, is a core value of the partnership. Funding raised from the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign is helping UNHCR switch to renewable energy in refugee camps.
I would like to specially thank you, and through you all of the co-workers at IKEA HaparandaTornio, for your exceptional contribution to the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign. I am delighted that you will be meeting with the 2014 Nansen Refugee Award laureate. Please share your experience widely with your fellow co-workers, friends and families—we need your support!
With UNHCR’s heartfelt thanks,
T. Alexander Aleinikoff
Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR