UNHCR works to prevent children’s recruitment for armed conflict all over the world. I was asked to give an interview to CNN domestic following the Kony 2012 video about forced conscription of children. Below is a link to the interview.
As the communications director for UNHCR, I spearheaded the 2012 World Refugee Day events. We focused our messaging on families and collaborate with international best selling author Khaled Hosseini. DC events included a standing room only one-woman play, No Place Called Home, by Kim Schultz. We developed a seven-foot multimedia installation in the Hall of Nations at the Kennedy Center. With the generous support of local entrepreneur and musician Farid Nouri, we co-produced a Afghan concert and cocktail party at 18th Street Lounge. UNHCR, along with USA for UNHCR, sponsored a public campaign featuring posters in 250 metro trains throughout DC. The media relations strategy included securing articles and broadcast pieces with Khaled Hosseini as a UNHCR spokesperson. We also conducted a local media campaign pitching and securing inspiring refugee stories from across the country. We were able to secure over 3o media articles for World Refugee Day.
Below is a PSA I produced of Khaled Hosseini.
The below video I produced for a panel discussion at Georgetown University where the chief of the UN Refugee Agency Antonio Guterres and other stakeholders spoke about the need for alternatives to detention for asylum seekers in the U.S. Following the initial viewing an ICE official reviewed the video and a UNHCR recommendation previously denied was implemented. This video was central to that administrative change.
In June 2011 the famine and internal conflict in Somalia hit a tipping point. As a focal point in the U.S. I granted dozens of interviews on the situation. Additionally, we produced the below PSA raising funds for the crisis.
In August 2011 UNHCR hosted the first Refugee Congress in Washington D.C. The Congress included one resettled refugee from every state and several high-profile refugees. I strategically implemented a local and national media relations campaign and secured media for South Sudanese supermodel Alek Wek. We were able to secure over 35 articles and broadcast pieces. Following a one-day workshop, the Refugee Congress delegates spent a day on the Hill advocating with their members and staffers on refugee issues. The Refugee Congress was an opportunity for the local office to support refugee delegates in becoming involved in the political process that affects them.
Additionally, I wrote and produced a short documentary featuring one resettled refugee from the last six decades. This video has since been used multiple times including for fundraising purposes.
I produced a series of stories in Haiti for UNHCR and IRIN. The linked story is about the prevention of statelessness in Haiti. Today only approximately 30% of Haitians are born in hospitals. With poor civil infrastructure for birth registration many Haitians fall through the cracks and find themselves without their vital papers. UNHCR’s partners are working with the most vulnerable to assist them in getting their papers. Many lost their papers during the earthquake or never had them.
I also co-produced the following two videos for IRIN with Jennifer Utz and Gratianne Quade.
In May 2011 I traveled to Haiti as a producer for IRIN and UNHCR to document sexual violence in the displacement camps. I returned to Haiti two additional times with UNHCR. We produced a moving short video about one woman’s journey to healing with UNHCR’s partner KOFAVIV.
KOFAVIV was nominated as a CNN Hero. I worked with CNN Heroes producer on this and subsequent stories.